Zim Jazz Festival roars to life next weekend

Louis Mhlanga

THE Zimbabwe Jazz Community Trust (ZJCT) in collaboration with Alliance Française will next weekend host the fifth edition of the Zimbabwe Jazz Festival in Harare and Bulawayo.

Running under the theme Creative Freedom, the Zimbabwe Jazz Festival will feature some of the country’s finest jazz artists.

Celebrated jazz musician and guitar maestro Louis Mhlanga who is based in South Africa will feature at the jazz music fiesta in Harare.

The festival kicks off in Bulawayo at Alliance Française next Friday with an exciting line-up of jazzists, from some of the freshest young talent - the vibrant Ngoma Ingoma - to the most senior exponents of township jazz, the Cool Crooners, and graced by ladies of Jazz - Rute Mbangwa and Buhle le Ngqondo.

To celebrate this new jazz development in Bulawayo, entrance is free.

In Harare the following day the festival will feature seven outstanding artists and groups who have been leading jazz in the capital for many years, as well as newcomers, some emerging from Prince Edward High School, which is known for producing fine young musicians, many of whom have gone on to perform around the world.

On the Harare stage will be, in order of appearance In total, TGV Entertainment, Prince Edward Jazz Band, Tanga wekwaSando, Louis Mhlanga, Dudu Manhenga, Jeys Marabini, and Jazz Invitation.

The 2022 Zimbabwe Jazz Festival is being made possible by funding from The French Embassy and support from CFAO, Total Energies and Air France, among others.

The festival’s artistic director Filbert Marova said: “We are delighted that for the first time the festival is happening in two cities.”

“After the bleak Covid-19 lockdown years, some of our objectives have been met, and more restaurants and venues in Harare are opening up to live jazz music entertainment, after the genre made a comeback with sustained events by ‘Back2Jazzics’ events staged by the Trust. We are bringing jazz back to the people again, and they'll love it.”

Alliance Française de Harare director Fanny Gauthier said the promotion of cultural diversity was one of the values defended by France in the world.

“The Alliance Française contributes daily to the dialogue between cultures, to the promotion of cultural, artistic and linguistic exchanges,” he said.

His counterpart at Alliance Française Bulawayo Guillaume Ripaud, said they were excited to be part of the Zimbabwe Jazz Festival for the first time, and especially after two years of Covid-19 disturbances.

“Working hand in hand with the Zimbabwe Jazz Community Trust is an ideal way for us to create stronger bonds with Bulawayo artists, and a first step in making Alliance Française of Bulawayo a proper concert place in the city, as it used to be in the past,” Ripaud.

“We want to be a place where artists, not only musicians, gather and expose their work and art.”

ZJCT chairperson Robert Basvi said the festival was not to miss considering the strong line up of upcoming and legends.

“As has become our tradition of continual improvement, we have once again raised the bar by bringing the guitar maestro, Louis Mhlanga, to serenade his hungry Zimbabwean fans on this day of celebrating the creativity of jazz,” Basvi said.

“Louis’s mastery of his instrument and home-grown brew of guitar magic will certainly resonate well with this year’s theme, Creative Freedom.”

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