Born out of a forward-thinking educational initiative introducing youth to global rhythms, formed in 2005 through a Canada Council program matching professional artists and students, Kutapira have hardly had a chance to reflect on their achievements.
Through the motivation and mentoring of Artistic Director, Jack Duncan and percussion maestro, Myles Bigelow, the group is forging new links between the traditions of Zimbabwe’s marimba music and the rhythmic soul of Afro Cuban drumming. Kai Buchan, Jeremy Bryant, Sangito Bigelow, Chris Couto and Theo Vincent are all fluent in both disciplines; rotating through their battery of soprano, tenor and baritone marimbas and trading licks on the drum kit, timbales and hand drums.
The marimbas’ funky, wooden resonance isn’t the only buzz Kutapira is generating. The accolades from all corners have been swift in coming and the praise has been fanatical In the sometimes serious and stodgy world of world music, the quintet has been bringing a welcome injection of exuberance and velocity to festival stages, community events and concert halls in Canada and abroad, lifting people to their feet and rattling the cages of the uninitiated.
Kutapira’s crowning ascent came from Her Majesty, Elizabeth, Queen of England. In the summer of 07, they were off to Aberdeen, Scotland to represent Canada at a world youth music festival and ended up with the sweetest gig going; a command performance at Balmoral Castle for the Queen. After the performance, she met and talked with each of Kutapira’s members individually, and was quoted as saying, “[Their music is] very clever.”
With hundreds of performances under their belt, a growing repertoire that continues to explore the vast potential of their arrangements, and a solid reputation among concert programmers as ‘fire starters’, the future couldn’t look sweeter for Kutapira.