Formed in November 2012 by lead singer Netsayi Chigwendere, the band has honed their own brand of afro-folk music, blending the traditions of Zimbabwean and American folk music to create a sound that is both rooted in the past, but also distinctly modern.
Chigwendere’s career as a musician has had several incarnations and she made an impact in the UK, most notably as the supporting act on a 40-date tour of Grammy Award-winning legends, Ladysmith Black Mambazo. In 2010, she returned home to Zimbabwe, where she put together the band, Black Pressure, with musicians Ray Mupfumira, Bright ‘Tyson’ Chisvo and Humphrey Domboka.
The talented band members are multi-instrumentalists, with Mupfumira playing mbira, bass guitar and marimba, and Domboka on electric guitar, bass guitar and marimbas.
Netsayi & Black Pressure have performed at the biggest stages in Harare including HIFA, the Shoko Festival and the October World Music Festival at the Book Café last year.
On being invited to perform at HIFA in 2012, the singer says: “Performing there was our doorway to performing in the USA because Manuel Bagorro brought artistic director Paola Prestini to see us and she booked us in New York.”
In New York, the band performed at the prestigious Brooklyn Academy of Music, earning a favourable review in the prestigious New York Times.
“It’s one of the best gigs we’ve had to date. We were part of this festival called the 21st Century Liederaband – a song-writing festival,” says Chigwendere. “It was very inspiring, featuring what they call ‘new music’ and we were the only band with a folk thing and the only African band.”
Other performances in New York included a live set at the National Public Radio studios, and a performance at the Original Music Workshop fundraiser for an audience that included U2 frontman Bono. Bono was impressed by their sound and raved: “Anarchic and joyous, thoughtful and mischievous, the voice of Netsayi is a rich and complex one…carrying all of the contradictions of a high-minded artist living, working in the low lands of a very real world.”
Tonight, Netsayi & Black Pressure perform their first show of 2014 from 8pm at Misty’s, which is fast-gaining a reputation as space for an intimate music experience.Post published in: Entertainment