WeUtonga off to Kenya?

HARARE - Renowned female bassist and Afro-jazz musician Edith WeUtonga will be leaving for Kenya on Friday for the prestigious Blankets and Wine Festival.

Lack of funds almost hampered Edith WeUtonga’s trip but the musician is confident of raising $8 000 to cover airfare to Kenya, Nairobi and yellow fever vaccination for her eight-member band.

Her band was invited to attend one of the biggest festivals on the continent slotted for September 2.
Tomorrow the musician will hold a farewell gig at the Book Cafe in Harare.

“So far I have raised almost half the amount and by faith we will get the other half before we leave. Culture fund gave us $3 000 while some well-wishers pledged to cater for airfare costs. These well-wishers pledged after we called for help through Facebook,” she said.

In her struggle to raise the required $8 000 for her trip, she approached local music promoters and corporate world but to no avail.

Left without any other choice, Edith turned to the social network, Facebook and begged money from her over 5 000 fan base.

She requested for at least $10 from friends in a desperate move that left tongues wagging in the entertainment circles.

Some people commented that she made a wrong move which was least expected for a celebrity of her calibre.
Most thought she stooped too low and exposed her poor financial standing.

“Some promoters discouraged me while some told me in black and white that they are not in a position to help me with funds,” Edith said.

Recently she told the Daily News that Zimbabweans only need to enjoy staying in well-furnished house but they do not want to build.

“It is painful to note that our promoters are busy promoting outsiders while giving us a blind eye. Promoters have to create and support local stars as failure to do so will lead us to remain underdogs."

“Take for example South Africa’s jazz musician Zahara, she was nurtured and supported well by her country and now they are exporting her but in Zimbabwe we only need well-established talents such as Oliver Mtukudzi.

“Mtukudzi struggled to reach where he is now, few people and corporate (world) helped him but now they are jostling for him because he is now stable — it is very painful,” said the bassist.

Edith spoke highly of her upcoming performance in Kenya, she said, “It is clear that when I go there I will go in the name of Zimbabwe thereby popularising our local music genre to the world.

“The move is definitely going to benefit the country musically. Our promoters are busy bringing in foreign artistes into the country because we know their music, so how can other nations know our music if we are failing to assist in marketing our own music internationally,” she said.

The prestigious Blankets and Wine Festival in Kenya is intended to promote Afro-fusion musical genres, it commenced in 2008 and local artistes including Oliver Mtukudzi and Chiwoniso Maraire have showcased there before.


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