Music lovers are being treated to fresh voices in the industry at the October World Music Festival, currently taking place at different venues in the city.
Formerly known as the October Jazz Festival, the festival kicked off at Book Café on Friday with a breath-taking performance by dendera musician Sulumani Chimbetu in a fully-packed venue.
This year the festival is engaging emerging musicians in a bid to help build their careers. One young musician Gary Tight has already won the hearts of many after delivering a tantalizing performance at Mega II on Saturday afternoon.
He proved himself to be a serious contender to fellow established musicians sharing the same stage, among them Zimboita, Selmor Mtukudzi and Biggie Tembo Jnr.
Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Stefano Moscatelli says: “Since last year we have switched from mainly Italian artists to more local artists who are not very well known.”
He said that though established local artists such as Hope Masike, Sulumani Chimbetu and Alick Macheso are playing at the festival, the idea is to boost emerging talented artists and support them by giving them a chance to perform on an international platform.
“This is why we hosted this year, for the first time, a pre-festival to make a selection of the best,” he explained.
Among the selected musicians are this year’s Imagine International Finalists and Chibuku Road to Fame second runner-ups Were, Gary Tight son of legendary afro-fusion musician Willom, and from Tuku’s Pakarepaya Arts Centre, Tsvete, Munya Mataruse, and Donald Kanyuchi.
Musicians who hail from Pakarepaye Arts Centre will be playing every day from 3-5.30 pm at Book Café’s Gochi-gochi garden with high expectations pinned on Tsvete (playing this afternoon) who have been riding on a high note since joining the industry last year.
In another art development initiative, the festival is running a comprehensive workshop program that focuses on developing practical music skills amongst participants.
This is aimed at further developing talent through interaction and cross-fertilization of ideas. The workshop program includes master classes on practical instrumentation and voice skills, mentoring, film screenings, discussions and role modeling.
The October World Music Festival is an annual event that has hosted several highly ranked musicians including Dudu Manhenga, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Raffaele Casarano with the Apulia Jazz Quartet and Jazz Invitation. This year the festival will feature perfomances by artists including Blessing Mutarutsa, Ammara Brown, Mokoomba, Netsayi & Black Pressure, Siya (South Africa), The Brother Moves On (South Africa), Victor Kunonga & Peace, Favata Quartet (Italy), Zimboita (Zimbabwe and Italy) and Anthony Stanco (USA).
The festival runs until this Saturday, 19 October, at various venues including the Italian Sports Club, Book Café and Reps Theatre.