Hudson gives rural artistes a chance

Langalakhe Mabena 

After crying foul over a lack of recognition, Jazz legend Simbarashe Hudson has come to the rescue, as he visited rural based and marginalised artistes in different villages scouting for talent.

The Jazz sensation got a grant under the Culture Fund programme, Creative Actions 2 which was funded by the European Union on an initiative dubbed “The Hudson Road Trip.”

The trip ran from 3 to 13 August.

The places which were visited are Plumtree, Mawabeni, Gwanda, Ntabazinduna, Mbembesi, Figtree, Lupane, Kezi, Tsholotsho and Dete.

More than 30 projects were captured in Nambya, Kalanga, isiXhosa, Tonga (Chitonga), isiNdebele and English.

Mgcini Nyoni who is the road trip manager said the concept of The Hudson Road Trip came about in recognition of the Jazz legend’s seniority in the arts sector as well as giving marginalised creatives a chance to fulfil their dreams.

“We embark on a trip to look for the unrecognised and talented artistes residing in the rural parts of Zimbabwe in Matabeleland region.

“Hudson is 61 years old and he has been a musician for many decades; teaching many guitarists and contributing to countless music projects over the decades. 

“On the trip, he took his rightful fatherly and grandfatherly role and went out to the grassroots to uplift musicians who either would have never thought of recording or didn’t have an idea of how to do music,” said Nyoni.

Despite managing to cover different parts of Matabeleland, Nyoni said they could have tapped deeper into more villages, but their budget didn’t allow such.

“It was a 10-day trip that took Hudson and a team of a recording engineer, photographer to these rural areas. It would have been ideal to spend at least three days in each location, but with a hired vehicle costing US$100 a day and working on a limited budget, it wasn’t possible. 

“However, in the areas we visited, we captured more than 30 projects in Nambya, Kalanga, isiXhosa, Tonga (Chitonga), isiNdebele and English, as we set up a permanent mobile recording studio that constantly offered recording and publishing opportunities to rural and other overlooked artistes.  

“Rural artistes don’t have access to recording studios and therefore have a more patent approach to the process of creating works of art.  They still practice art the old fashioned way of performance first and then recording (that is if they ever get an opportunity to record).

“But with the trip, we managed to teach them modern ways of composing music and we hope it will make a great improvement on their different career paths,” said Nyoni.

Meanwhile, The Hudson Road Trip album will be launched as part of Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo on 30 September at the National Gallery in Bulawayo. The show will run from 3 to 5pm.

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