Nobuntu, an internationally acclaimed female a cappella quartet from Zimbabwe, headlines this year’s Smith Concert on Nov. 4 at Transylvania University.
Performing a range of music including songs from their home country, gospel and Afro jazz, the ensemble takes the stage of Haggin Auditorium at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required.
“We’re super excited to bring Nobuntu to campus this fall,” music professor Greg Partain said. “They’re in a class of their own, and they exude joy — about singing, music and life. We can all use an evening of joy.”
Their voice performances are augmented by minimal percussion, dance and traditional instruments like the mbira (thumb piano).
Nobuntu has entertained audiences at concert halls and festivals around the world to much acclaim, earning awards such as Best Musician of the Year at the Zimbabwe International Women Awards in London and the Best Imbube Group at the Bulawayo Arts Awards in Zimbabwe.
“The word Nobuntu is an African concept that values humbleness, love, unity and family from a woman’s perspective,” according to the group’s bio, which also stresses their belief in the importance of music as a vehicle for change. “The ensemble represents a new generation of young African women singers who celebrate and preserve their culture, beauty and heritage through art.”
Nobuntu frequently appears on TV and radio and has released three recordings in the past decade: “Thina,” “Ekhaya” and “Obabes.”
The Smith Concert Series was created in 2007 by Dorothy J. Smith ’42 to bring premier musicians to Transylvania. Named after Dorothy and her husband Fred K. Smith ’40, the series has featured performers such as Canadian Brass, the American Spiritual Ensemble, Home Free, the Kronos Quartet, Eileen Ivers and Tiempo Libre.
Top photo by Stuart Wolferman