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British Council funds Harare International Festival of the Arts

The British Council, a longstanding partner of the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), has once again teamed up with the festival.

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Noisettes a UK rock band that is being supported by British Council at HIFA
Noisettes, a UK rock band that is being supported by British Council at HIFA

This year’s line up at HIFA includes a strong musical programme, featuring both local and international artists, as well as a theatre performance by Zimbabwe’s NAMA award-winning NKM Theatre Initiative led by Blessing Hungwe.

The Noisettes’ much anticipated performance on the Telecel Mainstage on the 2nd of May at HIFA rides on the success the group have enjoyed on the international music scene for over seven years. The group is led by singer Shingai Shoniwa, who is best known for featuring on Dennis Ferrer’s massive hit ‘Hey, Hey’. Shingai who is of Zimbabwean descent fronts the electro-pop mega-group with Dan Smith and the two will perform with a full live band at HIFA. The dynamic duo, have built an astonishing following thanks to their enthralling performances and style which is unconventional, fierce and daring. Their energy is reminiscent of the true, legendary artists of the past, leading to them being described as ‘the best live band in Britain’ by The Guardian last year.

According to the British Council Country Director, Jill Coates: “The Noisettes’ performance and Shingai’s homecoming is a great example of our work linking UK and Zimbabwean artists. We are very excited to see some of Zimbabwe’s top female artists joining the band on stage for what promises to be the most talked about act of the HIFA 2013 program.”

British Council has also partnered with the Royal Netherlands Embassy to present Leon Bosch’s performance with pianist Lestari Scholtes on May the 2nd. Leon Bosch has received acclaim world-over for his exploration of the challenging and little-known music of double bass. He is a chamber musician, recitalist, concerto soloist, teacher, and programme consultant.

John Pfumojena, a young and upcoming local artist, will be making his solo debut at the Harare International Festival of the Arts on the 3rd of May. This exclusive show will fuse dynamic vocals and rhythms of mbira and marimba and is set to please fans old and new. He has enjoyed festival billing with notable names such as Chiwoniso, Malaika, Salif Keita, Oliver Mtukudzi and Ismael Lo.

The Songs of the Carnivores performance will make its debut at HIFA 2013 following its success at Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo. This performance has brought together choirs from primary schools around Zimbabwe and will be conducted by the composer himself, Richard Sisson. The music which has been commissioned in support of the Bulawayo Schools Music Program, was written to raise awareness of our five carnivores – the Lion, the Leopard, the Hyena, the Cheetah, and the Wild Dog.

Lastly, the British Council’s theatre programme will feature Looking into the Abyss from the award-winning NKM Theatre Initiative, a group that is no stranger to HIFA. This play focuses on topical issues of marriage of the girl-child, post-partum depression and is sure to question the tradition of marrying off young girls. Two performances are billed for this show on the 30th of April and the 4th of May and promises, to be one of the festival’s stellar theatre performances!

Published 3 May 2013