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Woza Albert, Lira for MTN Bush Fire
Amid protests by some of the South African entertainers, the MTN Bushfire Festival is going ahead with booking more talent from this country. It has just been announced that the play Woza Albert, pop group Mango Groove, singing sensation Lira, and comedian Joey Rasdien, have all been added to the line up of the annual festival taking place in Swaziland next month.
When I was in Cape Town at the end of last month I got to meet South African-born jazz musician Adam Glasser. When we were talking, this topic came up. His views were that, at the end of the day, he has to feed his family. He emphasised that all those who are against performing in the poverty stricken nation are not going to help him with that. I totally understand where he’s coming from.
The addition of the above talent to the festival’s already impressive line up is testimony to the harmonica virtuso’s stance on this political issue. Here is more about the this new development:
Taking place in Swaziland’s Malkerns valley from 25 to 27 May 2012, this pioneering international arts and culture festival is upping the ante with a dynamite entertainment line-up headlined by artists such as Saul Williams, Ayo and Mi Casa.
This week, the MTN BUSHFIRE organisers confirmed the next round of acts that will be appearing on the main programme, ensuring audiences of three days filled with masterful music, theatre, art, dance, performance, craft and all-round good vibes.
They include top-flight South African acts such as classy soul singer-songwriter extraordinaire Lira; much-loved marabi/kwela-pop outfit Mango Groove; and stand-up comedian Joey Rasdien, who also starred in the movies Material and Bunny Chow.
An exciting addition is the newly formed group Jika Nelanga (Zulu for “sunflower”), consisting of legendary guitarist Steve Newman and his accomplished partner in the Aquarian Quartet, bass and oudtar player Greg Georgiades, plus master drummer Godfrey Mcgina and Ashish Joshi, playing tabla, dugi and darbuka. They will be joined by singers Zama Mbutho and Lu Dlamini in what is certain to be an unforgettable musical encounter.
From the neighbouring states, there’s no way you’ll be able to miss the Marionetas Gigantes de Mocambique – aka the Giant Puppets of Mozambique. This amazing, skyscraping act was born out of an intercultural exchange programme among lusophone (Portuguese-speaking) countries that was funded by the European Union.
Also from Mozambique, new-roots reggae/ragga/dancehall maestro Ras Haitrm will bring his Rastafari philosophy of unity, respect, peace and non-violence to Bushfire’s stages. Then there’s fiery Brazilian-Mozambican electro-percussive crossover trio Napalma, who are guaranteed to get the crowds on their feet and roaring for more.
Joining renowned Kaya FM DJ and world music aficionado Nicky B in burning up the decks will be top Swazi DJs such as Chuidy, Muscle, Cya, Mfundo, Mseto, Rekorder, Tendaness, Toxik and Swazi hip-hop outfit LIT – Labahambako in Transit – featuring KRTC.
MTN BUSHFIRE’s international line-up will also feature a special performance act from Japan – Sakaki Mango & Limba Train Sound System, who have just won Japan’s World Music Award. Their energetic melodies, sung in a mixture of Swahili and Kyushu Island dialect, are a powerful entanglement of musical traditions and modernisms overlapping and fitting together in an original Afro-Asian sound.
Audiences will also be treated to exceptional physical theatre from performers Mncedisi Shabangu and Hamilton Dlamini in the iconic play Woza Albert!, written by Mbongeni Ngema, Percy Mtwa and Barney Simon. The revival of this groundbreaking, world-renowned two-hander has enjoyed sold-out seasons at Johannesburg’s Market Theatre, and now Bushfire festival-goers can experience its raw power and insightful satire as well.
Standard and VIP tickets, full festival passes as well as one-day passes for the MTN BUSHFIRE International Festival of the Arts, are available at www.bushfire.co.sz . The website also includes information from Swazi. Travel on where to stay during the festival, from backpackers and campsites to chalets, B&Bs and hotels. Get the fire in your belly!
MTN BUSHFIRE wishes to thank the following partners: MTN, House on Fire, Young Heroes, Alliance Française, SNCAC, African Synergy and the Kingdom of Swaziland.
The line-up has shaped up pretty nicely. Are you going to the festival? How do you feel about local artists boycotting the festival? Please share your thoughts on the comments section below.