Black Umfolosi – The Second 2022 Fall Jazz and Blues Concert; 8pm Saturday, October 29th, 2022.
Some years back I stumbled onto a YouTube video of Bonnie Raitt and slide blues guitarist Roy Rogers performing at a Austin City Limits event. As expected it was a fine performance. But what was unexpected was the second act of the evening performed by a musician from Zimbabwe. Bonnie and Roy are, in essence, blues musicians and up until this particular performance I had never fully realized how much “a downer” the blues can be. Essentially it is “victims” music and has an aura of depression, repression and “Oh Woe is Me”, “My man treats me awful mean”, etc. When the Zimbabwean musician stepped up to the microphone all that depression disappeared. With sinuous bass lines and dancing rhythms there was a monumental shift from depression to joy and, although the songs were in another language, they sounded so happy that one could only feel the same way. When Bonnie and Roy returned to the stage for their second set the music went crashing back down down into instant depression. I have never been able to listen to the blues the same way since. From that time on I have paid attention to the multitude styles of African music and, regardless of geography, that sense of joy and community seems to ring through all African music. When I heard that that the Zimbabwean cappella group Black Umfolosi was going to perform in the newly renovated Centre 64 Theater in Kimberly it would be a rare opportunity to experience music that, in this part of the world, is way out of the ordinary.
“Black Umfolosi are a multi-discipline performing arts group, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The group began as a means of entertaining themselves while still at school in 1982. They have since become an internationally acclaimed harmonic cappella singing and traditional African dance group The original six members have developed their skills and their organization to a point where the now 18 members provide a multitude of services in the performing arts industry in Zimbabwe and are internationally. compared to the likes of Lady Smith Black Mambazo of South Africa. Black Umfolosi, tour extensively from their homeland Zimbabwe to the UK, Australia, Asia, Europe, Canada and the USA. They have released a number of recordings that feature the singing styles of Imbube, Mbaganga and Township songs. Their dynamic live performances showcase the traditional dancing styles of the Southern African region as well as the more contemporary styles and movements they have developed themselves. Black Umfolosi is much more than a performing group; they are active in training others, particularly the youth, in dance and voice. They try to identify and develop up and coming groups and mentor them along their path to success. They provide workshops and residences in dance, voice, theater, costume design, poetry, mime and also address various issues affecting society today. In short, Black Umfolosi are a community driven organization aiming to give back to people what they themselves have received. The group run various outreach programs both at home and internationally, and does a lot of development educational work with universities, hospitals, prisons, community centers and other arts institutions.” ………. WIKIPEDIA.
Kimberley was the first stop on the Canadian tour and this was the first time the two ladies had been out of Africa. After 45+ days in the UK and the USA their fondest wish for their time in Canada is “to see snow falling from the sky”. In the photo below the featured musicians from left to right are …….
- Sotsha Moyo (Lead)
- Sandi Dube (Alto/Soprano)
- Thomeki Dube (Tenor)
- Luzibo Moyo (Alto)
- Austin Chisare (Bass)