finalist UBU Award 2019 – best dance show
choreography and direction ROBERTO CASTELLO
music MARCO ZANOTTI, ZAM MOUSTAPHA DEMBÉLÉ
text RENATO SARTI / ROBERTO CASTELLO in collaboration with ANDREA COSENTINO
performers ILENIA ROMANO, GISELDA RANIERI / SUSANNAH IHEME (dance/voice), MARCO ZANOTTI (percussions, limba) ZAM MOUSTAPHA DEMBÉLÉ (kora, tamanì, voice, balafon), ROBERTO CASTELLO
production ALDES – Teatro della Cooperativa
with the support of MiBAC – MINISTERO per i Beni e le Attività Culturali, REGIONE TOSCANA / Sistema Regionale dello Spettacolo, Romaeuropa Festival
media partner NIGRIZIA
tanks to Cooperativa Sociale Odissea
How much did Africa contribute to make us who we are?
For many centuries Europeans and Arabs have explored, colonized and converted every single corner of the planet. Today many cultures have been lost and the western culture has become, in many ways, the universal reference point. It’s impossible to say whether this is a positive or a negative, or if the colonized people used to be happier before colonization. It’s a fact that the world is getting smaller and less varied, full of TVs that broadcast the same programs and identical shops that sell identical products, from Greenland to Terra del Fuego, from California to Madrid, Riyad or Tokyo. But it often happens, in the colonization process, that the colonist changes irreversibly once he gets in contact with the conquered’s culture. This is what Mbira attempts to talk about; a concert for squares and theatres in which two dancers, two musicians and a director – through music, dance and words – try to address the complex relationship between our own and the African culture.
Mbira is the name of a musical instrument from Zimbabwe, but also the name of the traditional music made with this instrument, and “Bira” is the name of an important traditional celebration of the Shona people, the main ethnic community in Zimbabwe, in which people dance and sing to the sound of the Mbira. Mbira is also the title of a musical composition created in 1981, around which a harsh legal controversy has arisen, an issue that represents well the complex and problematic nature of the cultural and moral tangle characterizing the relationship between Africa and Europe.
Mbira is, in short, a word around which a surprising variety of stories, music, dances, celebrations and reflections about art and culture intertwine.