A number of Southern African acts have in recent years performed in the UK, taking the opportunity to entertain the fairly sizeable expat community as well as those who appreciate the music and culture of the region. Now two of the region’s biggest names, Zimbabwean icon Oliver Mtukudzi and South African songbird Zahara, will be joining forces for two UK shows in April. It will be the first time ever that the two will share a stage in the UK.
Mtukudzi & his Black Spirits band will join Zahara and her 10-piece band for performances in London and Birmingham over the Easter Weekend. The first show is in London on Friday 3 April at the Oasis Banqueting Suite in Barking Essex. The second show takes place in Birmingham on Saturday 4 April at the Tower Ballroom.
Zahara started singing in her school’s choir at an early age and had a breakthrough in 2011 with the release of her debut album Loliwe, which went double platinum after just 17 days, selling over 100 000 copies in South Africa. The music video for her debut single, ‘Loliwe’, has eclipsed the 2 million views mark on YouTube. In 2013 she followed it up with a new album, Phendula. Zahara said of the upcoming tour: “I love the atmosphere of sharing the stage with Africa’s legend Oliver Mtukudzi. I always feel good playing alongside Tuku, I feel so much at home.”
Mtukudzi began performing in the 1970s with the Wagon Wheels, which also featured another Zimbabwean legend, Thomas Mapfumo. With countless albums under his belt, his husky voice has become the most recognised to emerge from Zimbabwe and he has earned a devoted following around the world. The evergreen Tuku said: “I watched Zahara perform on many occasions and she has always been impressive. She is one hell of a talent and UK people won’t be disappointed.”
The tour is organised by leading promoters Icons of Africa, who are known for staging successful African events in the UK. The company is promising one of the biggest ever Southern Africa gigs in the UK, with Zimbabweans, South Africans and many other nationalities expected to throng to both gigs. Zimbabwean radio personality Ezra Tshisa Sibanda from Icons of Africa said: “There is no better combination to entertain revelers over Easter than putting Southern African’s best acoustic guitarists, Tuku and Spinach [Zahara’s nickname], together on stage. It’s the battle of the acoustics!
“Zahara is truly one of Africa’s hidden treasures. The world needs to get acquainted with her beautiful music,” added Sibanda.
The countdown to arguably the year’s biggest African gig in the UK has begun. Get your ticket here before they sell out.