The celebrations were sponsored by the artists themselves – each one giving freely of their time and talents to help raise funds to meet the enormous costs of re-building the popular venue which has supported them through the years. At a meeting after the close of Book Café in December 2011, Victor Kunonga was first in line to offer a free performance for the fund-raising effort, closely followed by Chiwoniso and many others. The ‘Artists Opening’ was their very real contribution to re-establishing their performance space.
The celebrations featured among others mbira legends Nyamasvisva neMawungira Enharira, reggae giants Transit Crew, upcoming superstar Alexio & Shades of Black and Zimbabwean guitarist Josh Meck & Mawonero with a few choice verses from the poet Mystic. Kunonga, described as Zimbabwe’s evergreen champion for peace, also graced the occasion.
There was also jazz featuring bassist Kelly Rusike, and Bernie Bismark with jazz vocalist Patience Musa, charismatic showman Ba Shupi & The A Team with Dizzy Don, original conscious reggae from Matthias Julius & X-Vybes, wild punk-mbira rockers Chikwata. Zimbabwe’s dancehall reggae firebrand Mic Inity offered a super-charged show in honour of the occasion. The legendary poet Albert Nyathi graced the stage and delivered an impromptu performance.
A dark cloud on the opening night was the news of the passing of African super-rocker Andy Brown. Andy had featured regularly at Book Cafe and Mannenberg, with exciting collaborations with other artists (Chiwoniso Maraire, Dudu Manhenga, Chikwata.263, and more). Out of respect, the internationally renowned ‘Rebel Woman, queen of Mbira-blues Chiwoniso Maraire did not perform as scheduled, and a minute of silence was observed in honour of Andy.Post published in: Arts