Nobuntu brings the sounds of Zimbabwe to Middlebury – in person

The Middlebury Performing Arts series will present Nobuntu, the all-girl a cappella ensemble from Zimbabwe, in a live concert on Friday 18th February. Photo / Verner Puntigam

Nobuntu, the dazzling female a cappella quintet from Zimbabwe, will kick off the Spring 2022 season of the Middlebury Performing Arts Series on Friday February 18 at the Mahaney Arts Center (MAC). The MAC is pleased to announce that live and in-person events will resume for Middlebury College’s spring semester, with audiences welcome both on and off campus. Vaccinations and reminders (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and mandatory masks.

Nobuntu has gained international acclaim for his inventive performances ranging from traditional Mbube songs to Afro Jazz and Gospel. The ensemble’s concerts are performed with strong and pure voices, accompanied by minimalist percussion, traditional instruments such as the Mbira and authentic dance movements.

About the artists

Nobuntu is a happy quintet of young singers, instrumentalists and songwriters: Zanele Manhenga, Thandeka Moyo, Duduzile Sibanda, Heather Dube and Joyline Sibanda.

Nobuntu was nominated for Best Musician of the Year at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards in London in 2015, and twice won Best Group Imbube at the Bulawayo Arts Awards 2017 and 2019. In recent seasons the quintet have performed in festivals and concert halls in Italy, Austria, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic and throughout the African continent. The set was a huge critical success at “Trans-Vocal” in Frankfurt and “Voice Mania” in Vienna. Their first Canadian tour, in 2016, included performances in Toronto, Winnipeg, Vancouver and Victoria.

Back home, Nobuntu run a number of community initiatives, including The Nobuntu Pad Bank, where they collect sanitary pads for young women in the arts in disadvantaged communities. Nobuntu has released three recordings: “Thina” in 2013, “Ekhaya” in 2016 and “Obabes beMbube” in 2018. The group has made dozens of television and radio appearances across Africa and Europe to promote these recordings and the culture of their homeland.

The word Nobuntu is an African concept that values ​​humility, love, unity and family from a woman’s perspective. The ensemble represents a new generation of young African singers who celebrate and preserve their culture, beauty and heritage through art. The ensemble’s mission is the belief that music can be a powerful vehicle for change, one that transcends racial, tribal, religious, gender and economic boundaries.

Don’t miss this live performance at Robison Hall at the Mahaney Arts Center on Friday, February 18 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 for general public, $20 for Middlebury faculty/staff and alumni, $10 for youth and $5 for Middlebury College students. Vaccinations and reminders (or valid medical or religious exemptions) and mandatory masks. For tickets, health and safety protocols, and information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or visit middlebury.edu/arts.

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