Contributed Photo: The African a cappella quintet Nobuntu will perform at the David M. Player Center for the Arts in Safford on Nov. 16 to kick off the Gila Valley Arts Council’s new season.
Contributed Article/Courtesy Gila Valley Arts Council
SAFFORD – The Gila Valley Arts Council is proud to present directly from Zimbabwe, Africa, Nobuntu, on Wednesday, Nov. 16, starting at 7 p.m. at the David M. Player Center for the Arts. Nobuntu’s fifth U.S. tour, which kicked off in October, included their Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C. debut for a very enthusiastic audience.
Nobuntu, the female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe, has drawn international acclaim for its inventive performances that range from traditional Zimbabwean songs to Afro Jazz to Gospel. The ensemble’s concerts are performed with pure voices, augmented by minimalistic percussion, traditional instruments such as the Mbira (thumb piano), and organic, authentic dance movements.
The word Nobuntu is an African concept that values humbleness, love, unity, and family from a woman’s perspective. The ensemble represents a new generation of young African women singers who celebrate and preserve their culture, beauty, and heritage through art. The ensemble’s mission is the belief that music can be an important vehicle for change, one that transcends racial, tribal, religious, gender, and economic boundaries. Their program features traditional songs and original arrangements.
The Gila Valley Arts Council will also be sharing them with several local schools over a three-day residency with educational workshops on African singing and dancing, as well as on African culture.
Nobuntu was nominated for Best Musician of the Year at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards in London in 2015 and is currently a two-time winner for the Best Imbube Group at the Bulawayo Arts Awards 2017 and 2019. In the last few seasons, the quintet has performed at festivals and concert halls in Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and throughout the African continent. The ensemble was a huge critical success at “Trans-Vocal” in Frankfurt and “Voice Mania” in Vienna. Their first tour to Canada, in 2016, included performances in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver, and Victoria.
Back at home, Nobuntu holds a number of community initiatives, one of which is The Nobuntu Pad Bank, where they gather sanitary pads for young women in the arts in underprivileged communities. Nobuntu has released three recordings – Thinain in 2013, Ekhayain in 2016, and Obabes beMbube in 2018.
Tickets are currently on sale at Richards Music, 928-428-2442, online at www.saffordusd.com, or at the door. Adult ticket prices are only $10 or $15 and are all reserved seating. GVAC is proud to offer special prices for children and students for only $5.
The GVAC Fine Arts concert series is member supported. We graciously thank many of you, our individual donors who join as supporting members every year. Membership can range from as little as $25, but every dollar is spent on the cost of bringing the artists here to not only perform a concert but also to spend an extra day or two working with our school children with music workshops and school performances. This school residency and public performance project, Nobuntu, was made possible by special funding received from United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties. Additional support for our season series was received from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, WESTAF (The Western States Arts Federation), the National Endowment for the Arts, Freeport McMoRan Corporation, The Flinn Foundation, and the Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley. For additional information call Tom Green, GVAC President, at 928-428-2146.