HIFA 2012 – Day 6

7 05 2012

Well, HIFA has come to an end for another year and yes, it’s a bit sad in a way. I really enjoy the excitement, the activity, the BUZZ of the place! In my opinion it was one of the best HIFAs I have seen. There were some really great acts, some very imaginative ones and one that was truly original; Leo. I only saw one show that was amateurish and that was the hip hop dance; Live Vibe. For sheer virtuosity my award goes to Jazz Tap Ensemble but then it’s difficult to compare with say, Derek Gripper. I did not see much theatre so I cannot make any comments there except to say that what I did see was good though not exactly uplifting!

My last day was pretty relaxed. Ary Morais was another Cape Verdian and by the end of it everyone was clapping along to the infectious beat. Local boy Blessing stole the show a bit on the drums but the music belonged to the band.

Dr. K-Sextet played some decidedly contemporary classical music then ended with a crowd pleasing Ravel’s Bolero that had the audience asking for more but the show had started late due to a previous church service.

Haari Kuusijarvi gave a very relaxed show of Finnish contemporary music on the accordion thanks to the Finnish Embassy in Lusaka. The final act of the day for me was the Dutch pop band Adlicious who got the crowd on their feet at the 7 Arts theatre. They don’t normally play in theatres but clubs and their music reflected it. They also normally have a backing group but it didn’t affect their singing and they entertained in style.

Notes on the equipment I used:

Nikon D90 with 18-105 F4-5.6 zoom
Velbon monopod – flash was mostly prohibited and I don’t like using it anyway.
Kingston 16GB class 4 SDD card
I use GIMP 2 for post processing but that was limited to the occasional cropping – I did not have time for the fancy stuff.

HIFA 2012 – Day 5

6 05 2012

A busy day it started with the National Ballet show which despite its name included a huge variety of styles; ballet, tap, jazz, hip-hop and probably some others that I’ve forgotten. Visually very appealing and the capacity crowd loved it.

Then some very different contemporary dance works by Shi Pratt and Tawanda Chabikwa which I frankly didn’t get followed by local theatre When Angels Weep about child trafficking in Zimbabwe. At the end of the show the British director, whom I know a little, asked me what I thought. “Good theatre but very depressing” I replied and then added; “and for all one knows probably true”. “Well” he replied, “it probably is as I know the writer did his research well”.  I was quite taken aback at the time but now I realise that I was being very naive. This sort of thing is prevalent elsewhere in the 3rd world, did I honestly expect it not to be happening here?

Lorna Kelly and Friends was well, not exactly a rock show. For some reason the soprano chose a lot of lullaby songs which not too surprisingly were soporific. The last composition was quite fun but I must have slept through the air-guitar number (if indeed there was one)!

24583 Little Creepy Wonders was children’s theatre by Italian Scarletine Teatro who brought us Manolibera a couple of years ago. Featuring balloons as ugly children.  It was mostly in Italian but the kids in the audience loved it as did a few adults.

The final show of the day was The Armed Man – a Mass for Peace by Karl Jenkins which was performed by a local choral group with guest artistes. A great way to end the day – well done guys!

HIFA – Day 4

5 05 2012

A very interesting day. A Handful of Keys with Ian von Memerty and Roelof Colyn was sheer entertainment; two pianos expertly played and homage paid and satired to the greats of piano from Fats Domino to Elton John. Very funny and quite risqué. A near capacity audience at the 7 Arts theatre loved it!

Maria de Barros and her band then entertained at the Global Stage in the main HIFA gardens complex. A Cape Verdian with a good band behind her she had the audience on its feet with a mixture of soul and a touch of reggae and well, all sorts! Not really my style of music but certainly fun.

My prize so far for sheer creativity goes to Leo put on by the German physical theatre company Circle of Eleven. Featuring just one actor in a 3 sided box which was then projected onto another screen rotate 90 degrees – just about anything becomes possible. It’s a bit difficult to see what’s going on in my photos as I was sitting on the right of the stage when it would have been better to sit in the middle. The show starts off funny, becomes a bit sad but in the end descends into a nightmare.

The next prize for shear difference goes to Dream Streets & Labyrinth performed by New York based Cornelius Dufallo. Even he failed to describe the music he plays. Mostly violin with his own backing instrumentals recorded on computer the music is played with some very different visuals projected onto a big screen behind him. I liked it enough to buy a CD but I suspect it will take some getting used to and am not sure how well it will work without the video. As one spectator said behind me at the end; “Not your average HIFA performance”. No, but it was great all the same! Bravo, it took some courage to put that on. See the next performance if you like exploring different music.

HIFA 2012 – Day 3

3 05 2012

A good day! I started with dance and music, then some more music and finally a play and they were all quality performances. If I had to chose a top show it would be the Jazz Tap Ensemble. Just awesome!!!

HIFA 2012 – Day 2

2 05 2012

Day two of HIFA 2012 kicked off warm and clear with lots of action, music and drama. Today I did not take in any dance although the Gri Eshe!  ensemble was billed under the dance section there was not much of it.

HIFA 2012 – Day 1

1 05 2012

HIFA (Harare International Festival of the Arts) kicked off today. This year was particularly difficult, not only due to the dire financial situation of the country and a lack of sponsors/partners, but also due to government interference. Anyway, I resumed my usual role of a photographer for the daily news-sheet and was given carte blanche today to get on

with it. I started with Big Boys Don’t Dance written and performed by Bradley and Ash Searle.

Big Boys Don’t Dance

The South African brothers play brothers whose bachelor party goes wrong with hilarious results. The upset a few stereotypes of male dancers along the way too.

But they certainly can dance!

I stayed at the same venue for Live Vibe, a mix of various hip-hop dance crews. Some were OK,  others not. I don’t mind hip-hop at top level but this was not that good.

Live Vibe – one of the better dances

Live Vibe – a local dance crew

Between the Lines was a collaboration between Tumbuka, a local dance company and Belgian based director Harold George.

Between the Lines

Between the Lines

I was a bit late getting to the recital hall where Nicky Crow and Kymia Kermani were playing contemporary classical music so had to go for the “atmosphere” type of photograph. Contemporary classical is not my forte, I suspect one has to be a bit musical to appreciate it but the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Nicola Crowe – the atmospheric shot!

Ricardo Coelho and Cristina Castro of Pe na Terra

Portuguese group Pe na Terra were sold out at the Global Stage and with good reason. Vibrant was the key word and they really put on a show of “jazzed up” Portuguese music.

Pe na Terra – all but the drummer

Lead singer Cristina Castro was extraordinarily charismatic and very photogenic to boot!

Pe na Terra

It is going to take a while for my ears to recover but I was very pleased to see that the lighting has been vastly improved from last year – I used to dread taking photos at this venue.