THE otherwise tranquil and laid back atmosphere of Chimanimani was once again brusquely disturbed by the rabble-rousing sixth edition of the Chimanimani Arts Festival held at the weekend.
The festival incorporated music, dance, film, theatre and poetry from a cross-section of artists such as Nicholas Zachariah, Leonard Mapfumo and poet Tinashe Muchuri aka Mutumwapavi, amongst a host of others.
On the music front the festival unearthed the talents of a number of new artists and groups such as the Mufakose-based Gwarimba, which enthralled the crowd with their fusion of traditional and contemporary styles of music in an energetic manner.
Band Mutare, another dynamic Afro-jazz group put up a polished performance and held their own in spite of the fact that the audience was not particularly responsive to any genre of music other than sungura.
Members of the audience hollered â€œChiwoniso part twoâ€ when Hope Masike and her group Kakuwe Band performed due to the striking similarity in appearance and style of Masike to Maraire.
The â€œheir apparentâ€ of Maraire proved beyond doubt why she is making waves following the launch of her debut album Hope recently, with a scintillating performance that captivated the audience.
The Spanish trio Demachena also performed courtesy of the Spanish embassy, mingling their Latin style with traits of Chimurenga music. Some in the audience did not know what to make of this unique sound due to the language barrier, but they were intrigued by the melody which had a familiar tinge. Â
The US Embassy Public Affairs section showcased the film A Soldierâ€™s Story which explores issues of race and identity in the US army in the 1940s.
They also screened a film on American jazz, chronicling the evolution of its various components from its inception up to contemporary forms along with the Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.
Women Filmmakers of Zimbabwe also screened a number of their short films, namely I Want A Wedding Dress, Sharing Day and Peretera Maneta which deal with issues of abuse, coming of age and HIV/Aids, among other issues.
Festival director Steve Sparx intimated that while he was appreciative of the support they had received thus far, they still needed a lot more support from stakeholders in the arts arena.
â€œWe would want more interaction and support from the government and the National Arts Council to ensure that the festival continues year after year.â€
BY NGONI MUZOFA