Mbira UK

THE October World Music Festival hosted by Italy, now in full swing, will strengthen and improve relations between Zimbabwe and Italy, Italian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Stefano Moscatelli believes. “The event will serve as platform to promote both Italian and Zimbabwean cultures as well as improve our mutual relationship.

“In this year’s event, we saw the need to accommodate diverse genres of music such as folk and ethno music, RnB, rock, afro-pop and fusion, as well as promote little-known local artistes,” he said.

The festival will bring together local, regional and international artistes to perform and interact at different venues around Harare.

A group called ZimboIta was formed to facilitate cultural exchange between Zimbabwe and Italy.

The ZimboIta music collaboration has fused mbira music and Italian jazz.

The group is currently working on their debut album set to be released later this year. It is made up of local mbira artiste Blessing Chimanga and Italian musician Max Covini.

Another celebrated Italian artiste, Enzo Favata, is already in the country for the festival.

Other performances held over the weekend featured the likes of Selmor Mtukudzi and Gary Tight at Mega 2 Bar in Hatfield. The festival ends on October 20 with shows lined-up at the Book Café, Italian Sports Club, Misty’s and Mbira Centre.

The annual fete, previously called October Jazz Music Festival, was rebranded to accommodate non-jazz players such as Alick Macheso and Suluman Chimbetu who are going to take part in this year’s edition.

Mbira player Hope Masike, who is one of the participating artistes, said the festival places great emphasis on training and development of both local and international artistes.

“The festival provides a wider mbira audience and avenue for local upcoming bands to learn from established foreign bands. It has a comprehensive workshop programme that focuses on the development of music skills,” she said.

Masike said her music career was propelled by such collaborations where she mixes mbira and Scandinavian jazz.

The festival also includes a series of two-hour musical workshops that will run until October 18 at the Zimbabwe College of Music, Mbira Centre and Prince Edward School.

via allAfrica.com: Zimbabwe: October World Music Festival Gets Bigger, Better.