Louis Mhlanga begins southern Africa tour

BULAWAYO - Celebrated South Africa-based guitarist and vocalist Louis Mhlanga, who lit up the Harare Jazz Festival in September last year, is returning to Zimbabwe as part of a tour that will take him to five southern African countries.

The Zimbabwe-born guitar wizard, who is touring with Malagasy accordionist Régis Gizavo, will kick off the Zimbabwe leg of the tour at Alliance Française (Bulawayo) on March 16 before performing at Alliance Française (Harare) the following day.

The 11-date tour, which began in Cape Town on March 4 before heading to Stellenbosch the following day, is being supported by Alliance Française as part of this year’s Francophonie celebration.

Mhlanga and Gizavo’s southern Africa tour dubbed “Takalo”, which means exchange in Malagasy —will also include Gaborone (Botswana) on  March 9, Lusaka (Zambia) on March 11, Johannesburg (South Africa) on March 12, Pretoria (South Africa) on March 14, Port-Elizabeth (South Africa) on March 18, Maseru (Lesotho) on March 19 and Durban (South Africa) on  March 21.

Alliance Francaise communications coordinator ,Prisca Cerneaux, confirmed the tour of southern Africa by Mhlanga and Gizavo who first met in 2002 and then teamed up with percussionist David Mirandon to collaborate on an album, Stories, which won the prestigious Spin the Globe award in 2006.

“They now join forces once again to tour southern Africa, drawing on their personal experiences to create a repertoire based on diversity and cultural dialogue.

“Working together, they focus on musical influences and artistic experiences that nourished them over the last decade,” Cerneaux said.

The Zimbabwe leg of the Takalo Tour will be particularly special for Mhlanga who is regarded by many as the country’s best ever guitarist.

He began his career in Harare in the 1970s and later on got the opportunity to work with music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and the now defunct Ilanga.

After a glorious stint in his homeland, the award-winning guitarist and producer headed to South Africa where he worked with the late Miriam Makeba, Hugh Masekela, Sipho Mabuse, Mlungisi Gegana and the Kalahari Surfers among others.

Mhlanga’s albums include Musik Ye Afrika, Mukai, Live at the Bassline with Vusi Mahlasela, Shamwari, Stories and World Traveller.

Gizavo, Mhlanga’s partner on the Takalo Tour, began playing accordion at the age of 6.

The RFI Découvertes award winner has worked with celebrated artistes such as Richard Bona, Sally Nyolo, Jean-Michel Pilc, Cesaria Evoria and Zao. His discography includes Mikea, Samy Olombelo, Stories, and Ilakake.


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