Zim folk star off to New York

HARARE - After receiving gushing praise from none other than U2 frontman Bono, it is not surprising that international gigs are coming thick and fast for Zimbabwean folk singer Netsayi Chigwendere.

Netsayi, who started her music career in Zimbabwe three years ago after a decade in the United Kingdom, has been invited to do two concerts in New York later this month.

The Zimbabwean songstress will begin her tour of the Big Apple with a performance at the “Celebrate Brooklyn” concert on July 18.

Backed by her talented backing band, Black Pressure, Netsayi will share the stage at the Brooklyn event with two popular Brazilian musicians Bebel Gilberto and Vinicius Cantuaria.

“Celebrate Brooklyn” has been one of New York City’s longest running, free, outdoor performing arts festivals since its launch in 1979.

The rising Zimbabwean folk singer, who was described as “anarchic and joyous, thoughtful and mischievous” with a “rich and complex” voice by Bono, will then perform at the “Bang on a Can 2014” Festival a day after taking part at the Brooklyn event.

“Bang on a Can” is a festival that has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music for the past 27 years.

The forthcoming tour is not Netsayi’s first tour of America.

In November last year, the folk singer — a fan of Chimurenga music legend Thomas Mapfumo-performed at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), earning a favourable review in the respected New York Times.

The Afro-folk queen, who was part of a 40-date tour with Grammy Award-winning legends Ladysmith Black Mambazo while still based in the United Kingdom, has also performed at big stages like the Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa), the Shoko Festival and the October World Music Festival held annually in Harare every year.

Netsayi’s vibrant backing group, Black Pressure, is made up of talented multi-instrumentalists.

Ray Mupfumira plays mbira, bass guitar and marimba with Humphrey Domboka weighing in with the electric guitar, bass guitar and marimba while Bright ‘Tyson’ Chisvo provides backing vocals, drumming and the ngoma.

Her albums include Chimurenga Soul and Monkey’s Wedding.

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