April 30, 2015

Artists called on to be sober ambassadors

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 10:35 am
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By Nhau Mangirazi
MAGUNJE- Canadian based musician Tafadzwa Matamba has called on Zimbabwean artists to respect their audience by remaining sober during performance as they are ambassadors of art industry.
Speaking during the launch of a duet video collaboration with Karoi based Icon Theater Production in Magunje here; Matamba said it is imperative that any artist’s well being represent most of those in the industry.

Icon members during video shooting in Magunje photo By Nhau Mangirazi

Tafadzwa and Amy Matamba in Magunje By Nhau Mangirazi

Tafadzwa and Amy Matamba during video shooting in Magunje, Zimbabwe….Photo by Nhau Mangirazi

‘’We hope our collaboration will cement our working relationship in future. The local and international audiences take you serious when you are sober and they know that you respect them and your act will be perfect. As artists we are ambassadors of arts industry and at times we represent our countries internationally so we must be good at that.’’, said Matamba.
The two groups performed during video shooting by a Canadian filmmaker where Icon traditional dances were fused with mbira while Mbira Spirits came in with their guitars.
Matamba got Black History Month Award in February for group efforts on sharing, educating art, music, traditions and culture of Zimbabwe said he is grateful to work with the youthful group.
‘’I am happy that my dreams to educate the world on how rich the Zimbabwean culture is now a reality. The respect and tribute from Canada is well deserved and that is the main reason we are taking Icon on board as Zimbabwe culture remains original and rich. We need to preserve it’’, said the Hurungwe born artist.
Mbira Spirit are permanent residents of Vancouver Island, Canada have vision of bridging Canada and Zimbabwe communities.
They play African reggae, folk, spiritual and gospel music fused with mbira. He is also into painting besides being a culture educator.
On the hand Icon stunned theater lover during Solomonic Malawi Easter Festival where 90 groups from Malawi, Zambia and Malawi performed where they left audience asking for more.
Matamba said, ‘’The video collaboration between our groups will cement our plans for cultural exchange programs with Canada as Zimbabwean culture is still raw. We have the talent but what lacks is exposure. Icon Theater Production had international exposure and must strive to maintain better standards and do more research on traditional dances’’
He added that the video is part of long time plans to have their Canadian audience getting snippets of Zimbabwean traditional dances.
Icon specializes on mbende, chinyamusasure, Jerusarema, dinhe dances among other genres.
Group director Leo Fanwell Magada said he was humbled that their group was getting support from Mbira Spirits.
‘’We appreciate that   Mbira Spirits have shown confidence in what we are doing. We will strive to do more and put polished act whenever we are called to perform’’ said Magada.
Mbira Spirits financially assisted Icon with transport fares for the fourteen member group ahead of Malawi trip after potential funders failed to honor their pledges.
‘’Mbira Spirits assisted us when hope was lost and they have seen the potential we have and we hope to maintain good working relations in future’’ said Magada.
Amy and Tafadzwa plan to spend much of the year traveling to communities throughout Vancouver Island, other places on the west coast of Canada, making music, educating young and old to raise funds for their dream of creating twin cultural centers on Vancouver Island and Zimbabwe.
‘’Hurungwe has the potential to be cultural epicenter as is still rich and raw’’ he said.

Tafadzwa, Amy and Japhet Matamba during viedo shooting in Magunje. Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

Tafadzwa, Amy and Japhet Matamba during video shooting in Magunje. Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

Matamba believes musicians including late uncle drummer and vocalist Artwell Matamba of Hurungwe Sounds, Biggie Tembo leader of Bhundu Boys, Tendai Mupfurutsa, and Admire Kasenga of Ngosimbi Crew among others must be remembered through the centre.
They originated from Hurungwe and made it locally and internationally musically.


April 11, 2015

Malawi Easter Festival in pictures

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:50 am
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Frank Naligonje aka ex President Bakili Muluzi at Easter Festival Blantyre Malawi....Photo By Nhau-Mangirazi

Frank Naligonje aka ex President Bakili Muluzi at Easter Festival Blantyre Malawi….Photo By Nhau-Mangirazi

Icon's Roberta Katurura with Tinotenda Daki on stage during Malawi Easter Fesival in Blantyre, Malawi Photo by Nhau Mangirazi

Icon’s Roberta Katurura with Tinotenda Daki on stage during Malawi Easter Fesival in Blantyre, Malawi Photo by Nhau Mangirazi

Actor Muzumala during Easter Theatre Fesival

For the record.... part of the crowd Icon Theatre on stage during Easter Festival in Malawi... Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

For the record…. part of the crowd Icon Theatre on stage during Easter Festival in Malawi… Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

Easter Festival theater lovers in Malawi...... Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

Easter Festival theater lovers in Malawi…… Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

Japhet Matamba as part of Icon Theatre being inteviewed by a Malawian journalist during Easter Theatre Festival photo-By Nhau Mangirazi

Japhet Matamba as part of Icon Theater being interviewed by a Malawian journalist during Easter Theater Festival photo-By Nhau Mangirazi

Part of the Easter Festival in Blantyre Malawi Photo-By Nhau Mangirazi.

Part of the Easter Festival in Blantyre Malawi Photo-By Nhau Mangirazi.

Steppers in action during-Malaw Easter Festival

Steppers in action during-Malawi Easter Festival

Icon Theatre on stage during Easter Arts Festival in Blantyre

Roberta Katurira and Last Ndlovu Icon Theatre on stage during Easter Arts Festival in Blantyre

Frank Naligonje aka ex President Bakili Muluzi

Frank Naligonje aka ex President Bakili Muluzi

Japhet Matamba interview with a Malawian journalist while drummer James Kamhaka looks on. Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

The crowd during Icon Theater show during Easter Festival..... Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

The crowd during Icon Theater show during Easter Festival….. Photo By Nhau Mangirazi

City of Blantyre 2

14 reasons you must know about Easter Theater Festival

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 11:03 am
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1- Easter Theatre Festival was mooted in 2010 only to take off in April 2015 2- Easter Theater Festival Director is MacArthur Matukuta who is also Solomonic Peacock Festival Malawi director. 3- Solomonic Peacock formed in 1999, derived its name from biblical King Solomon and performed theatre locally, in Africa and overseas. 4 Easter Theatre Festival is the first country international festival with three countries namely Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi. 5- It was launched in capital city Lilongwe on Friday and switched to Blantyre on Saturday about 311 kilometers away 6- The second edition will be in March 2016 with artists from Kenya and South Africa 7- Easter Festival Theatre becomes the grand stage for poets, traditional dance and drama among others fusing the old and new generations. 8- Easter Festival Theatre operated without financial support from Malawi Government that is still yet to pass a law to assist culture and artists. 8- Village Cultural Troupe from Blantyre city performed in Scotland. 9- Tresor Nsengu a Congolese rapper and slam poet living in Malawi since 2009 is popular among other poets that include Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa who performed at Crossing Boarders Festival Uganda and Arts Alive in Johannesburg using voice as a tool of social change. 10- Evelyn Pangani Maotcha a poet cum radio DJ is the first female poet to release an album. 11-Several more radio DJs showcased their poetic prowess during Easter Festival Theatre including Nicholas Mbonera, Frank Naligonje aka Dr Bakili Muluzi, Snowden Tembo aka Mr. Malawi among others. 12- Chango Travelling Theatre is the oldest existing group formed in 1970 and played Tax Abortion of creative tax evasion by some foreign investors abusing tough economic environment in Africa. 13- Zimbabwe’s Icon Theatre Production was easily identified with their mbira fused with drums during traditional dance at the Easter Festival Theatre. By Nhau Mangirazi  

April 6, 2015

When Malawi ex President visited Easter Festival

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 4:36 pm
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Frank Naligonje aka ex President Bakili Muluzi












By Nhau Mangirazi in Blantyre Malawi

Blantyre Cultural center stage is set as red carpet is rolled out while suspected state security agencies mingle in the crowd.

All of sudden everyone looks stunned as serene environment grips the venue of Easter Festival here.

Soon after the red carpet is rolled out, a bespectacled gentleman in a grey suit, accompanied by First Lady walk on the stage, smartly dressed bodyguards behind them.

With a booming voice that vibrates the stage, locals are taken aback as the voice says it all. Former Malawi President Doctor Bakili Muluzi is now speaking publicly to Malawians.

‘’Ladies and gentlemen let me welcome you to this wonderful event. Correctly speaking I welcome you all. Lelo ndimanene kunena kuti tiyeni pamozi pachikala pachobozi. There must be love in this country. If there is no love this country will not develop my fellow countrymen abambowe. Thank you, thank you’’ he says as the crowd burst into laughter.

Muluzi was the first democratically elected president for Malawi in 1994 ending nearly a three decade rule by Kamuzu Banda.

This is a rare occasion for theater lovers here as Frank Peter Naligonje brings back those memories.

‘’My art of mimicking is about bringing memories. I admire former president Muluzi on the way he dressed as well as movement. Apart from that I am concerned about my attire to compliment everything I do for the occasion. So whatever I do I try to have the best suits, my bodyguards are well dressed during the act’’, he says.

Naligonje is an artist who is open to criticism.

‘’As an artist, I am looking forward to mimic the way American President Barrack Obama speaks and African leaders including our own President Robert Mugabe. I will try to improve during my shows’’ he says.

Naligonje is among several poets, comedians, drama actors as well as traditional dancers including Zimbabwean’s Icon Theater Production representing the country here.

Bulawayo based stand-up comedian Clive Chigubu kicked off his comics in Lilongwe on Friday before the event was switched to Blantyre 311 kilometers away.

The Malawi Easter Festival is hosted by Solominic Theater where 90 artists from Zambia, Zimbabwe and locals from remote districts are gearing themselves to showcase their talents during three days arts festival.

April 4, 2015

Icon stun theatre lovers in Malawi

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 8:03 pm
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Icon Theatre on stage during Easter Arts Festival in BlantyreBy Nhau Mangirazi in Blantyre, Malawi
Karoi based Icon Theater Production left a mark during the ongoing Solomonic Easter Arts Festival when they performed in first international arts fiesta here on Saturday afternoon.
The thirteen member group formed in 2007 specializes in traditional dance including dinhe, chinyamusasure, mbakumba, mbende, Jerusarema among others fused with mbira.
They left the audience asking for more when they put a polished act with their dancers.
Icon theatre is a youthful side led by Leo Funwell Magada and had the backing of elders during their tour that included Japhet Matamba, Felix Svova and Bigboy Kagande on mbira while James Kamhaka was on drums.
Part of the crowd was taken aback following the slow rhythms of Chipembere song before the dancers Nomsa Beremauro, Juliet Mashayanyika, Roberta Katurira and Julia Moffat came to give a superb act during Chemutengure song.
Later on Danny Bwanya, Last Mapiye and Tinotenda Daki came as they performed during Jerusarema act.
Local Floor Steppers warmed up the crowd before drama by Chango Traveling Theater who performed Tax Abortion play that highlights how international companies evade paying taxes while exploiting on the poor African countries.
The sarcastically play exposes how investors milk poor African nations where the politically connected benefit while the majority suffers.
Solominic Peacock director MacArthur Matukuta said he was happy that the local audience had shown confidence in regional festival.
The festival kicked off in Lilongwe on Friday before it was switched to Blantyre where it will run till Monday
‘’I am happy that regional integration must not be political but arts is a form of employment for us all. The performance by several groups from Zimbabwe, Zambia and many parts of Malawi is an indication that we can do more to preserve our culture and traditional values’’ said Matukuta.
Magada said he is happy that they performed to an international audience.

‘’Traditional dance and mbira is part of Zimbabwean culture and identity. We are happy that we are making strides to market Zimbabwean traditional act to the outside world’’ said Magada.
At least 90 traditional groups, poets, comedians from Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe will battle it out during the three day fiesta.

April 2, 2015

Icon Theater in Malawi for Easter festival

Filed under: Arts — Nhaudzenyu @ 3:57 pm
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From Nhau Mangirazi in MALAWI

BLANTYRE– Karoi based traditional dance group Icon Theatre production are in Blantyre, Malawi where they will perform during Easter festival here on Saturday.

Solomonic Arts Festival kick starts on Friday in Lilongwe before it is switched to Blantyre on Saturday till Monday.

The traditional dance group will represent the nation during the festival that takes place in two major cities from April 3-6.

Dance groups, comedians, poets, drama artist from Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi will battle to showcase their talents during the arts fiesta.

Icon Theater will battle it out with Village Cultural Troupe as well as Kwathu drama group on Saturday.

Malawi’s Izeki ndiJakohbo will face Zambia’s Bikiloni ndiFikoti while Mr. Jokes and Zimbabwean Clive Chigubu perform in Lilongwe on Friday and Monday in Blantyre.

Solominic Peacock director MacArthur Matukuta said the festival was being done in two cities due public demand.

‘’We could have done all this in Blantyre but due to public demand we are also hosting it in Lilongwe and we hope the performing artists will deliver. We are happy that Zimbabwean group are already here’, Matukuta said.

He added at least 90 local and international groups and individuals will showcase their talents during the festival.

Icon Theatre leader Leo Funny Magada said he was happy that they will showcase different dances from Zimbabwe to an international audience.

‘’I am grateful that we are performing and hope this will mark our entrance on the international arena’’, said Magada.

He is leading a fourteen member group including 10 men and four women.

‘’We are happy that at least we are here to perform and represent the country besides financial challenges’’ said Magada during their rehearsal on Thursday.

Icon Theatre Production performed during last year’s Hurungwe Arts Festival though no funder came on board besides pledges made by some businessmen and organisations locally and nationally.

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