Syncosradio Africa

From the blog

Hope Masike

Zimbabwean music to take centre stage in Norway

The second edition of Zimfest Oslo, a Zimbabwean music and arts festival, will take place this Friday 28 to Sunday 30 August at Cafeteatret in the east side of Oslo, Norway.

The festival is part of the Zimfest alliance, which arranges similar festivals in London (UK), Bulawayo (Zimbabwe), Tacoma (USA) and Perth (Australia). In line with their mutual vision, Zimfest Oslo focuses on exposing Zimbabwean music and arts, and facilitates collaborations between Zimbabwean musicians and musicians based in Norway.

Every year, the festival promotes one Artist In Residence. This year they have invited mbira musician Hope Masike to perform three concerts and give one workshop. Also on this year’s line-up are Rina Mushonga, Mukwa Marimba, Busi Ncube, Monoswezi and DJ Ranga Kings, along with Kouame Sereba and local talent Tomm Kristiansen and Hanna von Bergen.

Monoswezi is a collective of musicians originally from Mozambique, Norway, Sweden and Zimbabwe. With a common passion for traditional African music, and music from Zimbabwe and Mozambique in particular, Monoswezi seeks a musical expression where respect for tradition is combined with different references and experiences, from jazz and modern Western music, with a strong improvisational approach.

Born in India to Dutch and Zimbabwean parents, Rina Mushonga first took to the lively stages of Harare armed only with her guitar and a handful of songs. Now,13 years later, she has brought her candid and intense voice and music to the four corners of the globe, performing everywhere from street corners to clubs and festivals in countries as diverse as Australia and Eritrea.

Multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Kouame Sereba was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast and grew up in the village of Tiegba. By the age of 20, he had travelled across African, spending time in countries like Mali, Niger, Cameron, Central African Republic, Sudan and Egypt and Israel. In 1983 Kouame moved to Norway, where he is based today. In 2009 he was named Folk Musician of the Year in Norway. From his base in Norway, Kouame travels all over the world, using his life philosophy, ‘The Power of Playfulness’ in his performances, workshops and public talks. In addition to playing guitar, percussion and djembe, Kouame is a master of the Dodo (mouth harp). Kouame meets more than 2000 kids a month with his performance ‘Kouame Meetings Kids’. He explained: “I’m excited and looking forward every time I’m going out to meet the Kids. This is something I have been doing for more than 25 years now”.

Zimfest Oslo also aims to be an open and family friendly festival. Two events worth mentioning in relation to this and the Saturday Backyard party with Zimbabwean food, a traditional market and lots of fun activities for the children, and The Children’s Zimfest programme on Sunday. It also supports organisations that work with grassroot projects in or for Zimbabwe. This year’s organisation in focus is Sabona, a Norwegian NGO doing charity work in Zimbabwe.