The Standard Zimbabwe – Mbira princess Hope Masike on Friday put on a visual and aural spectacle as she launched her third album titled The Exorcism of a Spinster at Reps Theatre in Harare.
The launch was divided into three distinctive sets, each with its own dazzling costume. Masike took the concert-goers on a journey spanning her three albums as well as touching tributes to departed arts icons like Chiwoniso Maraire and Oliver Mtukudzi.
The director of ceremonies of the night, public relations practitioner Ray Mawerera, provided a smooth bridge between segments with his razor-sharp wit and affable charisma.
Guest artistes included storyteller Ignatius Mabasa, who had the crowd in stitches, jazz pianist Filbert Marowa, who joined Masike on stage for a jazzy number, emerging poet Fadzai Katanda and dancer Peter Lenso, who seemed to have left his bones at home.
The youthful band lived up to their first appearance on a grand stage while the backing vocalists, a first for Masike, justified this evolution within her band.
Masike cemented her unofficial role as a guardian of Zimbabwean arts, as she effortlessly demonstrated a number of local traditional dances such as chinyambera all interspersed with contemporary movements.
An impressive stage set-up featured a constantly moving video backdrop and well-sequenced lighting that morphed with each song in order to convey added emotion.
An appreciative audience sang along to most songs, while quite a number of fellow artists came out in support.
Co-producer and respected musician Mono Mukundi, radio personality Itai “Iyati” Takaendesa, guitar-strumming songbird Tariro neGitari, jazz musician Rute Mbangwa, child rights activist and musician Nyari Mashayamombe, as well as prolific author Shimmer Chinodya were in attendance alongside a number of dignitaries, including those from the diplomatic corps.
Songs on the new album include Gomba, Idenga, Kune Mumwe, Ndoitasei, Wateme Tsanga, Dreams of Dande, Zunde, Yenzera, The Exorcism of a Spinster, Tonanaira, Mbira Yangu and Nditumei – The Calling.
Masike’s publicist Nyasha Themba Dhliwayo told Standard Style that Masike’s music is informed by her personal life and that of other women.
“The album is about different stories of a typical African woman, from her dreams for the motherland, Africa; her battles and victories; her love life, to the societal expectations placed on her,” said Dhliwayo.
“She is the ray of ‘Hope’ for her music genre creating awareness and building appreciations of traditional Shona instruments like the ancestral Nhare and Nyunga Nyunga Mbira (yevadzimu), which in the past were believed to be associated with evil spirits and traditional rituals.”
Masike’s albums include Love, Mbira and Chocolate released in 2012, and her 2009 debut project, a self-titled album Hope.