Backed by bass guitar, marimba, guitar, drums and percussion, Masike's mbira, vocals and flawless stage presence lit up the third day at HIFA with a magical performance in the intimate amphitheatre of the Global Stage. Lithe, barefoot and enchanting, she displayed an almost childlike playfulness, and held every eye in the audience with a fierce magnetism – which was no small feat given the extraordinary quality of the musicians with which she shared the stage.
Her energy, and that of her bandmates, flowed seamlessly into the crowd, the tempo rising with each song. After one excited fan took to her feet to dance in front of the stage many followed suit, enthusiastically singing her lyrics back to her in a manner which must have raised the attention of anyone in the Craft Market around the small arena – and the jealousy of those who could not find a place inside. A 50-minute set passed all too soon, and left an excited audience baying for more.
Masike's family is from the small town of Bindura in the Mazowe Valley, north-east of Harare, though they subsequently moved to the Harare suburb of Highfields. She made her HIFA debut in 2010, having graduated from the Zimbabwe College of Music not long before. She had already made a name for herself with her self-titled album, 'Hope', and had been performing regularly at venues such as the Book Café at Fife Avenue shops.
With the release of her second album, 'Mbira, Love and Chocolate', she has truly arrived as a remarkable performer. She brings contemporary Southern African music to life, balancing tradition and experimentation to carry ancient rhythms effortlessly into the 21st century. Masike frees the mbira from its traditional strictures while staying true to her cultural roots. This time next year, she will be performing to thousands on HIFA’s Main Stage.Post published in: Arts