At last! Arriving in Harare was surprisingly easy. Zero hassles at the airport, all new and spiffy since I was last here. I was warmly greeted by Emely Chimanga, widow of the great mbira player Ephat Mujuru. A swift ride to the hotel, where I met an old musician friend, Lazarus Williams and we hooked up with the promoter who drove us to the rehearsal studio in Avondale.
As soon as I stepped into the room, I was almost overwhelmed by the sound, like the Blacks Unlimited of old: 4 mbiras, 2 super strong guitarists, 3 percussionists, brass, 2 keyboards, 4 excellent backing singer/dancers, a young drummer and bass player from the U.K.. Thomas, seated at the center was in strong voice, an the band just moved song to song, not a moment wasted. Inspiring.
The promoter said ticket sales for the big show on Saturday are going well. The stadium holds 20,000, and he wants the place full, a concert on par with the Independence celebration with Bob Marley in 1980, or the Graceland concert. Oliver Mutukudzi has joined the bill, making this gathering of legends. Younger bands will start the evening. The show will last from 8pm til 6am.
Meaning I had better get some rest. Thomas is also stirring up some news with his outspokenness. More on that tomorrow. Frankly, his fans would expect no less! I'll leave you with a few images...