AN awesome traditional Afro jazz showdown is pencilled in for the United Kingdom starting tonight, where Zimbabwe’s new Black Survival group has vowed to steal the show from seasoned
Nigerian superstar Lagbaja.
“It’s going to be a massive showdown, probably the clash of the year, when Lagbaja takes to the stage supported by Zimbabwe’s own Black Survival in a series of shows,” said Fredrick Matenga, director of Y2K Entertainment, promoter of the shows.
But it will be a tall order for the young UK-based Black Survival, made up of all-round stars from different top Zimbabwean groups, to upstage Lagbaja.
Credited with originating the traditionally infested Afro jazz, Lagbaja’s kind of music has received critical acclaim as a spectre of cultural resurgence. Despite its being deeply rooted in the rich repertoire of Africa’s ethos, the unique form of his music has engendered an acceptability that transcends ethnic, nationality and rank demarcations.
“If you remember how Bhundu Boys rocked the UK in the 80s, our new group has emerged to replace them,” a Black Survival spokesman said this week.
Matenga says already the viral word has gone round the African community in the UK about this young Zimbabwean group that has vowed to join Zimbabwean legends Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi at the top. Black Survival plays original traditional music, which is incorporated by guitars, mbira, trumpets and saxophone.
“Lagbaja’s spellbinding hold on a certain generation listening to a music genre distilled from an amalgamation of instruments and concepts with which they have faint affinity is astounding,” Matenga told Xtra Entertainment.
“But for Black Survival to support big names in Africa like Lagbaja shows their worth. Seeing is believing, come and support the new kids on the block.”
Starting with the Manchester Academy show tonight, the Lagbaja ensemble moves to the Coronet Elephant and Castle on London’s New Kent Road tomorrow before heading for the Empire at Milton Keynes Leisure Park on Monday.
Lagbaja and Black Survival are also billed to appear at the Ocean, Hackney, London, next Friday in what pundits are already touting as a possible re-enactment of the stupefying performance that Lagbaja gave in his June 2002 Urban World presentation at the same venue.
“So, all UK fans, hold your breath for the Lagbaja thrills, the thunderous claps of Bata and the massed talking drums. And the frenetic displays of acrobatics, all akin to a miniature ‘Egungun’ fiesta,” promised Matenga.