SOUTHERN African artists are set for what is billed to become one of the best music and cultural festivals in the United Kingdom in years to come.
Zimbabweâ€™s chimurenga music legend Thomas Mapfumo and South Africaâ€™s kwaito outfit, Trompies, will share the stage at the inaugural Southern Africa Music Airwaves (Sama) Festival scheduled for August 29 in Leeds and August 30 in Luton.
There will be a special appearance at Sama Festival 2009 by the Noisettes, one of the hottest indie rock bands in the UK led by Zimbabwean-born vocalist and bass guitarist, Shingai Shoniwa.
The festival will also unleash urban grooves talent from Zimbabwe in the form of Roki and the group Mafriq, as well as dancehall ragga sensation Winky Dee.
Zambian idol Danny, of the Yakumbuyo fame, will also feature at the festival.
Organisers of the festival, Y2K Entertainment Promotions, have promised an unforgettable concert that they say will also be an excellent marketing opportunity for businesses with interests especially in southern Africa.
Y2K Entertainment Promotions, a UK-based entertainment company started by southern African entrepreneurs in 2 000, has since its establishment held several successful shows involving high-profile performers such as Mapfumo and Nigeriaâ€™s Labagja.
â€œItâ€™s going to be a memorable open-air event,â€ says Fredrick Matenga, one of the Y2K Entertainment Promotions directors.
â€œWe have looked into different genres such as chimurenga, R&B, rock, reggae and kwaito and we have come up with some of the best acts from southern Africa.â€
Matenga says Y2K saw it important to introduce some of Zimbabweâ€™s upcoming artists on the international stage.
â€œSama Festival 2009 will give a platform to exciting talent such as Roki, Mafriq and Winky Dee to show the UK and the world what they can do,â€ says Matenga.
â€œMapfumo and the Trompies need no introduction. We are only expecting the best come from these legends. Add the impressive Danny from Zambia and the result will be an unforgettable family show.â€
Roki, of the Chidzoka fame, says he will not be overwhelmed by rubbing shoulders with some of Africaâ€™s top entertainers. He says he is looking forward to giving a great performance.
â€œIâ€™m humbled to be offered (the opportunity) to perform at the festival with big musicians such as Mukanya, Trompies and others,â€ said Roki, the 24-year-old performer whose full name is Rockford Josphats.
â€œItâ€™s a good thing for us as a young group but weâ€™ll show how we have matured over the years. Entertaining is our job. Every day we perform weâ€™ll be doing it with London in mind.
Pauline Gundidza, the leading vocalist of the Afro-pop group Mafriq, is also excited about the festival.
â€œWeâ€™re very delighted with this opportunity and our band has been doing a lot of rehearsing and rebranding ahead of the festival,â€ said Pauline. Â
Pauline hopes Sama will open up opportunities for the exciting Harare group.
â€œMafriq has a 20-song album which weâ€™ve been holding onto because we couldnâ€™t get a good record deal because of the economic situation in Zimbabwe,â€ she said. â€œBut the songs have been doing well on local radio and we believe playing at the festival is a platform to showcase to the world what we can do and who knows, we might get an international record deal.â€ â€” Own Correspondent.