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Sniper steal Hifa thunder

by Staff Reporter
12 May 2013 at 04:30hrs | Views
As the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa), dubbed the "longest night of the year", slowly fades into a distant memory, the reminiscences that the festival left in the minds of those in attendance are sure to last until the next edition.

Away from the food and drink, ambience and networking which the festival has come to be associated with, two genres of music shone head and shoulders above the rest.

The two, reggae/dancehall and hip-hop music, currently the fastest-growing genres in the country, got an unbelievable response from the not-so-easy-to-please Hifa audiences.

There is no doubt that the two genres have carved their place as permanent fixtures on the festival's programme for many years to come.

And it came as no surprise when reggae/dancehall music capped an otherwise dull evening last Sunday at the festival as Sniper Storm, Judgment Yard and Legendary sound turned on the energy and style at the beehive-like Coca-Cola Green arena.

Sniper, real name Donald Chirisa, was first on the stage at 10pm just after the main stage closing fireworks signalling the end of Mokoomba's spirited but largely unappreciated performance.

Also known as The General, Sniper announced his arrival on stage with the song Manumber, sending the thousands of Hifa-goers crammed in the venue into ecstasy. Clad in red army-like combat uniform, Sniper unleashed hit after hit from his rich six-album catalogue.

After Manumber, the father of three followed up with Masoja (Toraimari) Haasi Mwari, Voodoo, Sungura, Ndakabata Mic before turning his attention to his favourite constituency, the women, with Empress, Love Yemusoja and Kukuvarira Mukati.

A preserve of the best in the urban grooves genre or reggae/dancehall, the Coke-Green closing night slot was deservedly handed to the National Arts Merit Award-winning artiste.

And as The General, who had music lovers eating out of his palms, left the stage announcing "Hifa taivhara ne bhareta", no one suspected that the night was still in its infancy.

The MC, Tawonga Mafundikwa, known simply as TK, announced the arrival of selectors, Judgment Yard and Legendary Sound, who wasted no time.
It was Judgment Yard's Etherton Beenie and his DJ (Fleva) who took to the stage immediately, knelt on the stage and recited the Rastafarian prayer, much to the delight of thousands of their followers.

In line with the Bob Marley commemorations, which were at their peak this past weekend, DJ Fleva opened the party with Marley's all-time classic Iron Lion Zion, sending reggae fans into delirium.

The ZiFM Stereo DJs then invited Smylie (Power FM) and his team to join them on stage ' heating up the bash, which lasted until 1am.
Hifa music consultant Melody Zambuko, who watched the entire show, expressed satisfaction at the way the DJs and the fans had conducted themselves.

"We tightened security for this show because we were afraid the fans could turn the show into yesteryear sound house clashes, but I am happy to see that things have changed. People were only here to have fun," said Zambuko.

Staying with Hifa, the much-hyped MiCasa show which took place on Saturday, failed to live up to expectations and was compounded by the failure by Ammara Brown to play a single song from her late father's immensely popular catalogue.

Ammara, who is undoubtedly talented and has what it takes to scale dizzy heights, gyrated and wriggled on stage like Beyonce for her entire five-song slot, much to the chagrin of music fans who had expected a verse or two from her father's popular songs.

"The young lady fails to recognise the fact that she has not released material on the market and thus people have no grasp of her own music. We are not saying she should sing her father's music only but she should just remind us that she is her father's daughter," said Evans Muziwakhe, a "die-hard" Andy Brown fan, music lecturer and arts critic.

As she left the stage to a lukewarm applause, forgiven immediately by a crowd anticipating a top-notch "main" show ' the fans were in for a (mis)treat. MiCasa's performance lacked a high point, a wow factor and unfortunately continued in that dry state to its boring end.

And had it not been at Hifa, the group could have received the "Jah Prayzah treatment" where the artiste incurred the wrath of the crowd during one of his recent UK shows.

Special mention, however, goes to up-and-coming hip-hop artistes Tenh Diamond and Junior Brown.
Prior to their performance, the two had been billed as the next big thing in terms of Zimbabwean hip-hop and were under immense pressure given their age and relative lack of experience.

However, all that came to naught once the two hit the stage during their late night Wednesday slot.
Apart from delivering a five-star performance well beyond their years, the dynamic duo announced the debut of the genre onto the Hifa platform and united the audience with the diversity of their lyrics.

Among those hits were songs like Realness, which is a catchy duet in which the two announce their arrival to the rap game and parade their credentials.

Happy and Madrinks are but simple party anthems which had the audience dancing well beyond their one-hour slot and received an encore soon after.

The only downside of their performance and that of other local acts was that the industry still seems to be lacking in terms of stage work.

Their performance, like many at Hifa, lacked stage excitement as there was basically no choreography.

Nonetheless, duets by Victor Kunonga and Bheki Khoza, Busi Ncube and Edith WeUtonga, Prudence and Alexio, Selma and Nkulee, and the Roki-Mampi combination had crowds responding in different ways, but all the same proved to be noble ideas.

Source - Sunday Mail

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