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Vumba Jazz Festival on the cards



THE serene environs and mountainous landscape of Vumba as well as the cool weather will perhaps add to what might already have been a must-attend music extravaganza.

Like most parts of the Eastern Highlands, Vumba is a beautiful place especially around the pristine botanical gardens where the flora and fauna are at their alluring best.

And it is for this reason that a new music extravaganza will be birthed.

Aptly titled Vumba Jazz Festival, the festival is the brainchild of veteran drummer — Sam Mataure (pictured) — who for years has been organising similar fests in Victoria Falls and Harare.

While the Vumba Jazz Festival launches on 2 October, the calculation is that the Covid-19 regulations will still be in place by then, hence attendance is strictly by invitation.

“This is not a gig but a launch of the festival. The real event is slated for next year, this is just a small launch so that next year people will not be surprised to see or hear about the festival.

“It’s by invite and the target market for the invites is the Mutare business community. We have started sending out proposals to companies for sponsorship,” Mataure, who doubles as Chimurenga music maestro Thomas Mapfumo’s manager, said.

“We are going to be strict on the numbers that attend the launch in accordance with Covid-19 regulations. The venue is Vumba Botanical Gardens as we promote local tourism.”

On the bill are performances by Mbare Trio, Band Mutare, Abbie Mayor Trio, Tawanda Mapanda, Eden Langeveldt, Vuyo Brown, Sims Chimombe, Mission Impossible Trio as well as Carlo Jazz Trio.

“Most artists are based in Mutare except for Band Mutare. The aim is to bring in foreign artistes next year of which I am targeting friends of mine,” he said.

On the line-up will be solo acts and trios.

Asked why he took the event to Vumba, Mataure said there is plenty to enjoy and like in the town.

“Vumba is a holiday resort destination so next year our date will be over a public holiday. We do not want guests to visit for just the music, but also enjoy the hospitality there.

“Over the years, our focus had been on doing events in Harare but I feel it’s time to go back home and do our evens there as well. Vumba and Nyanga are very beautiful places that our visiting artists will be able to enjoy not just Harare.

“Look at Victoria Falls Carnival, not even the Harare International Festival of the Arts can come close to that,” he said.

Asked why jazz music in Zimbabwe has not been able to grow audiences, Mataure said it was because some find the genre complicated for the ear.

“Jazz is music just like any other type of music, but unfortunately it doesn’t have the numbers and sometimes it can be complicated for the ear.  So you find that most jazz festivals have non-jazz performing artistes on the line-up to help get the numbers,” he said.

Mataure has long been associated with some leading regional jazz connoisseurs like the late Hugh Masekela, Jonas Gwangwa, Louis Mhlanga, Steve Dyer, Miriam Mama Africa Makeba and Dorothy Masuka, to mention but a few.

He has been part of the successful careers of musicians that include Oliver Mtukudzi, Victor Kunonga, Jazz Invitation and Shingisai Suluma through playing drums.

He says Jethro Shasha and music producer Bothwell Nyamhondera are his role models.

The 52-year-old Mataure suffered a mild stroke last year while visiting the United States where he was managing Mapfumo’s music business. The stroke was caused by a heart problem and he is recovering although it robbed him of a few years on stage.

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