Monday, 28 April 2014

Stiff Contest for ZAA International music award

By Arts Correspondent


LAST year the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) launched its International Music Artiste award category. The inaugural honour in 2013 was scooped by British-based Zimbabwean producer Rodney Rymez Hwingwiri, who wrote his own unique piece of history when he was awarded gold and silver plaques after two of his productions reached number one and four respectively on the UK charts.


The award has proved very popular with the public, who have participated enthusiastically in nominating and voting for their favourite artistes. ZAA specifically made this award an international one because Zimbabweanmusic has entertained audiences around the world for generations now.


Indeed, it’s been a long musical journey since ‘Hurricane Hugo’ Thomas Mapfumo whipped across the United States in a blast of mbira-fuelled Chimurenga music in the 1980s. The Bhundu Boys picked up the mantle in the 1990s, rocking audiences across the UK with their Jiti sound and becoming a household name on the British cultural scene.


And as the 20th century gave way to the 21st, Tuku emerged as our foremost musical ambassador in the 2000s, taking us to world-famous platforms like the WOMAD festival and jamming alongside the best of World Music stars.


But following in the footsteps of these legends of song and dance, a younger generation of artistes has emergedand it’s not allowing national borders to hem it in. Showcasing their musical ingenuity and creativity, these emerging cultural ambassadors are flying the Zimbabwean flag high, and it is only fitting that they’re given their due recognition.


This year’s nominees are mbira maestro and songstress Hope Masike, trailblazing singer and hitmaker Jah Prayzah, Afro-fusion band Mokoomba, UK-based music royalty Aaron Manatsa & the New Green Arrows, and hip-hop duo Tehn Diamond and Junior Brown.


The winner will be unveiled at the ZAA gala dinner, to be held on 10 May at the plush Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London. Over the next few days, we will profile each of these acts.


We kick off with the Princess of Mbira…

Hope Masike


Affectionately known as the “Princess of Mbira”, Hope Masike has become the modern day custodian of the revered mbira musical instrument that has provided thecultural soundtrack to the Shona people of Zimbabwe going  back to antiquity.


Peeved by colonial prejudices that stereotyped the mbira as pagan or unchristian, Masike embarked on a rehabilitative mission by taking into Jazz and lately, gospel music as well.


The fast-rising mbira maestro, singer, songwriter, artist and fashion designer has etched herself onto the consciousness of music fans at home and abroad as a serious talent. A graduate of the Zimbabwe College of Music, Masike already boasts two studio albums, ‘Hope’ and ‘Mbira Love & Chocolate’.


Released in 2009, Hope saw Masike dig deep into her roots to find her own sound as a portrait of the highs and lows of her life in Zimbabwe and her position in it. Her songs on the album were filled with richness that inspired and revived the soul.


‘Mbira, Love and Chocolate’ came tree years later in2012. This diverse album was recorded in Norway with Norwegian artists: bassist Rino Johannessen and Drummer Ole Pette Chyile; and in Zimbabwe with renowned Zimbabwean producer Clive 'Mono' Mukundu.


Watch Because of You:


2013 was a particularly rewarding year for Masike. Sheperformed at the world-famous Harare InternationalFestival of the Arts (HIFA) in a well-received regional collaboration with famous young South African pianist Bokani Dyer and Mozambican saxophonist Muzila Mulembe. They went on tour to AZGO Festival inMaputo and Bushfire Festival in Swaziland this May.


She crowned the year’s achievements by being awarded the NAMA award for ‘Outstanding Female Artist 2012’ and rounded it off by going on tour, playing gigs inFrance, Norway, Denmark, and UK, before returning formore shows in South Africa and Zambia.


The collaborative album deal she struck with French DJ Oil and South Africa’s Bokani Dyer will thrust her firmly into the international spotlight. “I believe it shall earn me the much needed international standards since he is the one who is going to mix and master the project in France,” she said on the sidelines of HIFA last year.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

What to wear to the awards ceremony

With only 3 weeks to the awards ceremony (10th May 2014), a lot of our guests are probably wondering what to wear to the event. The dress code is black-tie which means glamorous dresses for the ladies and smart suits for the men. It will be great to se everyone conform to the expectations and show the world #ZimbabweansKillingIt 

For the ladies... 

This long dress is a great colour and would look good on most skin tones and body shapes. 

You can make a short dress look glam by  teaming them up with great accessories and a good hairdo. It will be easy to move around in especially for the after party cause you can easily get on the dance floor and show your moves 

For that WOW factor, this look will most definitely dazzle and make you the centre of attention. 

For the guys, with a classic tuxedo jacket, trousers and a bow tie you can never go wrong. Add a colour bow tie and pocket square for a outfit with a difference. Why not wear a velvet blazer instead for that suave look. A few ideas are below. 

Follow a great blogger, the perfect gentleman @baisonkugz on Instagram for some great outfit ideas 

Let's all come together and celebrate Zimbabweans on the 10th of May in London and put Zim on the map!

***Photo credits go out to ****

ZAA 2014 Celebrating Zim Independence

The Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) have announced a special Independence discount on tickets to this year's event to be held on the 10th of May at the prestigious Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London.

From the 17th to the 21st of April, tickets will be available for £79.95, a generous £10 cheaper than the going price. ZAA executive director Brian Nyabunze said the special discount was a gesture of goodwill to the community in commemoration of Zimbabwe's 34th independence anniversary, which has this year coincided with the Easter holiday.

"We thought it would be good to extend this gesture of generosity to our community on the occasion of our country's independence. The awards are almost here and we've pulled out all the stops to ensure a great experience to all our guests on the night," Nyabunze said.

Tickets are available on the ZAA website. This year the organisers have introduced a world class ticketing system that allows guests to choose and pay for their seats entirely online.

Sponsored by the new money transfer company ZimPay, this year's awards will give special  honour to the achievements of young people. An exciting lineup of performers has also been put together to entertain guests.

Now in their fourth year, ZAA celebrate the achievements of the Zimbabwean community in the UK.