Inspired by the traditional song and dance of their native Southern Africa, Black Umfolosi take to The Apex stage on Friday 26 August, with beautiful songs and gloriously exuberant dance.
Often compared to the likes of Lady Smith Black Mambazo, Black Umfolosi have released a number of recordings that feature acapella and township songs. A great favourite at festivals, their dynamic live performances are energy-driven and completely engaging.
Based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, the group began as a means of entertaining themselves while still at school in 1982. Naming themselves after the Umfolozi Omnyama River, an area to which their ancestors can be traced, Black Umfolosi expanded to become Black Umfolosi Performing Arts Project, acquired land and put up an Arts Centre.
Over the next 40 years, the self-taught a cappella (Imbube) singing group specialised in gumboot and Zulu dance and made it their mission to demonstrate and teach others around the world (including other African countries) about Southern African traditional dance and music.
Their trademark harmonies, mixed with intricate rhythms, clicking and clapping are complemented by brilliantly choreographed shows, with movements ranging from subtle shuffles to vibrant stomping and leaping. Their famous Gumboot Dances showcase the traditional rituals of the South African mining regions and are a particular crowd pleaser.
“ It was the best of all the festival. They have an incredible way to sing, to dance, a beautiful presence on the stage.” – Milan Festival.