The Herald (Harare)

1 October 2012

Zimbabwe: International Flavour at solo Fest

The annual Pakare Paye Solo Festival, now in its sixth year, is set for this Saturday in Norton and features Suzanna Owiyo from Kenya and Kunle Ayo from Nigeria plus a galaxy of local artistes.

In the line-up is Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi, who is also the founder of the festival, Jah Prayzah, Kudzai Sevenzo, Steve Makoni, Bob Nyabinde, Edith we Utonga, Victor Kunonga, Clare Nyakujara, Munya Mataruse, Watson Junior Chidzomba, Albert Nyathi, Donald Kanyuchi, Hope Masike, Olivia Charamba, John Pfumojena, Diana Samkange, Tari G. Finger, Allan Chimbetu, Enock Piroro and Batsirai Chigama.

Festival director Watson Chidzomba said the annual solo fete was realising modest growth in its programming and line-up of artistes.

It is the first time that the festival will be featuring international artistes.

With support from the Culture Fund Trust Zimbabwe, the festival will host a day's arts training workshop and performances by young talent from schools on Friday in line with Pakare Paye's vision to mentor young artistes.

After the workshop the children will showcase their skills and talent from 2pm to 4pm. Admission for the Friday performances is entirely free.

The main act of the festival will then take place on Saturday with a cover charge of US$5 for adults while children enjoy free entry.

It will kick off around 4pm.

The SPAR Guild of Grocers are the festival's platinum sponsors and Daily News is the official media partner.

Music promotion entities - Chipaz Promotions, Jazz 105 and Tuku Music -- are also partnering the festival.

While the festival is a family day, to the artistes, it provides a platform to individually enhance their confidence as solo performers.

The solo festival concept, the brainchild of Mtukudzi, is to help groom a solo artiste and assure the performers that they can work as individuals and still provide entertainment and make a living.

Ultimately the solo festival enriches and nurtures self-confidence while growing the artiste into a versatile, multi-talented and multi-purpose performer.

What the festival means is that an artiste who normally performs with a band will feature as a solo act, without backtracks or a band.

The performers include musicians, poets, dancers, instrumentalists, dramatists and comedians.

Said Mtukudzi: "The idea for the solo festival came about when fans sought to listen to what really the individual artiste played by themselves. When we tried it at Pakare Paye we discovered that some of our local artistes were not comfortable performing on their own. It meant the artistes were not even confident to be who they are.

"We are changing this and building a well-rounded artiste who is competitive individually."

The festival patron is the internationally acclaimed sculptor, Dominic Benhura, and Mtukudzi is the artistic director while Shepherd Mutamba is first assistant director.

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