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Solo Encounters With Dudu Manhenga

THIS March Dudu Manhenga  (pictured left) launches an exciting new trend, Solo Encounters — close-up interactions with the afro-jazz artist in an intimate concert setting at Reps Theatre in Harare from March 17 – 21, from 7pm.

The gifted young singer/songwriter has been making waves in regional and international music circles lately, after emerging from a Zimbabwe College of Music student background at the turn of the century to quickly rise and emerge as a force to be reckoned with on and off the stage in Zimbabwe.

In 2001 she helped to form and establish a long-standing musical partnership with the jazz group Color Blu, along with Blessing Mparutsa and other musicians. 

Together they went on to perform widely at club venues and festivals in Zimbabwe and South Africa, often sharing the stage with big names such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Dorothy Masuka, The Cool Crooners, Judith Sephuma, Ray Phiri, Jimmy Dludlu, the late Jabu Khanyile, and many others.

Dudu recently returned from a Norwegian tour where a warm welcome from European audiences helped to put Zimbabwe firmly on the jazz map of the world. 

Her delivery is tight, exciting and on par with top music acts in the southern African region, and indeed in the world.  Dudu’s personal style is influenced by great African and jazz singers, and the dignity of her delivery is a credit to her and to her country wherever she goes.

The diva is also a major contributor to the Female Literary Arts Music Enterprise programme, for the development and promotion of women artists into the mainstream of the arts, which is being run by Zimbabwean arts organisation Pamberi Trust.

The programme includes performances and workshops in which she is a key consultant, providing a good role model for young women in the performing arts.

Dudu is now spearheading the establishment of an association for women artists, which has grown from those workshops.

The music of Color Blu has been accurately described as “an afro jazz adventure”! and backing Dudu for this series, the band will be performing music from their forthcoming debut album — a music treat which is anxiously awaited by music-lovers in the know. 

The current line-up is Blessing Muparutsa (drums), Nick Nare (keys), Enoch Piroro (bass), Strovas on percussion, David Machaka and Victor Muparutsa (backing vocals) along with gospel artist Tino Bimha, and the gifted young Zanele Manhenga. 

For the Reps Theatre shows, Color Blu also features James Buzuzi on guitar, and exposing new original compositions by singer David Machaka.

The shows will be recorded for Dudu’s next live album, and her first two CDs, along with distinctive funky merchandise, will be on sale.

It’s an opportunity for discerning music-lovers to relax and enjoy the afro-jazz of one of Zimbabwe’s foremost women in jazz, who continues to thrill her listeners with the beautiful melodies and exciting rhythms of Africa, fused with intricate contemporary jazz styles and techniques of the modern world in which she lives. 

A beautiful repertoire from a gifted young daughter of Zimbabwe, which should not be missed.  — Own Correspondent.

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