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Steve Dyer relives Mahube memories

Veteran musician and producer Steve Dyer says the new-look Mahube concept will bring to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) a greater and amazing music variance compared to what it was two decades ago.

By Kennedy Nyavaya

Steve Dyer
Steve Dyer

The collaborative effort which incorporates different artists from southern Africa to produce a fused sound made a lasting impression at the debut edition of the arts fete in 1999.

Mahube, which is Dyer’s brainchild, boasted of best artists in the region then and its early years fruitfully culminated in them winning a Kora award in 2003.

Dyer, however, believes the internet has linked Africa with other parts of the world faster and has efficiently enhanced “understanding of different musical genres across borders” which is a great leap for the art.

“Young musicians are hungry for new influences and for reshaping a world wherein they have a say in their future. There is a new and exciting energy,” he said.

Dyer also said cyberspace had played a very crucial role in boosting the new generation’s music through the interchanging of concepts, which was very hard back in the day.

“When the original Mahube was formed, there was very little exchange of musical ideas across borders in the southern African region,” he said.

“Having lived in Botswana and Zimbabwe, I developed long-lasting creative and social ties with many musicians. When I returned to South Africa, these ties remained.”

According to Dyer, the new trends fit perfectly with the initial Mahube vision of a richly diverse landscape of sound, energy and creativity that stretches across the southern part of the continent, with unique adaptations of traditional music.

At the official opening slated for May 2, Dyer will direct proceedings with his son, Bokani, and among the 11 award-winning musicians to feature will be Zimbabwe’s Hope Masike, Xixel Langa (Mozambique) and Mbuso Khoza alongside legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi.

“With Mahube, we aim to harness what is positive and place it in the historical continuum,” Dyer said.

“Musical trends shift over time, and we want to capture some of those movements.”

Dyer also lauded Hifa for maintaining its status as one of Africa’s “premier festivals with excellent curating” even under harsh socio-economic circumstances”.

“Hifa is a testament to the resilience of Zimbabwean people. I have no expectations for this year’s festival and just hope to be inspired by what I know will be worthy art,” he said.

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