World Famous A Cappella and Dance Group From Zimbabwe
Black Umfolosi are a multi-discipline performing arts group, based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. The group began as a means of entertaining themselves while still at school in 1982. They have since become an internationally acclaimed harmonic a cappella singing and traditional African dance group. Self-trained, the original six members have developed their skills and their organization to a point where now 18 members provide a multitude of services in the performing arts industry in Zimbabwe and internationally.
With a gentleness of spirit, a joy in singing and exuberance in dance, Black Umfolosi has touched audiences of all ages. From a simple street performance to a capacity crowd of over 50,000- their energy is completely engaging. The group is well known for their a cappella songs, sung in close harmony, mixed with intricate rhythms, clicking, clapping and shouting. The singing is complemented with breakaway dance moves that include leaping stomping, a few shimmies and the odd high kick. Add to this their dynamic costumed dances showcasing the traditional dancing styles and rituals of the South African regions, flavoured with their own contemporary styles and movements.
Black Umfolosi is much more than a performing group, they are active in training others, particularly the youth, in dance and voice. They try to identify and develop up and coming groups and mentor them along their path to success. They provide workshops and residences in dance, voice, theatre, costume design, poetry, mime and also address various issues affecting society today. In short, Black Umfolosi are a community driven organization aiming to give back to the people what they have themselves received.
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"Zimbabwe's most internationally famous singing and dance group is Black Umfolosi... Their songs, sung in close, rich harmony, address general human concerns, love, family, spirit- as well as contemporary problems- wars, apartheid, the environment and AIDS. Their music is fresh and surprising, not only for the interesting text, but also for the typical intricate rhythms, unusual harmonies and interspersed clicking, clapping and shouting, which combine to produce a natural funky and rugged aura" The Rough Guide to Zimbabwe
"...Their singing is a marvelous blend of rhythm, melody and harmony welded together with enormous complexity but ending up with a sound which is acting simplicity..." Folk Roots
"There is no doubt that anyone interested in the shimmering vocal harmonies and compulsive rhythms which characterize Southern African vocal harmony groups will be mesmerized by Black Umfolosi..." Sydney Morning Herald
"Marvelous harmonies...spine-tingling gospel singing...bare-torsoed, hard-hatted gum-boot dancing" Glasgow Herald
"...Extraordinarily exuberant dancers...stunning, colourful and one hundred and one percent engaging..." The Scotsman
"...in a dramatic display of a cappella song punctuated by tongue clicking, hand movements and dance...the full harmonic potential of the human voice..." The Bath Chronicle
"...Sheer energy radiates from this world-famous group...a cappella singing...rich and fascinating, bursting with life yet under perfect control." Salisbury Journal
"...Zimbabwe's cultural ambassadors and most traveled group..." Music Time Magazine (Zimbabwe)