Hifa endorses Zim dancehall

HARARE - Music promoters regard the Harare International Festival of the arts (Hifa)’s decision to end this year’s edition with a Zim dancehall concert as an endorsement of the music genre.

The Zim Dancehall Blast Concert featuring Killer T, Lady Squanda, Ricky Fire, Platinum Prince and Dhadza D will conclude the 14th edition of Hifa which will take place in the Zimbabwean capital city from April 29 to May 4.

Partson ‘Chipaz’ Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions believes Hifa’s move will raise the profile of Zimbabwean dancehall.

“This is a step towards the growth of the genre and it shows that Zim dancehall is finally getting the recognition it deserves,” he said.

Chipaz added that the Hifa endorsement could be the first step towards the international recognition of Zimbabwean dancehall since the international festival plays host to music promoters from all over the world.

Biggie Chinoperekwei, who is the reigning National Arts Merit Award (Nama) promoter of the year, concurs with Chipaz.

“Hifa is a big platform which draws different people from all over the world therefore being given the opportunity to showcase on such a big platform is a big achievement,” said Chinoperekwei.

“We are glad as promoters of the genre to note that Zim dancehall is growing all the time and is now being accepted by all age groups.

“The genre was confined to youngsters but judging from a dancehall concert I held in the Harare Gardens last weekend, I noticed that it is now attracting mature crowd,” he said.

Muchaneta “Lady Squanda” Gazi, who was voted the best female dancehall artiste for 2013 at the Zim Dancehall Awards, has praised Hifa for providing them with the big platform they have always yearned for.

“On behalf of the entire Zim dancehall community, I would like to thank Hifa for allowing us to be part of this year’s edition of Hifa,” said the controversial Lady Squanda.

“It shows that the entire globe is beginning to appreciate the genre and I promise to keep the fire burning come May 4.”

Over the years, Winky D is the only dancehall artiste who has regularly taken part in Zimbabwe’s most prestigious international festival.

The endorsement of Zim dancehall by Hifa comes at a time the music genre has been making in-roads on the international scène. At the moment Killer T is in the United Kingdom (UK) where he is performing before going to South Africa for several concerts.

Soul Jah Love is also set to perform in the UK along with Seh Calaz, Guspy Warrior, Shinsoman and Freeman in May during the Zimbabwe Summer Fiesta UK tour 2014. The Zim dancehall crew will be performing in Luton, Coventry and Manchester.

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