Manitoba Live Music Event

Black Arts Fest ** POSTPONED**

Sunday, Feb 2, 2020 at 7:15pm
Thomas Mapfumo & Blacks Unlimited
Ismaila Alfa
Guerillas of Soul
West End Cultural Centre
586 Ellice Avenue, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Black Arts Fest
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World Music


Black Arts Fest Concert Series & West End Cultural Centre present an evening with globalFest Artist Award winner Thomas Mapfumo. Together with The Blacks Unlimited, Mapfumo is a force to be reckoned with; his gruff baritone voice is an instrument as lyrical or as fierce as he wants it to be. It’s a voice that can be doubted. His singing/chanting cries of protest are backed by the music that can only be heard as richly joyful. Though modifying his style from traditional African to more contemporary, one can hear the influence of reggae and more readiness to incorporate the “high life” jazz sounds of African pop music. Mapfumo is a man of joy in a world of sorrow and his electric and continually evolving African music is as infectious to dance to as its lyrics are intellectually challenging.

With special Winnipeg musical guests, Leonard Sumnerr, Ismaila Alfa, Guerrillas of Soulof Soul. Pre-show intimate Meet & Greet with Mapfumo & Blacks Unlimited!

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Thomas Mapfumo, ‘The Lion of Zimbabwe’, is one of Africa’s greatest and most important composers and bandleaders and one of the greatest, most iconic musicians living in America. Known for merging ancient African traditions with modern styles, Mapfumo’s courageous, politically charged music he created and popularized called chimurenga (music genre that blends traditional Shona mbira music with modern electric instruments and lyrics characterized by social and political commentary) has changed the landscape of African music forever, morphing him and his band, The Blacks Unlimited, into a symbol for the struggle against injustice. His music alongside a fierce and proud independence continues to inspire around the world.

Mapfumo has played The World Music Festival at the Concord Music Hall (Chicago), Brave: The Festival of Risk & Failure (Toronto) and WOMAD (UK). He’s shared a stage with everyone from Winky D, Johnny Clegg, Hugh Masekela, Oliver Mtukudzi, Bob Marley & The Wailers to Bonnie Raitt and the Kronos Quartet. Afropop-influenced indie bands like Vampire Weekend, Franz Ferdinand, and Tune-Yards admire his sophisticated arrangements. And equally hip record lables, such as Analog Africa, expend great effort to unearth early “forgotten” recordings connected to him.

He was inducted into the Afropop Hall of Fame in 2012 and performed at the historic Carnegie Hall in New York City because of his historical contributions to the fight of freedom and social justice in Zimbabwe. More recently, he was honored with the 2018 globalFEST Artist Award in NYC. Mapfumo holds an Honorary Doctorate in Music from Ohio University.

April 2018, Mapfumo returned to Zimbabwe for the first time since 2005 to perform a concert that saw over 20,000 fans of three generations turn out to welcome him home.

Ismaila Alfa is best known as the host of Up To Speed on CBC Radio One, is also pioneer in the Winnipeg hip hop scene, where he continues to be major music force. Born in Nigeria and a world traveller, Ismaila’s global experiences help weave music created for a big world. Having toured Canada and the United States as an artist, he’s opened for The Roots and Wu-Tang. When he’s not on stage tangling words, he’s interviewing many a notable people, including Anderson Cooper, Valentina Kuryliw, and Justin Trudea.

Guerrillas of Soul creates a compelling blend of folk, funk, indie-rock, and Afrobeat- underpinned by jazz and blues - that will inspire the hearts in most. This music is rooted in a love of human stories that define us all. The Guerrillas of Soul casts these stories through their music, as the band’s name suggests, with a worldwide concern for equality and social justice. TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival & Rainbow Trout performers, they’ve opened for Lee Fields & The Expressions and were invited by Sol Kanee Lecture to give the musical tribute to Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela.



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