ACCLAIMED Malian Afro-pop singer Salif Keita and local Mbira diva Hope Masike on Sunday night put up a spellbinding performance which brought down the curtain on the 16th edition of Zimbabwe's premier arts showcase, the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) at ZOL Main Stage, in the Harare Gardens.
The legendary African superstar made a return this year having last performed at the enchanting week-long festival's grand finale in 2010 that was presented by Cultures France and the Embassy of France in association with AON Zimbabwe.
Keita collaborated with Masike for the first time in a memory-evoking show presented by the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) in association with Old Mutual making his third appearance at the festival.
The musicians set the venue ablaze with an electrifying performance that will not quickly fade from the minds of the multi-racial audience that attended the show.
Keita was the first to perform and later joined by Masike towards the end of the show.
Speaking to NewsDay, Masike said she was humbled and encouraged to share the stage with Keita.
"In the past three years of my career I have collaborated with many artistes and each collaboration had a different taste. Some collaborations were immediate great musical chemistry and some were very challenging.
"Of all these collaborations, this one with an iconic African leader, a musician whose work taught me about being African, about embracing who you are as God created you, about taking pride in Africa's art heritage has been the best," Masike said.
She said preparing for the show was a tiring process as she had to work on the songs for a month as rehearsal time with Keita was limited.
"I failed to thoroughly enjoy each moment of Hifa as I had this show to prepare for. I have learnt that opportunities come with great responsibility and discipline. Now I know why some renowned musicians go into isolation a day or two before big concerts," she said.
Apart from the musicians' performance, the traditional end of Hifa fireworks display was a remarkable and fascinating conclusion at the fully packed venue.
The festival held under the theme Articulate indeed has left an indelible mark on the country's arts and entertainment scene as it was well-organised presenting electrifying shows that managed to bring together artistes of various genres such as music, poetry, theatre, dance and visual arts.
Hundreds of artistes from different countries across the continent joined Zimbabwean performers for a comprehensive festival programme of theatre, dance, music, fashion, street performances and spoken word held at various venues in the capital.