Rise Kagona and the Jit Jive Band set for shows at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

This article is from 2013

Rise Kagona and the Jit Jive Band set for shows at 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Guitarist from Zimbabwean group The Bhundu Boys play with new band

Zimbabwean group The Bhundu Boys took the world music scene by storm in the 1980s, drawing praise from Elvis Costello and supporting Madonna at Wembley, but the subsequent story of fall-outs, death and trouble with the law is one of music’s sadder falls.

1. What is jit jive?
‘Jiti (as we spell it in Shona, our language) is a traditional dance music played by younger generations. Under the moonlight, boys and girls would beat the hand drums, play shakers, sing, clap hands and take turns on dancing. The Bhundu Boys transformed the same style with modern instruments.’

2. What was your highest point with The Bhundu Boys?
‘Coming out of Harare ghettos just five years after independence to become the first African band to conquer Europe and the west with our music, something we never thought could happen to people like us who grew up in Apartheid.’

3. What do you miss about it?
‘I miss the brotherhood. Although we had our differences, when it came to performances we were like children of the same family. Our music was so strong because we all contributed and shared ideas.’

4. Why did you move to Edinburgh to live?
‘Only God knows why I’m here. I would like to think I’m here on a mission. Something is keeping me going for a reason and it’s a secret that even I don’t know, but time will tell.’

5. You’ve got a new band together now?
‘Yes, although most Western musicians struggle to understand the African way of playing. They try to write down notes because that's the way they were taught. At the Fringe we will be playing new songs as well as old Bhundu Boys songs.’

Jazz Bar, 226 0000, Sat 10 & Wed 14 Aug, 10pm, £10 (£8).

Bhundu Boy Rise Kagona

Rise Kagona and the Jit Jive Band. Rise Kagona is a guitar hero too many on two continents! The BBC's Andy Kershaw cites him as having changed his life, and John Peel famously broke down in tears the first time he saw The Bhundu Boys perform live. In Zimbabwe, Rise transferred traditional Jiti rhythms to guitar, and his…