Saturday, June 15, 2024
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MTN Bushfire: CollaboNation 2024 artists announced

After a month-long CollaboNation call process that saw 182 applications from over 15 African countries – as far as Cape Verde, Ethiopia, Kenya and Cameroon, as well as the Southern African region, MTN Bushfire is pleased to announce that this year’s CollaboNation artists will be Bholoja (Eswatini) X Stewart Sukuma (Mozambique).

Collabonation 2024 is proudly sponsored by MTN Eswatini, the main sponsor of the MTN Bushfire festival.

Bholoja: Icon of contemporary African music

Bholoja, born Mbongiseni Ngubane in the Kingdom of Eswatini, is considered one of the most important figures on the contemporary African music scene. With an infectious sense of humor and irrepressible optimism, Bholoja’s voice has become a mouthpiece for the underprivileged. Singing in Siswati and English, his distinctive Swazi Soul style blends Alternative Soul, Gospel, Jazz, Blues and traditional African rhythms.

A true innovator, Bholoja is a symbol of Eswatini’s native rhythms, melodies and culture. He was appointed to the Entertainment Committee in Eswatini by King Mswati III in 2008 and founded the Bholoja Arts Technology and Educational Foundation (BATEF) in 2010.

His powerful lyrics, combined with his striking, multi-colored voice, have earned him international recognition.

Some of his musical achievements include Best Rising African Artist in 2009 at the Visa Pour la Creation (organized by Culture France), Best Album Siswati 2010 (Swazi Soul I) at the South African Traditional Music Achievement Awards (SATMA Awards), Best Album 2012 (Swazi Soul I), Artist of the Year at the Swaziland Tihlabani Awards 2012. For three consecutive years, he won the award for Best Selling Swazi Artist and was ranked in Radio France International’s (RFI) Top Ten.

Stewart Sukuma: The voice that transforms Mozambique

Irreverent, versatile and multi-talented, Stewart Sukuma is one of Mozambique’s most important musicians, as well as being a published poet, TV presenter, humanitarian, social activist and environmental defender.

Sukuma combines traditional and contemporary Mozambican music with revolutionary instrumentals, creating an energetic, danceable and infectious sound, mixed with sweet but powerful melodies that carry a message of hope and renewal.

He has recorded and shared the stage with some of the biggest names in international music, such as Lee Ritenour, Mark Knopfler, Ivan Lins, Gilberto Gil, Luis Represas, João Gil, Paulo de Carvalho, Ana Moura, Hugh Masekela, Oliver Mtukudzi, Abdullah Ibrahim, Paulinho da Costa, Bonga and Lokua Kanza.

Throughout his 40-year career, he has performed all over the world and received numerous awards, having been decorated with the Medal of Arts and Letters by the President of Mozambique, the Official Degree of the Order of Merit of Infante D. Henrique by the President of Portugal and the Medal of the Legião Paranaense do Expedicionário by Brazil, in recognition of his contribution to the dissemination of cultural values around the world. The municipality of his hometown, Quelimane, awarded him the title of Honorary Citizen in 2022.

This exciting pairing reflects the aims of MTN Bushfire’s CollaboNation project, namely to connect and unite the region through a series of unique musical collaborations, supporting the weaving of Africa’s rich and diverse musical genres and creating links between industries and cultural networks.

CollaboNation: Uniting African artists across borders

“CollaboNation was born out of the Covid-19 pandemic as a response to the question: in this time of restrictions on travel and physical interactions, how can we support artistic brands and artistic mobility, while actively stimulating dynamic new work?” said Jiggs Thorne, Director of the globally acclaimed MTN Bushfire festival.

“MTN Bushfire decided to support collaborations because they have proven to be a success factor for African artists by cross-pollinating fan bases from different countries and genres, attracting media attention and thus exposing not only the immediate artists but also their national contemporaries to new markets and sub-markets in the region and potentially the world,” he added.

In addition, collaborations can break down cultural barriers, provide regional economic opportunities and help boost sustainable careers and creative businesses.

This is the second edition of the CollaboNation project, which invites artists from all over Africa to apply, giving them the opportunity to collaborate with each other by recording original and inspiring songs. Future editions of CollaboNation will be expanded with the aim of organizing collaborations between African artists and those from other continents, creating a truly global exchange of cultures and musical styles.

CollaboNation fans will be able to follow the creative journey of the artists as they come together to record the song, with intimate excerpts in the studio and short documentaries. The journey will culminate in a live performance by the artists on the internationally renowned stages of the MTN Bushfire international arts festival in Eswatini from May 31 to June 2, 2024. The music video for this collaboration will be released at a later date.

To follow this incredible collaborative journey with studio videos, artist reels and other audio and visual releases leading up to MTN Bushfire 2024, simply follow the website: “CollaboNation” on Facebook, Instagram and @CollaboNation_ on Twitter, as well as subscribing to the CollaboNation channel on YouTube.

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