EU sponsors Maal, Mokoomba Hifa participation

HARARE - The European Union has facilitated the participation of top Senegalese musician, Baaba Maal and one of Zimbabwe’s most promising bands, Mokoomba during this year’s Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa).

Maal, a globally-recognised Senegalese music icon who is loved across the globe due to his exceptional guitar-playing skills and great vocal ability will be the star attraction at this year’s Hifa edition which runs from April 30 to May 5.

The Senegalese is arguably the West African nation’s most popular musician after Youssou N’Dour.

His music combines traditional elements of the Pulaar-speaking people with magnetic touches of contemporary global influences. Maal’s lyrics focus on African traditions, human dignity, rights, and world peace.

He has collaborated with several musicians, including Peter Gabriel (on Gabriel’s album Passion), and producer Brian Eno.

Maal won a new audience when his voice appeared on the soundtrack to the film Black Hawk Down.
The African legend will dazzle Zimbabweans when he performs with his band on May 4 during Coca Cola Day on the Telecel Main Stage.

National Arts Merit Award  (Nama) winners Mokoomba are vibrant upcoming stars on the local and international music scene.

Formed in Victoria Falls in 2007, the band has toured more than 30 countries, collaborated with international artistes, including Dutch DJ Gregor Salto and appeared at Moshito Music Conference in Johannesburg and WOMEX2012.

They have performed live on BBC’s Later… with Jools Holland and their latest CD Rising Tide has received rave reviews from some of world music’s most influential publications.

The group will also perform on Telecel Main stage on May 4.

Head of (EU) Delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia recently reaffirmed the EU’s support to Zimbabwe’s arts and culture sector at a press conference hosted by Hifa.

“The EU is committed to supporting the arts and culture sector in Zimbabwe and we feel that Hifa is an integral part of this sector.

“We believe that Hifa is an important platform that promotes cultural dialogue and exchange among various artists, as well as between the different people that come to Harare especially for the festival,’’ he said.

He pointed out that the fusion of established and upcoming artists is an admirable aspect of Hifa.

Ambassador Dell’Ariccia described Hifa as Zimbabwe’s “Ambassador’’ to the world; telling the Zimbabwean story through the eyes of artists.

EU’s support to Hifa is wide-ranging and includes street parades, outreach activities (including free First Street performances), Simba Youth Zone and the prisons programme which seeks to rehabilitate prisoners through the arts. - Tarisai Machakaire

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