Projects | Commissioning Fund | Professional Development
Netsayi Chigwendere is using her award
to develop a unique sound, transposing the haunting melodies
of traditional Zimbabwean mbira music to the grand piano, played
by jazz pianist Zoe Rahman, her key collaborator in the Women
in Music commission. Netsayi said: "Although Zoe and I
have enjoyed working together before, we've never had the chance
to develop a sound that combines our unique experience, cultural
heritages and passion for the same message."
The award has had a profound effect on
Netasyi's approach to her work. "Having money to pay musicians
to rehearse and record is a learning curve. It teaches you how
to go forward and it's psychologically as well as practically
useful". It's enabled her to think about her professional
relationship with musicians and empowered her to hire and fire.
Netsayi's music describes a personal journey
towards reconciling the dual identities of a Shona girl born
in London, to parents exiled from Southern Rhodesia, who then
grew up in Zimbabwe and returned to England open to many cultural
influences. Chigwendere uses her beautiful music as a powerful
message for peace and reconciliation, questioning the status
Netsayi has an amazing knack of combining
sparkling artistry and maximising chance meetings with luminaries.
She's played live on BBC Radio, has performed at the London Jazz
Festival, the Spitz, the ICA, the Royal Festival Hall and at
WOMAD. She recently worked with Nitin Sahwney on the Bristol
Aftershock Project and, as if this wasn't enough, sings backing-vocals
with Spirit Talk Mbira and US-based Afro-funksters, Panjea.
She's also performing and co-writing for Soothsayers' (Idris
Rahman/Rob Hopcraft) second album and works with Germany-based
Zimbabweans, Migrant Souls.
Netsayi Chigwendere's next UK date is a
free lunchtime concert on Saturday 11 October at the Royal Festival
See more on Netsayi on BBC
Radio 3's "World on your street" site - together
with sound clip of her moving "Refugee Song"