Global Discoveries Festival
Date 29 April 2005, 9pm Venue Café Deux Soleils, Commercial Drive, Vancouver
Reviewer John Jane
Feso’s musical heritage is deeply rooted in Zimbabwean tribal culture. Their music traditionally serves as a framework for social and spiritual awareness, manifested in its trance-like quality and converging rhythms.
The five-piece band, consisting of three Zimbabweans playing traditional acoustic instruments and a couple of local musicians helping out on soukous guitar and electric bass, performed a pair of 45-minute sets at the funky Café Deux Soleils as part of the Global Discoveries Festival this weekend.
began with only marimba player, Pasi Gunguwo, and drummer,
Kurai Mubaiwa, singing pure-form folk songs from their
homeland. After just a couple of numbers, Andrew Kim
(soukous guitar) and Brian Dyck (bass) joined
them on stage with the entire group moving seamlessly into an all-out
assault on the up-tempo Chimurenga rhythms with songs like Manhanga
Kutapira and the first set closing number, Asila Mali.
The band’s leader and spokesman, Pasi Gunguwo encouraged everyone in the room to get up on the floor and dance. The enthusiastic audience had obviously come out for a good time and were eager to oblige.
Chimurenga, from the Shona language, means "struggle." Legendary musician Thomas Mapfumo developed the revolutionary music form to personalize Zimbabwe's struggle to gain independence after former Prime Minister, Ian Smith’s unilateral declaration of independence (UDI).
I’m sure some of the show’s attendees might have drawn the comparison between Feso’s version of Chimurenga and Paul Simon’s landmark Afro-pop recording, “Graceland.”
Feso is a perfect festival band: they're talented musicians who take their distinctive form of music seriously. Gunguwo was stellar on vocals and the marimba. His easy-going style had a way of drawing his audience towards the band’s musical style.
© 2005 John Jane