Will Koite give Hifa final flourish?

HARARE - The six-day Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa) will wind up tonight with a highly anticipated performance by Malian music star Habib Koité.

Koité, named West Africa’s biggest pop star by Rolling Stone magazine, will be the star man in a closing concert that will also feature several other performers including various dancers led by British artiste Tim Casson.

Interestingly, the Malian star will be following in the footsteps of his compatriot Salif Keita who was given the honour of winding up the last Hifa 18 months ago.

Given the manner Salif Keita lit up the 2015 edition of Hifa with a jaw-dropping performance, Koité will surely have a tough act to follow.

But after delighting audiences the world over and selling more than 250 000 albums over the last decade, Koite appears well-endowed with both the ability and experienced to make the Hifa stage his own.

Koité, who sings in several Malian languages, incorporates styles and rhythms from all over his homeland. He has reportedly performed at 600 concerts all over the world backed by his legendary Bamada band.

The Malian star-dubbed the African Clapton — is expected to add a final flourish to this year’s Hifa which has already witnessed several great concerts.

Some of the standout music shows we have seen this year included the Mahube concert — a collaboration of southern African musicians which was directed by multi-award-winning Steve Dyer and his son Bokani — that kicked off the festival on Tuesday night.

Despite starting about 45 minutes late due to a technical glitch, Mahube delivered a beautifully-choreographed show.

Mahube featured music superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, Steve Dyer (South Africa), Botswana-based Bokani (piano and keyboards), Mozambican songstress Xixel Langa as well as South Africans Siya Makuzeni (vocals and trombone), Mbuso Khoza (vocals) and Cameron Ward on lead guitar.

Zimbabwe was well-represented in the revived Mahube in the form of Hope Masike (mbira and vocals), bass guitar sensation Josh Meck, Sam Mataure (drums) and Othnell “Mangoma” Moyo on percussion.

Several local dancers and dance groups namely Dance Trust of Zimbabwe/ National Ballet of Zimbabwe, Breakthrough Productions, Jerahuni Movement Factory, M & M Dance Factory, AfriKera Arts Trust and Zimboys Acrobats excelled in the opening show.

The Tuku-Winky D show on Friday night will go down as one of the highlights of Hifa 2017. Not only did it attract a very big crowd, it also saw Tuku collaborating on stage with several artistes who included Iyco and Kaka Furaha from Japan, Steve Dyer, Ghanaian Rocky Duwani, Winky D,Tariro Negitare, Clive Mono Mukundu and his wife Daisy.

The music fans’ only gripe with Tuku-Winky D show was that the Zimdancehall star only performed just three songs including his duet with Samanyanga — Panorwadza Moyo.

Other artistes who attracted rave reviews include Italian songstress Amanda E La Banda who featured Blessing “Bled”Chimanga and Mangoma on her set, lively Cameroonian songstress Kareyce Fotso and local reggae group Transit Crew.

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