Dudu hogs Hifa limelight

HARARE - Zimbabwean jazz star Dudu Manhenga gave a polished performance as a backing vocalist of award-winning Ivorian singer Dobet Gnahoré at the Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa) on Thursday Night.

Velvety-voiced Dudu was not meant to perform on the Telecel Main Stage this year but fate had other ideas.

Gnahoré’s bassist and backing vocalist missed his flight in Paris forcing the France-based Ivorian musician to turn to Dudu and her bassist Josh Kwesha for help on Wednesday night.

Despite listening to Gnahoré’s music for less than 24 hours, the Zimbabwean duo surprised the big crowd with the way they blended in with the Grammy winner’s band.

Dudu was particularly impressive on vocals and when she was given the chance to do a fleeting solo in French the crowd roared in approval.

Dudu and Josh’s ability to respond to the challenge at short notice earned them kudos from Gnahoré.

“Thanks to my sister Dudu and Josh. Dudu has a beautiful voice,” said the Ivorian to deafening applause from the passionate crowd.

The Zimbabwean jazz singer could not hide her joy when she spoke to the Daily News after the show.

“It was an unbelievable experience,” Dudu said.

“We (with bassist Josh Kwesha) only got hold of Gnahoré’s music on Wednesday night; so we listened to it for less than 24 hours, but we were delighted by our performance tonight.

“She is a big star; a very talented musician but I was impressed by the way she carried herself.

“She is very modest and we hope to do some collaborations soon.

“We are talking about doing something together.”

Though Dudu and talented bassist Josh gave good accounts of themselves on the big stage under difficult circumstances, there was no denying that the star of the show was Gnahoré.

The Ivorian singer showed why her duet with India Arie on the song Pearls won a Grammy Award in 2010 with a lively performance full of powerful vocals and incredible dancing.

Her ability to drift effortlessly from upbeat rhythms to slow ballads kept the fairly big crowd hooked onto her colourful act.

It was a fitting concert to announce her return to Hifa after a six-year absence.

Comments (3)

I thought Dudu was in jail!But since this a sub-Saharan country anything is possible.

urbanus - 5 May 2014

Well done Dudu, you are real queen of song ! Keep shining

bollo billings - 5 May 2014

The spirit of the dead shall haunt you even if you bribe your way out. mhondi imhondi. This woman killed negligently by driving without a license and with no one to assist her and thus madder . She tasted jail and I am sure she paid with everything and mean everything possible.

Wings of change - 5 May 2014

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