WATCH: HCM Festival sets tone for festive mood…becomes first big event at ZITF, 17 years after Ringo, Mtukudzi gig

The Chronicle

Langalakhe Mabena, Siphakeme Mnindwa

It can be summarised as the show of the year in Bulawayo and judging from the vibes and positive energy that was shared at the Harris Continental Music (HCM) Festival at the ZITF Hall 4 on Sunday, one can safely say the festive mood was taken to another level by the gig.

 The hall was filled to the brim, with multitudes of revellers thronging the venue to witness fine acts from names such as South Africa’s DJ Tira, Dladla Mshunqisi, Master KG, Amaroto and locals, Mzoe 7, Jah Signal as well as the extraterrestrial Winky D. 

 This was the first show to be sold out at the ZITF, breaking the record of a gig that took place at the venue in 2005, when the late legendary Jazz muso Oliver Mtukudzi shared the stage with Mzansi’s Ringo Madlingozi.

 Some felt like the show was the return of the much-loved Kalawa Homecoming party that used to be held annually in December. Alas, it was organised by local music promoters Harris Hotels and DTL Records, and they have to be given a round of applause for staging such a well organised gig.

 Setting the tone was Mzoe 7 who churned out hit after hit from his catalogue. DJ Liz who is now being backed by fast-rising chanter and dancer Mtkay Ntwana, also put up an amazing set that left patrons hungry for more. So good were Mtkay Ntwana’s dancing skills that most who did not know him were convinced that he was one of the acts from South Africa as his Amapiano dance moves were on point. 

 Thereafter, it was time for locals to experience the Durban entertainment scene with Gqom kingpin Dladla Mshunqisi. Also known as Mgijimi, Dladla continued with the trend of dishing out hits, performing songs such as Omunye, Memeza, Ziwa Ngale, Uphetheni eSandleni and Inokushona Phansi. His stage antics saw revellers get into a frenzy as they tried to match his high energy while singing along to each and every song.

Winky D

 After the bar was set high, Jah Signal took the microphone from Dladla and proved that he deserved to be on the lineup with the greats that graced the stage. The Stonyeni hit-maker brought diversity and fire to the show as he rolled out a stellar performance which was complimented by good routine from his dances.

It’s not always planned for a flop to occur at such a huge event, but there were negatives that the promoters and sound engineers faced on the show, as after Jah Signal’s performance, there was a protest that was caused by technical glitches, for about 20 minutes.

 Apart from singing “Into oyenzayo siyayizonda”, the patrons have to be given credit for being well disciplined as they were patient for those minutes until the sound obstacle was rectified. Hyped by the return of the music, entering the stage to complement the frenzy and charismatic patrons were Amaroto at 11:30PM. They opened their act with their hit song Sithi Sithi. No doubt, the duo of Zuma and Reece Madlisa killed their set and they could not believe the feedback of singalongs from the patrons, who obviously had a strong background of Kwaito music.

 The duo was on stage for 30 good minutes of sweat, and at exactly midnight, Master KG took 

over the decks and mic. He did not drop the ball and kick-started his set with his collaborative track with local Nox Guni’s Melody track. While playing the song, he gave a shutout to Nox. The gesture was heartening as it showed that the two’s relationship was solid.

Dladla Mshunqisi performing with his dancers

 Three years down the line, Master KG’s song Jerusalema proved why it conquered the world as he repeated the song three times with fans asking for an encore.

 After Master KG’s set, there was a protest from fans who asked for Gafa, Winky D to come on stage. This was a few minutes before 2AM and the extraterrestrial was forced to come on stage by a special request and public demand. The moment the Gafa set his foot on stage marked the beginning of the show at 2AM, alas, not taking credit away from those who performed before him.

DJ Nospa

 Winky D proved to many why he calls himself “Gombwe ReMangoma” (music king) in Zimbabwe as he had the crowd eating from his palms. All the songs he sang, the patrons sang along to. He started his set with Kwaita Party, a sign that he was ready for business and started the party at 2AM. He sang hit songs such as MuGarden, Happy Again, Twenty-Five, Reply and closed the stage with Green Like Mi Garden, a remix to Maino and T-Pain’s smash hit All The Above.

 Winky D who was visibly enjoying the performance extended his hour-long performance with an extra 30 minutes and finished his set at 3:30am. After Winky D, the realest Makoya Bearing DJ Tira took to the stage and managed to bring back crowds who thought the show was over after Winky D.

 Malume as DJ Tira is affectionately called, delivered a throwback of Durban Kwaito, playing a couple of songs from Character, Professor, DJ Cyndo, as well as the people’s favourite Big Nuz.

 Credit has to be given to artistes including Mzoe 7, DJ Mzoe, DJ Liz, DJ Nospa, DJ Yona, Mufali and MTK Ntwana for showing that they deserve to be on such big stages as they rolled out exceptional music, and gave a message to locals to not sleep on local talent. And in support of local artistes, Jah Signal, after his performance, was seen being tipped by a patron in the audience for delivering a polished act. 

 The gig ended at exactly 5am, with people drunk as beer was  priced at US$2 per unit.

Article Source: The Chronicle

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