Africa Calling (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Africa Calling

Song, dance and drumming from Grassroots of Zimbabwe

Aside from drummers, dancers and phenomenal singers, at the centre of this understated extravaganza is a huge beating heart and a simple message of peace, love and unity.

Zimbabwe-based Grassroots tours schools, prisons and local communities with educational shows and, in Africa Calling, takes us on a journey through African identity, using traditional music and small scripted sketches that explore the idea of multiple countries and tribes melting together as one Africa.

Some of the sketches start a little obscurely and run on too long, leaving you hankering after more of their sublime voices or dancing, which is rich in flat-foot stomping and played off the drumbeats. But there is a point to the short scenes, locating each performance within its cultural context, introducing the notion of customs overlapping different countries but belonging to all of them.

As the final scene unfolds – a reminiscence about working in a South African mine, gumboot dancing with Sudanese, Zimbabweans and Zambians – you can feel the soul of what Grassroots is trying so urgently to capture.

Paradise in Augustine’s, 510 0022, until 27 Aug (not 13 & 20), 5.55pm, £10 (£8).

UK tour 2011

Africa Calling!

  • 3 stars

Grassroots are back following the success of their sell-out show at the Fringe 2011. Traditional Zimbabwean dance, music, rhythm and song - the greetings reaffirming friendship and warmth of community. In Africa everyone is almost related to someone, and meeting family is a cause for celebration! Grassroots brings a…

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