KUNZWANA # 1 - take off to a musical journey and trans-cultural collaboration

Kunzwana # 1 is a trans-cultural collaboration of both musical storytelling and freely improvised music, in an exciting encounter between seven outstanding Austrian and Zimbabwean musicians which will unfold across the Southern African region through Harare and Johannesburg this April/May, and move on to perform in Europe later in the year.

The tour starts with a visit by the Austrian musicians to the group Simonga from the remote village of Siachilaba deep in the Zambezi Valley, a vivid encounter with the traditional Ngoma Buntibe musical art form / Tonkunst / of the Tonga people, highlighted as a source of inspiration.

At the end of April the Austrian trio and the Zimbabwean quartet of musicians will meet in Harare for exchange, explorations and rehearsals, with a focus on Mbira- and Chimurenga-inspired contemporary music styles.

The interaction will result in the formation of the trans-cultural Kunzwana # 1 ensemble which aims to strike a balance between different styles and cultures. They will perform at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), and the Book Café in early May, and venues in South Africa. A number of further joint performances are already lined up at music festivals in Austria in July 2014.


The artists involved:

Hope MASIKE / ZIMBABWE - (vocals, mbira) – Awarded the Zimbabwe Arts Council’s National Arts Merit Award for ‘Outstanding Female Musician of 2012’, Hope Masike is one of Zimbabwe's most sensational mbira-players to emerge in this decade, unearthing new musical possibilities in mbira in this era. Her music is a together-blend of different music styles, with a fascinating repertoire ranging from ancient traditional mbira classics to jazz- driven instrumentals in irregular time, and funk. http://hopemasike.co.zw/

Isabelle DUTHOIT / FRANCE – (voice & clarinet) - Noted for her large range and distinctive voice, Isabelle “boasts an incredibly dense and impulsive stage performance” Over the last few years she has been working with a number of protagonists of the international abstract music scene, and frequently with Franz Hautzinger. www.concerts.fr/Biographie/isabelle-duthoit

Franz HAUTZINGER / AUSTRIA – A versatile, highly rated (quarter-tone) trumpet player described as “the reluctant reductionist” by ‘The Wire’, “…has developed his quarter-tone trumpet to a whole new kind of expression, in which he elicits bizarre sounds and noises. In his solo performance, he creates adventurous soundscapes that sound more like electronic music than a trumpet”. http://www.franzhautzinger.com/

Josh MECK / ZIMBABWE – (guitar/bass) – The Zimbabwean bass guitar and afro jazz prodigy has toured Africa and Europe widely, with Oliver Mutukudzi, Cde Fatso and Chabvondoka and the late great mbira artist Chiwoniso Maraire. "Dynamite comes in small packages. This is true for afro-jazz musician and guitarist Josh Meck, who set the Book Café alight with his dazzling guitar-playing skills." (The Herald); http://vimeo.com/32582035

Werner PUNTIGAM / AUSTRIA – (trombone, conch shell, visuals) – Based in Austria and Mozambique the multidisciplinary artist (pntgm EAR X EYE: music / visual artworks / interdisciplinary) has been called "the alchemist of the sounds“ for his wide musical range, and was honoured with the 'Upper Austrian Award 2013 for Art in the context of Intercultural Dialogue' for his focus on intercultural activities for many years. Since his first trip to Africa 1997 involved in the "Reflections on Tonga Music" project. http://m.landingscape.com/pntgm

Blessing ‘Bled’ CHIMANGA (drums) - A first-rate drummer open to experimentation and international collaboration, highly active on the Zimbabwe music scene with productions of ‘Here Come the Drums’ and others, supporting numerous Zimbabwean artists from jazz to hiphop, and collaborating with Italian musicians with three tours to Europe in the last few years. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbcVxUX1CAo

Orthnell ‘Mangoma’ MOYO (percussion) – A gifted percussionist who is much in demand in Harare, collaborating and supporting with many local and international artists and diverse music styles. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9xN_FWek_UU , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2FNq2uOh74

On the Austrian leg of the tour in July, the collaboration will be joined by Klaus HOLLINETZ / AT – (electro-acoustic compositions, digital and ambient soundscapes) – Hollinetz has for many years been involved in the encounter of different musical forms like Mbira music (“Mbirations”) and the Ngoma Buntibe music of the Tonga people (“Six Reflections” and others). He creates with digital sounds and musical structures a bridge to compositional processes and electro-acoustic music, way off the cliché of so-called world music. http://www.servus.at/pntgm/ph.htm

A number of other local musicians who have been involved in previous cultural exchanges like Toni Burger, Otto Lechner, Karl Ritter and others will be joining again.


Highlights of the Kunzwana # 1 tour


23/24th April    Workshop with the Ngoma buntibe group Simonga, Siachilaba, Zimbabwe

27th April    Workshop @ Amakhosi Cultural Centre,  Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
28-30th April    Workshop @ Zimbabwe College of Music, Harare, Zimbabwe

1 May        Harare International Festival for the Arts  HIFA / Global Stage, Harare, Zimbabwe

2 May        Opening of Tales of Resilience exhibition @ National Gallery, Harare, Zimbabwe

3 May        Concert @ Book Cafe, Harare, Zimbabwe

6 May        Concert @ Academy of Sound Engineering ASE / SABC, Johannesburg, SA

7 May        Workshop with MIAGI Youth Orchestra, Soweto / Joburg, SA

9 May         Concert @ Moyo's Zoo Lake, Johannesburg, SA

8 July          Concert @ Musikforum Viktring Festival, Klagenfurt, Austria

17 July        Concert @ Murszene OpenAir Festival, Graz, Austria

23 July        Concert @ opening of Festival Glatt&Verkehrt, Krems, Austria

& more concerts in the pipeline Check the website www.kunzwana.net



The name Kunzwana is adopted from the original project by the late Keith Goddard, broadly following his ideas and legacy. The Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association (AZFA) and Kunzwana Trust have been engaged in cultural exchange projects between Austria and Zimbabwe over the past 20 years, involving Zimbabwean celebrities like Thomas Mapfumo, Chiwoniso Maraire and Oliver Mtukudzi, but also promoting the generally unknown musical art form / Tonkunst / of the Valley Tonga by featuring the group Simonga from remote Siachilaba, both within Zimbabwe and abroad.

Parallel and interwoven with this musical journey and exchange runs the ‘Tales of Resilience’ project as another collaboration between Austrian and Zimbabwean artists, researching and celebrating the cultural resilience of Tonga and Mbira music and the cultural diversity of Zimbabwe. This project will present its outcome in an arts installation in the context of HIFA at the National Gallery in Harare, alongside a photography exhibition created by Simonga women (Binga) under the guidance of Calvin Dondo and Annie Mpalume (Zimbabwe). The artists collaborating for the Tales of Resilience project are: Tina Auer, Tim Boykett and Andreas Mayrhofer from Time's Up (Austria). http://www.timesup.org/ToR



Austria-Zimbabwe Friendship Association, Linz, Austria, in collaboration with Time's Up (Linz), Pamberi Trust (Harare), African Synergy Trust (Johannesburg); Basilwizi Trust (Bulawayo); Amakhosi Cultural Centre (Bulawayo); National Gallery of Zimbabwe (Harare).



The Kunzwana #1 Tour is supported by the Austrian Embassy (Pretoria); Austrian Federal Chancellery; Upper Austria Province; Linzkultur.


Contact / more INFO

AZFA / Peter Kuthan, argezim@silverserver.at

Pamberi Trust, Penny Yon, newbookcafe.harare@gmail.com