A UNIQUE COLLABORATION: Princeton University Glee Club and the Pan-African Vocal Ensemble Mushandirapamwe Singers join forces for a concert at Richardson Auditorium Saturday.
On Saturday, September 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Richardson Auditorium, the Princeton University Glee Club collaborates with Mushandirapamwe Singers of Zimbabwe in a performance that weaves together personal narratives and national histories from the perspective of Dr. Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, featuring the Mbira instrument of Zimbabwe.
This concert is the first of the current season’s “Glee Club Presents” events, in which the students of the Glee Club collaborate with and learn from a diversity of renowned vocal artists.
Created and directed by former Glee Club President Tawengwa ’14, the Mushandirapamwe Singers takes its name from the hotel of the same name in Harare, Zimbabwe, which served as a beacon for the artists and freedom fighters of Zimbabwe who strove to define and assert the nation’s cultural identity during the 1970s, in resistance to British colonial rule.
The hotel holds personal significance to Tawengwa because it was built by her grandfather, George Tawengwa. The members of the Mushandirapamwe Singers were first brought together by their founder at the University of Kentucky in 2016, and include many of the leading African vocalists based in the USA. Tawengwa is a singer, scholar and composer, and is considered one of the leading exponents of the emblematic instrument of Zimbabwe — the Mbira.
The Mushandirapmwe Singers will sing in collaboration with the students of the Princeton University Glee Club, under Tawengwa’s direction. Tickets $5-$15. Visit music.princeton.edu or call (609) 258-9220.
IRELAND: Hip-hop icon God Knows on Bob Marley and his uncle Cde Chinx – New Zimbabwe.com
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Limerick hip-hop icon God Knows talks to Stuart Clark about his Uncle Dick Chinx Chingaira, a hero of the Zimbabwean revolution who gigged with Bob Marley and inspired his new summer banger, ‘Twelve 61’.
Talk about keeping it in the family. The new God Knows track, ‘Twelve 61’, samples his late maternal uncle, Dick Chinx Chingaira, who was a hero of the Zimbabwean revolution; features a guest appearance by present day Zimbabwean dancehall star Jah Master who’s his cousin on his father’s side; and is produced by his younger brother, Godwin Jonas.
“I come from a rich line of fighters,” God Knows says with a smile. “My uncle’s grandfather, Chief Makoni, was the first Shona-speaking Zimbabwean chief to stand up to the colonisers in the late 1800s. Of course, they retaliated with guns and mass killings. They took his skull back to England to examine because he was the only one to resist in that way. Despite being asked for its return, it’s still in the National History Museum in London.”
Which is not your average Irish hip-hop back story. When the Second Chimurenga, AKA the Zimbabwean War of Liberation, started in 1964, Dick Chinx Chingaira joined the Army Youth Choir where, as Comrade Chinx, he was responsible for such clarion calls as ‘Africa’, ‘Hondo Yeminda’ and ‘Mabhunu’.
“The song he made super-famous, which I sample, ‘Twelve 61’, was chanted when they went into battle. By the time the war was won and he left the army he was a national hero himself.”
Dick Chinx Chingaira’s revolutionary stance struck a chord with another roots rebel rocker.
“To celebrate Independence Day in 1980, Bob Marley headlined a massive concert in Harare where he played a specially commissioned song, ‘Zimbabwe’, which was later sampled by Akon on ‘Don’t Matter’,” God Knows reveals. “That day, Bob Marley made a point of going to see my uncle and told him, ‘I know all about you and your grandfather. Will you come and open for me?’ Of course, he said ‘Yes!’”
As with all of God Knows’ music, ‘Twelve 61’ is impossible to pigeonhole.
“I grew up in a house where reggae, dub, dancehall and jazz – albeit done the African way with bits added and subtracted – was played,” he recalls. “I didn’t think in terms of genres, it was all just music that seeped into my head. My music now is a continuation of that.”
It’s been a busy summer for God Knows and his Narolane pals Denise Chaila and MuRli who operate as both an Odd Future-style collective and as separate artist entities. First there were stadium shows with Ed Sheeran followed by an Ed remix; Denise playing a Glastonbury set that was cherry-picked by the BBC for its festival coverage; and a turn at the party thrown for the All Ireland-winning Limerick hurlers. MuRli’s already told us about their close encounters of the Sheeran kind, so let’s focus on Glasto.
“It felt like the culmination of several things we’ve been working on for the past two years,” G notes. “I’d like to acknowledge, if I may, our wonderful booking agent, Sophie Roberts, who’s gone above and beyond in getting us gigs like this. She’d know a lot of the key BBC DJs like Jack Saunders who’s been gushing about Denise on his Future Artists show. His producer moved over to BBC Introducing, the curators of the stage we were on at Glastonbury, so it was one thing leading to another.
“Then, on the TV side, we’ve had Pippa Evers who also looks after Take That and Pharell Williams trying to get us on Later With Jools Holland, which is inevitably where Denise is going. The gigs that the Jools team had wanted to come and see her at were for various reasons cancelled, so they booked Denise for the televised Treehouse Sessions at Glastonbury, which they also look after.”
Let us not forget that Denise’s 2020 banger, ‘Holy Grail’, prophetically included the line “See you from the stage Glastonbury.”
“That’s Narolane – dream it and it’ll happen,” God Knows beams. “So, they finally got to see Denise and they loved it, which was a really cool moment. As a totally independent artist and label you sometimes wonder about the money you’re spending on things like plugging, but there was the payback. Immediately afterwards Jamz Supernova recorded ‘061’ for her BBC 6Music show and by 6pm that night Laura from The Guardian, who’s another big fan, had written a glowing review of Denise’s set. It was a massive spread with Kendrick on the left and Chaila on the right. That’s the company you want to be keeping!”
BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Artist Natasha Ruwona showcase Scots-African storytelling – New Zimbabwe.com
The David Livingstone Birthplace Museum is set to host Our Stories Between the Myths and Memories between October 22 and 23, which has been organised by Scottish-Zimbabwean artist Natasha Thembiso Ruwona.
The event will bring Scottish-African figures from across the globe, including Nigerian-Scottish writer Tomiwa Folorunso, who is set to hold a discussion on storytelling within different cultures and communities on the Saturday.
Glasgow-based filmmaker and comic book writer Etienne Kubwabo, who wrote Beats of War featuring Scotland’s celebrated first black superhero, will then hold a workshop to discuss his body of work.
Saturday’s programme of events will close with a music event hosted by DJs from Jambo!, Scotland’s only radio station dedicated to African and Caribbean music.
On the Sunday, the subject of decolonisation will be explored, with a panel presented by the museum staff discussing decolonising its collection and object handling.
A live music event will follow with the Congolese Gig Group due to perform a set featuring Afro-Congo pop, reggae, seben/rumba and afrobeat.
The weekend will close with An Exercise in Exorcism, a multifaceted exhibition using dance, performance and installation from Ashanti Harris, which will reimagine historical narratives from the perspective of the Caribbean perspective.
Ruwona, the Scottish-Zimbabwean who programmed the event, said: “I’m really excited to be able to bring together so many brilliant creative practitioners from the Scottish-African diaspora to one space and to celebrate their contributions to the creative sector.”
“This project speaks to our past, present, and potential futures that examine black Scottish history, culture, and identity. It is also a timely event that will spotlight the work that David Livingstone Birthplace are doing as they consider the role of museums within truthful storytelling, by asking important questions about legacy and memory.”
Shoko Festival 2022 Revs Into Action – 263chat.com
By Victor Fanuel
HARARE- The much-anticipated Shoko Festival kicks off today, with the Voice2Rep watch party setting the tone for the urban extravaganza.
The Shoko Festival’s 12th edition will run until October 1st, with the theme PARTYcipate.
PARTYcipate is a rallying cry for young people to participate in public processes that shape their future, such as elections.
The Voice2Rep watch party, which kick-starts courtesy of a partnership between Magamba Network and Accountability Lab, will be hosted at the main festival hub, the Moto Republik, courtesy of a collaboration between Magamba Network and Accountability Lab.
Voice2Rep will feature 10 artists competing in a search for underground music artists that advocate greater representation, participation, and accountability across Nigeria, Liberia, and Zimbabwe.
The Women’s Cypher, which will showcase and celebrate women’s contributions to urban culture, will take place on Wednesday.
On Friday, the Reps Theatre will host the much-anticipated comedy roast of outspoken Norton MP Temba Mliswa.
Panelists to Mliswa’s roast comedy show include controversial and self-proclaimed Prophet Madungwe, musician Vimbai Zimuto, Lorraine Guyo, Sokostina, Ckanyiso Dat Guy, Bustop TV founder Lucky Aaron, and Comrade Fatso.
The 808 after party will take place on Friday night at the festival’s hub, Moto Republik.
Peace in the Hood in Chitungwiza, headlined by Freeman, Voltz JT, Crooger, Kikky Badass, Tanto Wavie, and Luminous, will be the festival’s final musical and arts show on Saturday.
The annual Hub UnConference, runs concurrently with the Shoko Festive, will feature events such as the Annual State of the Internet Address, the Women Create Worlds Summit, the Mayors’ Forum, and the Africa Satire Convention.
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