Tuesday, August 15, 2006


He is here, he is performing and you just don’t know what you are missing.

Yes, the Lion of Zimbabwe, Thomas Tafirenyika “Mukanya” Mapfumo is in Toronto (the meeting place). He is here on the invitation of the organizers of the International AIDS Conference but he will also perform independently on Friday at the El Mocambo on College and Spadina in downtown TO.

But that is in the future. On Monday night he headlined the Strength of Africa Concert, which is part of the AIDS Conference’s side shows. I am not much of a music critique, but I will tell you this; the man had the several hundreds of revelers crammed at the small Harbourfront Theatre all dancing and singing along.

I know that many people had dismissed Mapfumo as a washed up old man. Well, the old man went ol’skool on Monday night and it was just fantastic.

You should have been there to witness the frenzy that followed after he hit the note “Zvandaive ndiri mwana mudiki, Mai vachandida…” Zimbabweans, Canadians and other people at the concert were soon dancing chinungu.

And that dancing girl, Loveness, she is just something!

But for someone resident in Toronto, it would be outright shameful if I were to finish this story without mentioning Soul Influence, the locally based Zimbabwean acapella troupe.

The girls are beautiful, soulful and their melodious voices just melted my heart. Lead singer, Dorothy Gettuba, not only does she claim ownership of the stage, she engages the audience with her teasing animation. The boys! Well, that bass, the tenors, what a fitting way to start off a concert that was rocking all the way until it ended and we had to go home reluctantly.

While Mapfumo is an experienced performer reclaiming his position at the top of African music, especially with his new album, Rise Up, there is a great future in Soul Influence. And I am glad to here that they have a new album in the works and possibly a DVD.

I will definitely be at El Mocambo on Friday night and I have purchased my copies of Mapfumo’s Rise Up and Soul Influence’s first album. If you haven’t bought yours, what are you waiting for?

TO READ MORE OF MY WRITING, PLEASE VISIT; www.torontosun.ca/News/Columnists/Madawo_Innocent/

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