They want their music to flow like water. That’s why they named their group after a river, says Thomeki Dube, a founding member of Black Umfolosi. On March 24 the world renowned acapella and dance group will be performing in Revelstoke.
“We are pretty excited because we have never really had a group come from Africa to perform in Revelstoke before,” says Miriam Manley, the Revelstoke Arts Council’s executive director. “I came across them a few years ago and then the chair of my board saw them at a music festival and thought they were amazing.”
After travelling across the country, the Zimbabwe-based group say they are looking forward to performing at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre.
It’s not a typical gig for the group who have performed in some of the biggest theatres in the world, but Dube said it provides a greater opportunity for the artists to connect with audience members.
“It’s different,” says Dube. “But we feel the warmth of our audiences around the world. People enjoy and love what we are sharing with them, and they identify with Black Umfolosi because of it. There’s a lot of sharing and interaction involved in our performance.”
Black Umfolosi was started at a boarding school 36 years ago by a group of friends.
The young adults saw their peers gravitating towards the “breakdance culture” and felt that if they didn’t preserve their traditional song and dance then future generations would never know it existed.
The group takes its name from the Umfolosi-Umnaya River in South Africa where they have traced their ancestral heritage to.
Dube says he can’t believe they are still together and touring the world, but it is a testament to the power of their performance art. He said he is humbled and privileged by the opportunity to share his culture with others.
“The group has been together for 36 years,” says Dube. “It’s been quite an amazing journey of friends from that time to now. And the group is still going strong traveling across the world and experiencing different cultures and exchanging it with different ones.”
Manley says the event will be open to all ages and hopes to see families in attendance.
The show is slated to take place on March 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre.
Tickets are 20$ for adults and 10$ for children.