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Byo marches on amidst controversy

Admire Kudita

jaysArtists in Bulawayo are bracing themselves for yet another music festival on May 24 at Masina Sports Bar in Luveve Township.This follows the Bulawayo Culture Festival last month.
Billed Bulawayo Comes Alive, conceptually, the show can be likened to Clive Malunga’s Jenaguru Music Festival of yesteryear.
But this event is garnering as much hype as it collects its own dose of controversy and in show business, nothing sells better.
Bulawayo Comes Alive is the brainchild of Jeys Marabini who started the event in the 2000s. The last show was held in 2007 as the economic hardship in the country was beginning to bite.Preparations are moving full steam ahead for the show which features some of the region’s biggest names such as Marabini, Willis Wataffi, jazzman Hudson Simba, Black Umfolosi, Khuxxman, new boys Djembe Monks and Sandra Ndebele who is also slotted for a performance at the upcoming carnival to be hosted by the tourism ministry.
The Financial Gazette’s Weekend Gazette spoke to Marabini about the festival’s vision.
“We want to work together as artists owalapa (Bulawayo). We want collaborations. We are so much marginalised as artists here with South African artists coming here as well as Harare artists coming here working in our market without us being included. So we are doing this thing for ourselves,” said Marabini.
The event is set to have a live telecast in partnership with ZBC. Though the broadcaster owes songwriters who happen to be some of the festival’s featured  musicians, hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties for music played, the option for the musicians in this country when it comes to television broadcasting at present is just one. Desperate measures do seem indeed to impose desperate measures!
Another prickly issue is the now settled contention over the cancellation of the Macheso show which was slated for the same date as the scheduled home grown show. Tafadzwa Maridadi, of Maridadi Promotions, is quite possibly ruing the expense he incurred in doing the posters for the show, which was to be held at Macheso’ favourite haunt at the Bulawayo Amphitheatre.
It is however, a credit to Macheso, and besides that it makes good business sense to do his show on another date given the hoopla caused by the clash of dates. If music should do anything, it should engender a spirit of camaraderie amongst artists and society at large.
Personally, I have misgivings over how some commentators raise the tribal card when it comes to such business things. Lovemore Majavaina for example, was a nationally embraced artist. It’s actually ironic that he bemoaned the lack of support amongst his own who preferred ingoma ezeMzansi.
Jeys Marabini is betting his cards that his baby will be the game changer.