Report by Tinashe Sibanda for Newsday.
FORMER Matabeleland South Chibuku Road to Fame provincial winners Tanga Pasi represented Zimbabwe at the Africa Day festival in Johannesburg, South Africa on May 24 — 25.
Soon after their Johannesburg performance, Tanga Pasi are proceeding to yet another performance at the MTN Bushfire Festival in Swaziland on June 2.
“We are very excited to be performing at these high profile regional festivals and anticipate presenting our best performance to date and we are extremely grateful to Prohelvetica for sponsoring this trip,” Pamela Ngwenya of Tanga Pasi said.
Tanga Pasi meaning “Starting from Scratch” is a versatile band making Nu-Afro music which was formed in June 2009 when lead vocalist and songwriter Sinini Ngwenya gathered together a few friends in the dusty and remote rural areas around Plumtree.
The Plumtree-based outfit last year won the provincial round of the Chibuku Road to Fame competition in Gwanda. They recently toured KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.
Their debut album Ntolontolo (a long time ago) — makes an important contribution to Kalanga and Zimbabwean music and is available online from Amazon, itunes and emusic.
“Tanga Pasi came together around love for and enjoyment of music; simple as that. After returning from South Africa, we will commence work on our second album which we hope to complete by the end of the year,” Ngwenya said.
She added that they had composed many unrecorded songs and their mission now was to record them and share with the world.
Ngwenya said they were also hoping to perform at the upcoming Matabeleland South Festival in Gwanda and the Chimanimani Arts Festival in August.
“It is a huge challenge to come from a small town in Zimbabwe, like Plumtree, as it is virtually impossible to make a living from music performance or sales. Bands must start by performing at small beerhalls to undiscerning audiences who are not used to unconventional or unfamiliar musical forms and who are not accustomed to paying for live music,” she said.
Ngwenya said there was need for more opportunities for people from places like Plumtree to be exposed to live music and performance arts, at festivals like Harare International Festival Of Arts and the Bulawayo Culture Festival.
Band members include Blessing Shamu, Caleb Dube, FatsaniMendulo, Mandla Mpofu, Tangisani Ndebele, Pamela Ngwenya, Sinini Ngwenya and Mthakazelwa Nyathi.