Danida behind Salif Keita, Hope Masike's Hifa gig

HARARE - Danish International Development Agency (Danida) has facilitated the closing act at this year’s Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) featuring Malian superstar Salif Keita and mbira princess Hope Masike.

The aim of this year’s cooperation between Danida and Hifa is to enhance the role of culture as a medium for free expression in Zimbabwe.

Dubbed the ‘Danida Collaborative Music Project’, this component comprises several collaborative music performances and workshops, where internationally-acclaimed artists join forces with local musicians.

“The red thread in our contribution to Hifa is the exploration of music’s potential to promote freedom of speech through cultural cooperation and the exchange of ideas to communicate social and political messages in contemporary Zimbabwe”, says Denmark’s Head of Mission to Zimbabwe, Erik Brøgger Rasmussen.

“The arts have historically played an important role in forming and securing the Danish freedom of speech mentality. I am sure the same goes for Zimbabwe. Hifa offers important opportunities for musicians and artists to explore and inspire, and for audience to experience. That is why Denmark supports the festival,” he adds.

The Danida Collaborative Music Project celebrates diversity and present different acts such as a dancehall mashup (Dancehall Alliance) and a mini guitar festival with six great string talents, who according to the festival programme will “re-imagine and transpose classical, samba, celtic, slack key and Kora melodies and rhythmic patterns.”

In line with its developmental focus, the project has lined up workshops that seek to contribute to building the capacity within the local artistic community through facilitating and promoting the exchange of skills and knowledge between international, regional and local musicians.

The workshops will facilitate the development of original works that address important social issues, such as promotion of rights, gender equality and free expression.

Hifa has hailed the contribution Danida continues to make to Zimbabwe’s leading festival.

“Hifa values the opportunity of having a collection of artists from all over the world in one place that can not only impart knowledge to local artists but, very importantly, also learn much from our extremely accomplished Zimbabwean artists. The Danida-Hifa collaborative music project is ideal for this as it is about bringing artists and audiences together”, says Tafadzwa Simba, Hifa’s associate executive director.

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