As part of its ongoing city-wide musical explorations, Sofar Sounds Harare, which has carved a niche through its small-scale performances, secret locations and surprise artists, recently held its seventh concert hosted at Chez Zandi in Belgravia.
Ever since it made its Zimbabwean debut in December last year, the globally renowned music brand has been attracting a diverse music-loving audience that is always eager to discover new artists and different unique spaces around the city of Harare.
Organisers envision the innovative concept as a significant player in the transformation of the local tourism sector as it can highlight Harare as a meetings, incentives, conferences, exhibitions (Mice) tourism destination.
City curator Khumbulani Muleya emphasised the broader vision, stating that their aim was to leverage the platform to promote domestic leisure tourism, specifically highlighting locations around Harare.
“The aim of our concerts is to promote local talent, engage the community and contribute to the cultural vibrancy of the city,” Muleya said.
Last month, the iconic National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) was host of the sixth edition. Previous concerts have been hosted at venues such as First Floor Gallery Harare, Alliance Francaise de Harare, Ela The Garden, and Vanilla Moon, as well as at a private residence in Highlands.
Sofar shows are free of the usual distractions normally associated with live music, which is something that has made the concept grow in popularity ever since its inception.
All over the world, the platform’s unique live music experiences are hosted in non-traditional venues such as living rooms, historical sites, art galleries, restaurants, backyards, breweries and rooftops, among other spaces.
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This past Saturday, Chez Zandi, with its unique outdoor set-up, provided great ambiance for Sofar’s septennial concert. The bistro and wine bar received an audience from the country’s wider community who immersed themselves in the music while seated on cushions and the floor — a trademark of Sofar globally.
Organisers say, floor sitting allows for an immersive experience that brings guests and artists closer together.
The concert showcased a diverse line-up, featuring artists like jazz and afro-folk singer and songwriter Raven Duchess, multi-talented artist, Lovedale Makalanga, writer and storyteller Kuda Rice as well as saxophonist and trumpeter Panashe Arundel Matoi also known as Sir Arundel.
Rice, through his adept use of spoken word poetry, skilfully led the audience into a captivating realm of creative expression. The seamless integration of the saxophone, which was played by Saxopash, enhanced the depth of his storytelling.
Raven Duchess, with her jazzy voice and fusion of Afro-folklore music, enthralled the audience with songs from her albums Ethno Vibes and Folklore. One of the songs, Hondo, is a collaboration with mbira legend Jacob Mafuleni.
“It was an exhilarating event with the energy from our lively audience. I am honored to have shared the stage with other fellow creatives as we showcased our different talents. I definitely appreciated the amazing feedback as the audience sang along to most of my songs,” Duchess told IndependentXtra.
The curator Muleya also expressed his desire to collaborate with the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to showcase unique venue locations in and around the city.
“These venues could include cultural landmarks, historical sites, natural attractions, and other hidden locations that embody the spirit of Harare,” Muleya said.
Besides Harare, other cities that hosted a Sofar show on the same day include Amsterdam (Netherlands), Copenhagen (Denmark), Tolouse (France), Grancanaria (Spain), Laplata (Argentina), Nassau (Bahamas) and Honolulu (United States).
The community-based shows are by invitation only, and to attend guests, apply via www.sofarsounds.com to reserve free tickets.