By Jonathan Mbiriyamveka
Efforts to bring Dr Thomas Mapfumo to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) that began yesterday, hit a snag after the Chimurenga icon asked for a hefty pay cheque.
Mapfumo, who staged an emotional homecoming concert in Harare on Saturday after a 14-year long absence on the local music scene, was expected to appear at Hifa’s Opening Night yesterday.However, HIFA organisers and Mapfumo’s management did not agree on the figure he wanted.
“Oh yes! I wanted him (Mapfumo) to appear on the opening night but the figure he wanted to be paid was too much and we obviously couldn’t afford,” Manuel Bagorro, the founder and artistic director of Hifa said.
Efforts to get a comment from Blessing Vava, Dr Mapfumo’s publicist or his manager Austin were fruitless as they were at the airport accompanying the Chimurenga guru who left for his US base on Monday.
Dr Mapfumo or simply Mukanya to his fans on Saturday delivered an emotional performance at Glamis Arena, staging a vintage set spiced by some of his latest hits at an oversubscribed event. It was also an emotional homecoming when he performed Chauya Chauya at least twice, emphasising his hardline stance as a protest musician. On the song, Mukanya urges people to exercise their right to vote and warns of an end of an ‘era’.
That Mukanya played the song twice shows how much of a protester he is and it evoked several emotions with regards to the impending elections due in July.
But to most fans, Mukanya has not changed a bit – he is still the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.“Yahwe,” he chanted and the crowd responded with loud cheers. Backed by an 18-member piece band including four mbira players, this was the stuff that made his performance so emotional and in tune to the last note.
As a last act, a lot was expected of him and he delivered on his promises to serenade music lovers with a four-hour show matching world class standards.
But for some reasons, sound was inaudible at the VVIP where fans paid a whopping $150 per head. The cheapest entrance ticket went for $20, again a sign that musicians of Mukanya’s calibre do not come cheap. A great outing organised by Entertainment Republic.
Meanwhile, South African songstress, Lira, will be performing on the Hifa main stage tomorrow evening. Beatenberg and Winky D will take over on Friday.
Freshly Ground, who were deported from the country in 2014, are expected to close the festival themed, “A year of change. A year of potential. A year of celebration,” with a performance on Sunday evening.
The festival will also feature performances by comedian Carl Joshua and wife Nelsy, Winky D, Prudence Katomeni Mbofana, Hope Masike and Vabati VaJehovah among many others. The Chronicle