"Flying Bantu" is an afro-fusion band from Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe that merges a traditional Zimbabwean musical signature with elements of rock, reggae, jazz and funk. We are a lively and upbeat stage band with a warm message for you! Welcome to our website!

Bantu Blog

Miombo! Miombo!

Wednesday night, 24th May 2017 - The gig ended with a group of Greek pharmacists clapping hands and approaching for high fives, hugs and pictures on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River. Such beautiful people and what a vibe! It’s a good thing that their longevity only lasted as long as our last couple of songs otherwise we were on the verge of plunging reluctantly into some covers! The time is 23:00 on the eve of our long drive to Harare and we still had to break-down, pack up and grab something to eat.

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Our go-to-guy and designated driver Guy had us sleepy eyed and buckled up just before dawn and the open road was soon coming at us rapidly at about a hundred and twenty kilometers an hour but not without the expected cop and pothole encounters. It was a fun and easy ride to the capital (for those of us who were sleeping) and arriving early afternoon, we headed straight for Amanzi Restaurant for sound check as we had a gig there in a few hours’ time. It might just be us but sound check always takes longer than expected and very rarely do you actually get the sound right such that you’re genuinely satisfied and without compromise. However, a great sound engineer usually delivers and it all works out during the gig. Reminds us of Valentino Rossi and his remarkable race day pace and breakthroughs (Forza VR/46!!). That gig was alright. Not our greatest but okay nonetheless. A few things suffice as okay excuses and for sure we have a score to settle with that venue. Amanzi, we will be back to set the record straight.   

The queen of M&M Dance Factory is our mother and hostess when we are in Harare. Her open invitation goes a long way with us and her home has become our home too. Never a dull moment in her space and company and we are grateful to have our darling friend Mitzi on our side. Thank you so much to Mitzi, Mel & Campbell! 

Anyhow, here is how it happened on the morning of our Alliance Française gig: we slept!! The 15:00 sound check was perfect as any time before then would have been just ridiculous. The venue seemed rather small at first glance but man-oh-man was the sound exciting and we found ourselves very eager for the gig to begin and indeed it did! Not without a delay as we were holding back for a few more people to arrive after the published 8pm start. Being an unknown band you must understand, a FREE gig is not enough and if we had some bond (Current Zimbabwean currency) we would seriously consider funding a crowd! BUT, we have the universe conspiring constantly because people did show up beautifully so. There was one girl who arrived first and she sat and waited. Thank you, whoever you are. To be honest, we don’t believe she was of this earth. The theory is that she was sent by a higher power to give us a boost and it worked like magic as the gig was electrifying. The energy was palpable and we really enjoyed the venue. Thank you to Franck the director of Alliance Francais de Harare and to everyone who came. We hope to see you again soon.

Hallo Miombo Magic! Happy people, kids and their mothers, fathers and their mothers… (Amkela says he even saw a few dogs, a donkey and a pig there!) it was a family affair for sure. From laughing at Black Mamba Man’s acute sense of humor to getting down to some “teachings” from Djembe Monks we must say, if you weren’t there, you were nowhere!

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We were on stage at 1930 and the mood was that of expectation…it was pregnant with something and it definitely wasn’t fear, boredom nor the lack of jubilant life. If anything, the absolute opposite. The plan was to start slow, even if it was only one verse of Hezvo as the song gains momentum rather quickly into a frenzied ending. We played for fifty minutes to a group of people who were there specifically there for a serving of such proportions. Yes it happens but not every day. Especially when Vusa Moyo is your stage sound man and the legendary Kith Farquharson is front of house. We are grateful for the love we received and the things we learnt. The people we met and the friends with whom our connection was strengthened: Danny, Ali, Guy, Bud, Kalai, Benji, Kelly, Nigel, Claire, Nev, Emmanuel, Keira, Vusa, Helen, Zuga, Iroot, Mackays, Xiara, Ash, Marty, Keith, Tehn, Hope, Nikkita (Russian boy’s name given to a Zimbabwean girl!), Amara (ever so briefly) Charlotte, Derek, Gemma and the lovely “Chrystal” Christabelle from the hyena republic of Hwange!

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Your dreams are forever close and the reality that hinders their attainment is one of your construct. Calculate and orchestrate the initial thrust and deal with the rest while in orbit. See you at the end of your goal, or otherwise in the pursuit of it.

Gus and your Miombo Magic team - EPIC! Congrats on another thoughtfully put together, and very well organised family music festival in the bush. The venue, stage & sound were top notch and we had a great time with you guys. We hope to be back in 2019!  

Last but not least, a HUGE shout out to our sponsors ProFeeds - thank you so much for sponsoring our first ever launch tour - your faith in us is heartwarming and as always something like this would not have been possible withour your support. Thanks guys. 

Thanks for reading.

Love,

Nash & The Boys

Flying Bantu @ The "Ole New Orleans" show at REPS Theatre - 12th & 13th May 2017

Flying Bantu are SUPER stoked to be heading to Harare next week to take part in the "Ole New Orleans" show happening at REPS Theatre on the 12th & 13th May. This show will be a tribute to all things "New Orleans" and will see the entriety of the REPS Theatre transformed into the "French Quarter" - where everything one would expect to see in the real New Orleans will come to life - amazing dance numbers, street food & street performers, a Mardi Gras Parade, gumbo & crawfish, cocktails, and anything else you can shake a stick at will be showcased in a spectacular show that has been put together by non other than the talented Mitzi Carruthers from M&M's Dance Factory. Mitzi is a Cajun Gal from Louisiana who found herself in Zimbabwe, and started up M&M's Dance School in 1984! Since then she has choreographed and put together more shows than there are street lights in Harare, and she is a real go-getter that has always managed to pull off a spectacular show. We're so very grateful to Mitzi for getting Flying Bantu in to take part in this show and for putting it together so professionally despite such trying times financially and logistically. Mitzi has also offered to put us up in her home throughout all the chaos for which we are also extremely grateful! 

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We'd like to extend an especially heartfelt thanks to our long time friend and supporter Jason Gardini from Gardini Construction for their sponsorship in getting us there and back to take part in this spectacular show - it's only through the generosity and faith of companies such as Gardini Construction that we can get to where we need to be in order to achieve our maximum potential and we're so very grateful for the show of support and enthusiasm in Flying Bantu - we won't let you down! 

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Tickets for the "Ole New Orleans" show are $10 available at REPS Theatre Foyer, or online at www.thespotlight.co.zw - we're so exctied to be part of this fantastic parade of artistic talent that will be in show and hope to see you all there supporting on the 12th & 13th of May - Show starts at 5.30 pm sharp - See you there! :) 

Flying Bantu at #Elefenst2016 - Performing for Victoria Falls' elephants!

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Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular sights one could ever see in their lifetime - the largest waterfall in the world by area, and it is no wonder why it is a wonder of the world! Sadly though, Victoria Falls is also a place where elephants have been dying from eating plastic, due to a major issue that concerns the town's municipal dump site whereby wild elephants have been rummaging through the dump site on a nightly basis, ingesting large amounts of harmful plastic waste. This has been a longstanding issue in Victoria Falls - and this year a group of locals set out to fix this problem once and for all.

"Elefenst 2016" was a music festival held in Victoria Falls on the banks of the mighty Zambezi River that was held in aid of the Victoria Falls Ele-fence Project, a project that entailed fundraising to the tune of $50,000 in order to erect an electric fence around the unprotected dump site. Flying Bantu were asked to be on the line up at the event, and naturally jumped at the opportunity to support such a great cause, along side some of Zim's top artists such as the legendery Harare band 'Evicted', our good friend 'Amy & The Calamities', and another good friend Alistair Burton AKA the 'Black Mamba Man'. All this whilst alongside Vic Falls' host of resident artists such as So Kindly, Bud Cockcroft, Dean Jones, and Kweseka Youth Band. 

The event was staged at The Riverside Venue - and made for a picturesque setting alongside the Zambezi. There was over 250 people in attendance that despite a heavy downpour later in the evening, kept the muddy dance floor stirring until the very early hours! It's always great to play for these amazing causes and especially one that is so pressing, and so close to home. The event raised over USD$6,000 that went directly towards the final stage of the erection of the Ele-Fence, which is now complete and actively keeping elephants out of harm's way! 

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The Journey to Rocking the Daisies - #RTDx2016 October 2016

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Anyone will agree on one thing… and that thing is the fact that sleep deprivation sucks! We have all had it at one point or another. For us it’s largely but not limited to the following category: Car Seats!

The express trip began with the “midnight death machine” as experienced by boarding an overnight bus from the town of Victoria Falls to the second capital city of Zimbabwe. With a full phone battery and a pair of headphones one has as much comfort as one will get for the night. Arriving intact at 05:00 in the morning we came face to face with a cold, cold city of Bulawayo. Freezing our butts off we made contact with the rest of our festival clique comprising of four extraordinary individuals and one very steady, road hungry Toyota Landcruiser.

The journey to Pretoria, South Africa took the rest of the day to complete after a surprisingly quick stop at the ‘reigning world champion’ of stressful border crossings that is Beitbridge. The scene with its cast of eight was as follows: Designated Driver, Lucky Shotgun Pilot and three per seat in the back with the often explored option of a ‘shape shifting challenge’ on top of a large cooler box located in the luggage area at the rear of the Cruiser. We arrived around midnight and were rather grateful! On the morning of the second day, we set our minds on the Western Cape.

Overnighting at a friend’s place in Cape Town, we had covered about 3000km in two days - at this stage the claustrophobia hadn’t yet shown her face.. The mission was to keep her out and turn the whole experience into a bonding one instead. Besides, the excitement of experiencing and participating at the 2016 edition of Rocking the Daisies was an intoxicating sensation which allowed most things to be overlooked and/or ignored.

On the fourth night of our three day journey we arrived at the artist accommodation campsite behind the main stage at RTD in Darling a couple of hours outside of Cape Town. We must say, that is one beautiful location and to arrive there at the same time as the hordes of festival enthusiasts is an overwhelming experience. Nice - but that painfully cold, slow ‘bumper to bumper’ sloth of a drive at the very end should be optional for the artists and maybe festival organizers as we need to get there as fresh as possible for the show and the organizers surely have shit to go do so…. give us a different entrance please!!

On that first night, one can get carried away very easily. The temptation to drink and party is all around you and if you are sensible, you will have to restrict yourself. Our mission however was to have fun and to watch as many acts as possible without missing a single Zimbabwean performer if we knew they were there. We must admit, as the event wore on, we got worn out and failed to hold true. However, on that first night, our mate Adrian Fowler was playing with his band Slow Jack and that was a must watch. Adrian is a demon on the drums and his combination with the rest of the band is alchemic.

Gemma Griffiths played the next morning and again we were still strong and capable so we made it. She is rather soothing and that’s easy to admit. Beautiful voice, bubbly character and pleasant to the eye she made for a perfect breakfast☺ Afterwards, we explored the venue under the light of day and we were blown away by the sheer scale of the place. The last census apparently put our home town of Victoria Falls at 30,000 inhabitants. RTD had over three quarters as many attendants so imagine that. What a gig!! After a good search, we finally found the Greenpop run stage which we were performing on and the mental map was complete. Misha and Lauren Teasdale are true legends and they along with their “tree hugging” team deserve all the good in the world.  

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Our show was scheduled to start before sunset and ending just after. You know that awesome time when the stage lighting begins to kick in and performers are transformed from mere mortals to spiritual entities! And so it happened that the time arrived. We walked, instruments in hand from one end of the gathering to the other. Passing and meeting many a cheering crowd along the way. What a vibe and such a great way to calm the nerves and get into the mood such that by the time we got to the Hemp Stage, we felt like Spartans. Armed and ready, we went through our set list backstage…it was time for Flying Bantu to meet South Africa.

The greatest feeling was to see the amount of friends who came to support us. Our hearts go out to these special beings who in some cases traversed thousands of miles to be there with us. They give us strength and inspiration. We would like to let them know that they are an integral part of what we do and without them, none of it would be possible. Art is incomplete without an appreciating mind on the receiving end. Alistair Burton (Black Mamba Man), Amy Wawn (Amy & the Calamities), Danielle Connolly, Neville Starling were the four loyal companions who braved the long drive to and fro with us. Moments like these are forever and are the reason we live. Danniella Ponter, Nigel Philp, Bud Cockcroft, Fraser Mackay and his fabulous boys, Chenai Dodzo, Sjani Cuyler, Anabelle Cardoso, Gordon 'G-Cock McThug Nugget' Starling, Catherine Elgonaid, John & Kirsty Barclay and last but definitely not least, our manager and go-to-guy, Guy Cockcroft. We love you all and thank you very much. We definitely have to do again guys, RTD 2017!!

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"Woofstock" - Flying Bantu's debut in Botswana at an SPCA fundraiser

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On the 26th of November 2016, the band had the privilidge of playing for an SPCA fundraiser in Kasane, Botswana. A handfull of Kasane locals put together a music festival called "Woofstock" in order to raise much needed funds for the continued efforts by the community to have all stray dogs and cats in the town spayed/neutered. This we thought was a noble intitiative by the locals and so we took pleasure in performing at the festival along side our long-term buddy and talented female singer/songwriter from Bulawayo Amy & The Calamities

The event was held in a state of the art auditorium in Kasane on the banks of the Chobe River, and the turnout by the loacls was impressive! The stage and sound setup really exceeded our expectations and we were really pleased to make a bunch of new friends that night (all be it over a few too many jaeger shots!)

We were treated to a fantastic weekend exploring the Chobe National Park which was kindly donated by the tourism community of Kasane. We got put up in 5 star accommodation at the aptly named Chobe Bush Lodge and we even got to spend an afternoon cruising up the Chobe River on a private boat charter thanks to Someone. There is such a plentiful amount of game that the Chobe seems to teem with, it's no wonder why it is such a popular tourist destination! 

We would like to say a huge thanks to Sarah Peerless and her team of sponsors and organisers of "Woofstock" for treating us to such a great weekend, which raised some much needed funds for the Kasane SPCA!

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