'Byo Music Festival a leap of faith'

BULAWAYO - One of the Bulawayo Music Festival organisers Michael Bullivant has described the hosting of this year’s edition of the fiesta as a leap of faith given the current biting economic hardships.

The festival is expected to run from June 15 to 19, with daytime and evening concerts staged every day.

The festival suffered a huge setback due to political challenges in 2002, up until 2006 when it resumed once in every two years until 2012.

Bullivant believes this year’s edition is set to be explosive, punctuated with a catalogue of local and international artistes.

“This year — perhaps more than any other — and this is notwithstanding the often turbulent economic and political backdrop which has shaped the festival over the years — the organisers are viewing the event as a leap of faith,” Bullivant said.

“Larger, more established centres have cancelled their festivals but, in the irrepressible spirit that is the Zimbabwe Academy of Music and Bulawayo in general, it is going ahead,” he said.

Bullivant said they have gone all-out to secure a line-up of internationally-acclaimed performers.

Among them are American violinist Nokuthula “Thula” Ngwenyama, Germany Cello player, Theo Bross, who just a few months ago enchanted audiences with his collaborative concerts with French pianist, Maxime Zecchini, Christopher Smith, the Odeion Quartet, the Heuglin Tenors and Molly Dzangare and two legendary festival performers, Leslie Howard and Coady Green.

Bullivant said: “Music is a vibrant and evolving force and, well aware of this, the organisers have always made the outreach and collaborative aspect of the festival key.”

As a result, he said a number of local dance and vocal groups, including Impumelelo Shining Stars, the Amawumbo Dance Company and Wings over Jordan, will join in the festival, creating a dynamic fusion of sounds and sensations with a programme varied and accessible enough to appeal to all audiences.

He said a tie-in with the Alliance Francaise’s commemoration of World Music Day on June 18, will bring together street performers and the classically trained in one spectacular celebration of music.

The Bulawayo Music Festival was first organised in 1997 to mark the 60th anniversary of the Bulawayo Philharmonic Orchestra, the 20th anniversary of the National Symphony Orchestra and the 100th anniversary of the arrival of the railway in Bulawayo.

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