Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A 60-year conversation with the guitar

Coherence and consistency - such are the outward features witnessed by the many who have followed the career of legendary Mozambique musician Xidiminguana over the last 60 years. 
As a way of honouring his artistic contribution, the Fernando Leite Couto Foundation is presenting an interview with the artist from 6.00 pm to 8.00 pm this Friday in Maputo.
clubofmozambiqueThe conversation with Xidiminguana will be interspersed with performances by him, and aims to give the audience a new take on the life story of this giant of Mozambican music.
Xidiminguana will be 79 next month, and is highly regarded for his guitar playing, which goes far beyond what might be called the traditional way of playing the instrument. 
Xidiminguana treats the guitar as if it were a companion, someone able to understand him. (According to the artist, his guitar is so intelligent it can not only say his name, but also recite his address and phone number.) As a result, his music often seems like a melodic conversation with the instrument. Anyone who has not had the privilege of attending one of his performances is much the poorer for it, but his fans are lucky in that, even as he gets older, Xidiminguana never misses an opportunity to bestow yet another fascinating performance on them.Another trait often attributed to him is his humility. Famous as he is, he still frequents the suburban bars where, in his relaxed way and inimitable manner, he regales his audience with fantastic stories and reminiscences.
But those who think that Xidiminguana shines alone are mistaken. The entire Honwana family are a part of his success story. His children and grandchildren ensure the technical quality of his sound, and keep his guitars and equipment in good repair. Bernardo Domingos, a noted guitar player in his own right and undoubtedly a big name both present and future in Mozambican music, is his son. Hopefully, the patriarch’s legacy will pass on to yet more generations through Domingos.
Born in Bilene, Gaza province, on August 3, 1936, Xidiminguana is one of the most celebrated creators and exponents of the Marrabenta style, the urban music popular in the south of the country.His name inevitably comes up whenever Marrabenta music is discussed, and his central presence in the genre is guaranteed by the innovation and freshness his song arrangements always display.Xidiminguana has penned numerous compositions, of which 'Delefina ni Kombela Rivhalelo' and 'Tiba Bem' are perhaps the most popular. Though he has been performing for many years, his first recording was made only at the Radio Club of Mozambique in 1974. He now has six albums to his name.

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