Kunzwana # 1 - heading for Tonga Ngoma Buntibe music and HIFA

Kunzwana # 1 is a trans-cultural collaboration of both musical storytelling and freely improvised music, in an exciting encounter between seven outstanding Austrian and Zimbabwean musicians which will unfold across the Southern African region through Harare and Johannesburg this April/May, and move on to perform in Europe later in the year.

The tour starts with a visit by the Austrian musicians to the group Simonga in the remote village of Siachilaba deep in the Zambezi Valley, a vivid encounter with the traditional Ngoma Buntibe musical art form / Tonkunst / of the Tonga people, highlighted as a source of inspiration.

From the Tonga area the journey of the Austrian trio will continue via Bulawayo to Harare where they will meet the Zimbabwean quartet of musicians for exchange, explorations and rehearsals, with a focus on Mbira- and Chimurenga-inspired contemporary music styles.

The interaction will result in the formation of the trans-cultural Kunzwana # 1 ensemble which aims to strike a balance between different styles and cultures. They will perform at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), and the Book Café in early May, and venues in South Africa, carrying also the echoes of Tonga music along. A number of further joint performances are already lined up at music festivals in Austria in July 2014.

The Kunzwana # 1 ensemble performing @ HIFA:

Hope MASIKE / ZIMBABWE  - (vocals, mbira) – one of Zimbabwe's most sensational mbira-players with a fascinating repertoire ranging from traditional mbira classics to jazz- driven instrumentals in irregular time, and funk.

Isabelle DUTHOIT / FRANCE – (voice & clarinet) - Noted for her large range and distinctive voice, Isabelle boasts an incredibly dense and impulsive stage performance.

Franz HAUTZINGER / AUSTRIA  – A versatile, highly rated (quarter-tone) trumpet player described as “the reluctant reductionist” by ‘The Wire’.

Josh MECK / ZIMBABWE – (guitar/bass) – The bass guitar and afro jazz prodigy has toured Africa and Europe widely setting audiences alight with his dazzling guitar-playing skills.

Werner PUNTIGAM / AUSTRIA – (trombone, conch shell, visuals) – A frequent arts and music traveler between Austria and Southern Africa, and vivid contributor to a range of intercultural projects.

Blessing ‘Bled’ CHIMANGA (drums) - A first-rate drummer open to experimentation and international collaboration.

Orthnell ‘Mangoma’ MOYO (percussion) – A gifted percussionist who is collaborating with many local and international artists.

With special guest Helga DAVIS, the American vocalist and performance artist

The highlights of the tour:

23/24th April    Workshop with the Ngoma buntibe group Simonga, Siachilaba, Zimbabwe

27th April        Workshop @ Amakhosi Cultural Centre,  Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

28-30th April    Workshop @ Zimbabwe College of Music, Harare, Zimbabwe

1 May             Harare International Festival for the Arts  HIFA / Global Stage, Harare, Zimbabwe

2 May             Opening of Tales of Resilience exhibition @ National Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe

3 May             Concert @ Book Cafe, Harare, Zimbabwe

6 May             Concert @ Academy of Sound Engineering ASE / SABC, Johannesburg, SA

7 May             Workshop with MIAGI Youth Orchestra, Soweto / Joburg, SA

9 May             Concert @ Moyo's Zoo Lake, Johannesburg, SA

8 July             Concert @ Musikforum Viktring Festival, Klagenfurt, Austria

17 July           Concert @ Murszene OpenAir Festival, Graz, Austria

23 July           Concert @ opening of Festival Glatt&Verkehrt, Krems, Austria

& more concerts in the pipeline Check the website www.kunzwana.net

Parallel and interwoven with this musical journey and exchange runs the ‘Tales of Resilience’ project as another collaboration between Austrian and Zimbabwean artists, researching and celebrating the cultural resilience of Tonga and Mbira music and the cultural diversity of Zimbabwe. This project will present its outcome in an arts installation in the context of HIFA at the National Gallery in Harare, alongside a photography exhibition created by Simonga women (Binga) under the guidance of Calvin Dondo and Annie Mpalume (Zimbabwe).  The artists collaborating for the Tales of Resilience project are: Tina Auer, Tim Boykett and Andreas Mayrhofer from Time's Up (Austria). see http://www.timesup.org/ToR
read more in their travel blog http://talesofresilience.wordpress.com/