Imibala to bring down the Roof

Pachamama Project Productions will be bringing the first edition of their Imibala Arts Festival to Nelson Mandela Bay early next month.

Another addition to the city’s growing annual music festival line-up, Imibala, will take place at the Roof Garden Bar on April 1 to honour Freedom Month.

Afro-fusion musician and festival creator, Tarynne Swarts, said the event came about as a way of “celebrating cultural diversity”.

“The concept is for a multicultural festival, celebrating our colourful diversity and creating a platform for local artists to showcase their talent … it came from a gap in the city and a lack of opportunities for artists,” Swarts said.

The festival will be headlined by local musicians, who were finalists in the SA Indies Music Week, such as reggae band Skank and the Roots and Swarts herself.

Also included in the line-up are blues maestro Rob Thompson, hip-hop artist VJ Nakasa, Mariloe, Ethan Scheuble, MissJay and Zuu Cody.

Disk jockey Samantha “MissJay” Jennings, better known as MissJay, has also been making a name for herself on the local music scene for the past five years. She said she was looking forward to “just playing music” at the laid-back festival.

“I started back in 2011, but soon after the passing of Viv Bozack I sort of went underground, then started again last year at One Blood, now known as the One Africa Festival.

“From there on, I grew back into the music again. There’s a lot more reception towards the arts in the Bay again,” Jennings said.

“For me, every stage is an experience and I always bring a musical experience when I’m behind the decks.

“This in an opportunity to perform in front of a new audience and a chance for a new MissJay experience,” she said.

In conjunction with the Imibala Arts Festival, Pachamama Productions are also running a competition called the Imibala Talent Search, where upcoming singers and musicians may submit clips of their live performances to the Imibala Facebook page.

Swarts said she was excited about the competition and added the idea came from the fact that some performers might not have had opportunities to get their songs heard on a bigger platform.

“The competition is open to people between the ages of 16 and 45 and the results are based on 60% of the public vote and 40% of in-house judges.

“This was done because some artists might not have the fanbase others have,” she said.

Swarts said the prize for the winner would be the opportunity to perform at the actual festival and “be mentored by established musicians”.

“The Bay has a lot of talent that needs to be discovered and honed. It is our aim not only to give them a platform to perform but also to give them the opportunity to be mentored,” she said.

The main focus of the mentoring programme would be in the field of entrepreneurship, marketing and branding.

This would help musicians build their own brand and learn about the industry while also setting a foundation for successful businesses in the industry in future.

Swarts said they wanted to give Bay audiences and guests from outside an experience they would not forget, and hoped to make Imibala Arts Festival an annual event.

“We’d like to have it on yearly, incorporate more art, more musicians, attract people from outside and in turn assist in creating jobs and boosting the arts economy of the Bay,” Swarts said.

Pachamama Project Productions have partnered with the Mandela Bay Development Agency (MBDA), Above and Beyond Sound, Afree Cinema, Bay FM and Kingfisher FM.

The Imibala Arts Festival will run from 4pm to 10pm.

Early bird tickets are available at R70 at the Athenaeum in Belmont Terrace, Central. Tickets are also available at R100 at Computicket.

For more information on the competition and festival, contact Swarts on 063-031-5882 or e-mail:

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