Conceptualised by local superstar Oliver Mtukudzi, who is also the artistic director and executive producer, the festival showcases a variety of performing arts.
According to Shepherd Mutamba, director of publicity at Pakare Paye Arts Centre, the festival was borne out of Mtukudzi’s desire to expose, promote and help artists build individual confidence.
Since 2006 the event has grown in stature on the entertainment calendar due to its uniqueness on the local scene and the coming in of more established artists to perform there.
The “solo” aspect comes in the fact that an artist who would normally perform with a band would at the festival feature by themselves. There would be no backtracks and no band.
This approach is envisioned to “enrich and nurture self-confidence while growing the artist into a versatile, multitalented and multipurpose performer.”
The Pakare Paye Arts Centre, says Mutamba, is premised on the notion of interactivity whereby musicians share knowledge and ideas instead of the top-down arrangement of training.
“The idea for the solo fest came about when fans sought to listen to what really the individual artist played by themselves,” says Mtukudzi. “When we tried it at Pakare Paye we discovered that some of our local artists were not comfortable performing on their own. It meant the artists were not even confident to be who they are. We are changing this and building a well rounded artist who is competitive individually.”
The solo fest line-up this year will be as follows: Oliver Mtukudzi (guitar – vocals), Alick Macheso (bass guitar- vocals), Victor Kunonga (guitar- vocals), Kapfupi – Freddy Majalima (comedy), Winky D (vocals), Charles Chipanga (marimba- vocals), Steve Makoni (guitar – vocals), Bob Nyabinde (guitar – vocals), Sebastian Magacha (vocals), Chirikure Chirikure (poetry), Sulumani Chimbetu (guitar – vocals), Mathias Julius (dance), Vimbai Zimuto (mbira – vocals), Phillip Tsikirayi (mbira & percussion), Kuda Ndoro (dance), Munya Mataruse (guitar – vocals), Poda Muriwa (guitar – vocals), Donald Kanyuchi (harmonica), Jackie Nyamutumbu (marimba), Martha Badza (percussion), Wakile (banjo), Simba Mutanga (marimba), Faith Muzondo (dance) and Watson Chidzomba Jnr (drums).