Friday, May 31, 2013

The Gonarezhou Smorgasbord!

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Remember Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge?  It's been awhile since I posted on it. I got distracted by HIFA.
It was a wonderful distraction, but back to Chilo Gorge!
While at Chilo Gorge in Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe, we came across this wonderful wildebeest.

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This corner of Zimbabwe is just so incredibly lovely.

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And it's easy to spot the last remnants of the rainy season.

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Why, hello you impressive kudu, you!

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The mighty baobab.  The tree goes right to your soul and it's impossible to weary of seeing it.

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While driving, we came across this bull elephant.  He ignored us and ate.
And kept eating, and eating and eating!

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Then, holy moly, throw that vehicle in REVERSE right now because he charged our vehicle, and he charged it fast.

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My heart went through my toes and I must say, I was glad we were able to back up and back up fast.
This wasn't our only charge in Gonarezhou.  These were the most aggressive elephants I've come across in Zimbabwe.

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Monday, May 27, 2013

The Noisettes take on Harare!!!

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Saved the best for last on the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in 2013: THE NOISETTES!

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The London based band was AMAZING.

Here's the Noisettes performing "Wild Young Hearts" at HIFA:

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Um, awesome keyboardist.
With the background, it's straight up 1985. Word.

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Shingai Shoniwa opened the show in this dress which I failed to capture in its perfect over-the-top vibe.
Shoniwa noted one of her dreams was to play HIFA--possibly an ode to her family's Zimbabwe roots?

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I loved how she worked in many of the African fabrics into her stage outfits. 
 This fabric reminded me so much of west Africa.

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Several Zimbabwean performers joined the Noisettes on stage to perform "Ragtop Car" from the Noisettes' newest album.
They added in the mbira and ukulele and it was just stunning, almost an ode to bluegrass.

It was my favorite song performance in my favorite performance at HIFA this year. Here's some of how it sounded:

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Shoniwa was one of the most high energy performers I have ever seen. Basically, she was awesome. They were awesome.
One of the best live performances I've ever seen.

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I loved that even the backup singers had so much character!
(Possibly why the Noisettes toured with Lady Gaga? I hear she's got character and energy when she performs!)

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So much energy that she actually climbed this rafter and continued singing while upside down.
It was impressive. Her upside down voice? Still a bazillion times better than my normal voice.
The security guy kind of had a heart attack when she did it.

And if that wasn't enough, she decided to go into the crowd. So how does she do it? Not the traditional walk through or crowd surfing,
but she climbed on a guy's shoulders and directed him through the crowd. It was hilarious. Check it out:

Awesome. If you EVER have the chance, go, go, go see them live! You will not be disappointed.

For more information on the Noisettes.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Téada: An Ode to Ireland

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Ireland came to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) in Zimbabwe this year!!!

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Traditional Irish music group Téada rocked out!
(I mean, come on! They made flute playing look awesome...
I say that and I once won an award for playing the flute.*)

Check out how wonderful they sound:
(They brought two pairs of traditional dancers!)

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Two of the dancers.

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Apparently he just won accordion player of the year in Ireland!

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This made me laugh. Oh, how I love the Irish.

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A traditional broom dance was performed.

What is that you ask? Here's some of it, the footwork at the end is impressive:

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Oh, Ireland, you make dancing with a broom look awesome.
Well done, Téada, well done.

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I confess, the concert was amazing.
 It reminded me that it has been far too long since I've visited Ireland.

One more video:

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Another excellent show at HIFA!!

For more information on Téada!

*okay, I admit: the award was a band award in middle school, but that counts for something doesn't it?
 Like I should know a mean flute player when I see him, right? Right?

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Harlem + Harare Unite in Gospel Music!

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2013's Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) showcased a powerful gospel choir in its Songs of Inspiration show.

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Over 70 Zimbabweans' youthful voices raised in powerful praise with members of Harlem, New York City's Songs of Solomon Gospel Choir.

Take a look to see the just pure joy in their performance:

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It was amazing to hear so many lovely voices raised in such joy and praise.
(Here is Song of Solomon's director Pastor Chantel Wright leading the choir.)

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The Zimbabwean Gospel Ensemble and the Songs of Solomon members spent the week before their performance
touring parts of Harare and performing for different groups.

Here's my favorite performance.
Just listen to the power in this woman's voice before they break into "This Little Light of Mine."

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This Little Light of Mine!

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The Zimbabwean Gospel Ensemble's director Kundisai Mtero leading the group.

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HIFA is just amazing for the so many different types of performances, each leaving you amazed in different ways!

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Remember this guy?
 You should, he emceed last year's HIFA just as creatively unusual outfit as this one!

For more information on the show.
For more information on Songs of Solomon.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Dutch Jazz...and a Didgeridoo Guest Appearance!

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While at HIFA, I saw Holland's Mike del Ferro perform on the piano!

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Does this guy look familiar? He should! Blessing was one of the best parts of HIFA 2012...
He always seemed to be having so much fun performing at HIFA.

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The trio was wonderful, playing a range of jazz. It was beautiful.

Here they are playing a Duke Ellington piece:

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In a surprise, Chris Williams joined the trio!

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Chris Williams on the didgeridoo.

Here's what they sounded like:

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A parting shot of the lovely Blessing!

For more information on Mike del Ferro.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Seattle Artists and an Australian Didgeridoo!

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The best part about Zimbabwe's Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA!)? 
Seeing all the different types of artists!

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I had the chance to see Jacob Bain, Chris Williams, and Caleb Cunningham perform.

Here's a peek at their sound:

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Jacob Bain...does he look familiar? He should--this is his third visit to HIFA.

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He and Caleb Cunningham are from Seattle's Publish the Quest which performed the two previous years.

In a great testament to the many talented artists at HIFA, the three had only met the week before HIFA.
Here's something they come up with for the show:

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Australia's Chris Williams.

He plays the didgeridoo and the trumpet. What on earth is the didgeridoo you ask? I confess, I had no idea.
Here's what it sounds like---it was really awesome:

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This little old lady was the best fan of all time. The cutest dancer EVER. I want to be 85 and rocking out like her.

Don't believe me? Here's a sneak peek at her mad skills---she literally danced all over the place. So stinking cute.

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Caleb Cunningham.

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For some reason this shot of Jacob Bain made me laugh for its distortion.

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Here's a more respectable shot of him!

For more information on Jacob Bain & Caleb Cunningham's Publish the Quest.
For more information on Chris Williams.

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