Most people visiting Zimbabwe for the first time after over a decade of economic meltdown and political chaos come bearing this negative image of a nation of barbarism, widely underdeveloped, a notion often pushed forward by biased media reports. The same counts for artists staging in the country for the first time, and during HIFA many artists could be heard debunking the widely spread myths.
For True Vibenation, an Australian based band with two local born twins, Verbaleyes and Native Wit and their childhood friend Klue, a New Zealander with Eritrean roots, HIFA served them with a platform to enjoy Harare. In an interview with Native Wit, he said, “The (HIFA) experience has been amazing; from the people to the staff to the music. We came not quite knowing what to expect and from the first day it surpassed all of our expectations! Zimbabweans know how to party.”
The trio which came with a huge international appraisal gave a refreshing hip hop, fused with different music influences among them afro-beat, jazz, dubstep, soul, and electronic music. Though the HIFA staff had to literary drag all tag bearing people from the Coca Cola Green stage to their first show which staged at the Zol Mainstage as the show was largely under subscribed, the group left a lasting impression. And their second performance at the Coca Cola Green was as a result fully packed.
Through setting themselves apart from the mainstream hip hop scene by incorporating instrumental music with traditional turntable beats, the trio made their performance memorable. Revellers could be seen jamming to the unique beats throughout the show.
Native Wit said performing in their home country for the first time “Is something we will never forget. We feel so lucky and blessed to have the opportunity and to get such an amazing response from the audience was really special. We had people young and old approaching us to let us know how much they enjoyed our shows.”
He said they plan to come back as often as they can if opportunity presents itself. Comparing the HIFA stage to many other platforms the trio has performed world over, Native Wit said, “HIFA is definitely up there with the other festivals we’ve played. We definitely got a chance to catch a lot. More of the extraordinary talent that spans across Africa, and the dance moves that people in the crowd were rocking too definitely is something else to be reckoned with!”
Having already played some horns live with Gran’mah from Mozambique, True Vibenation is open to collaborations with other artists they met at the festival. “We met a lot of other talented musicians and artists and though we were too busy to record anything during the festival we plan to use the internet to keep in touch and keep the international collaborations happening,” said Native Wit.
He added that, “Every single show we came across was memorable! A few highlights were Somi, Vee Mukarati, Hope Masike, Strings and Beats, M.anifest, Digitzz and of course Salif Keita.”
Since the debut of their first album, the Sunshower Phenomenon the trio has become known for their vibrant live shows in which they prove themselves masters of many styles. Their success story comes with a good reputation of brilliant live performances in their various tours that includes sold out shows at festivals including the Sydney Festival, Peats Ridge, Future Music, Secret Garden, Subsonic, Woodford and Changing Lanes. They have also played support slots with Jurassic 5, Chali 2na, Dead Prez, Foreign Beggars, DJ Kentaro, Horrorshow and Thundamentals, among others