Friday, 10 August 2007

HUKWE ZAWOSE- A photo from the past- London 1996

Gogo traditional musician, Hukwe Zawose, was simply, a one off.
Gabriel Prokofiev the London musician who stage managed him sometimes, called his work Tanzania's classical music. That is something.
Zawose had his own unique style.
He made everything musical. His voice had a multitude of pitches, melodies and sounds. He played what is known around the world as Mbira. In Tanzania we call it Ilimba or Marimba. His nephew, Charles Zawose toured with him world wide in his last days. They are both dead. But recently the Zawose family band which includes Hukwe's beautiful children has been touring the UK.


I saw master Zawose many times.
I cannot forget a concert at London's Barbican, 1996. A cold night. Audience dressed in coats and gloves. Later we posed.
Les Rickford the Sierra Leone photographer did not do a bad job capturing that special moment. Me, on the left, happy to be with the outstanding man (then in his 50's);  with that famous gap on his teeth, just, happy.
Earlier the legendary musician had shared the stage with Mali's Salif Kaita and other great singers. Hukwe Zawose danced, sang, growled, crooned, bellowed, chanted, screamed, all mellow, all gleeful, aided by his crafty fingers on the Ilimba. His death seven years later was as shocking as it was saddening.
But you know what? Such people, says this photo, never ever die.

3 comments:

Jeff Msangi said...

Goosebumps to see Zawose and you sharing a light moment in those days.

freddy macha said...

think so? did you ever see the man?

Alan Hayman said...

Until you informed me Freddy, I had no idea that he had died. What a great loss to such profound and exquisitely beautiful traditional music. I once had the great honour of jamming with him, or was it his family, when they played at the Commonwealth Institute in London at the time that they recorded the 'Tanzania Yetu' album.