Pics – All fired up over the arts

2010-05-29 14:42

Swaziland’s annual Bushfire International Festival of the Arts

kicked off last night amid disappointment over the cancellation of Blk

Sonshine’s performance.

According to the festival’s director and founder, Jiggs Thorne, the

South African band was billed to appear alongside the Parlotones but cancelled

at the last minute due to “logistical problems.”

Thorne said: “It would not have been worth the band’s while to fly

them in two weeks early, before their forthcoming date at the festival in

Grahamstown just for one gig.”

One half of Blk Sonshine, Masauko Chipembere, resides in the US and

flies into Southern Africa for band duty. The other member Neo Muyanga lives in

Cape Town.

According to Chipembere, who spoke to us from New York, the hiccup

was caused when one of the sponsors, Putumayo Records, “cut their budget”. He

added: “Bushfire tried to hire us directly but the fee didn’t make sense with

all the travelling involved.”

Another highly anticipated act which was cancelled is the Moreira

Project, the Mozambican jazz band based in Cape Town. They couldn’t be reached

for comment.

The four-year-old festival takes place at the House of Fire in

Ezulwini Valley just outside Swaziland’s capital city Mbabane. It was moved from

its regular August date in order to align it with the 2010 Fifa World Cup in

South Africa and the organisers are this year expecting over 15?000


The event, which this year features 80 cultural workers and

artists, is lauded for making a critical contribution towards economic and

social development in Swaziland.

The festival’s organisers say they aim to create a forum of

cultural expression for artists from Swaziland and abroad.

Notable acts this year include afro-pop star Ringo (SA),

award-winning songstress Lira (SA) and afro-rockers the Blk Jks (SA).

They will be sharing the limelight with American poet Coleman

Barks, who explores the poetry of Sufi mystics.

Swazi favourites comprise, among others, Thobile Makhonyane who’s

finding exciting youthful ways of presenting traditional Swazi music. The

festival continues until tomorrow evening.


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