Peter Matika Senior Leisure Reporter
HAVING travelled across the globe on a mission to spread the word of peace and harmony through music, an American band, Blended 328 seeks to forge an alliance with Zimbabwean artistes.
The band, comprising eight members drawn from different races arrived in Africa and Zimbabwe in particular for the first time last Thursday.
Formed about five years ago, the band tells a story of a group of people all compelled by the same drive – to bring about peace to the world through music.
In an interview with Sunday Leisure while rehearsing for a live show at the Zimbabwe Music Academy housed at the Robert Sibson Hall next to the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair grounds, the band leader, Gabe Jordan spoke of their plans and how they met.
Below are excerpts of the interview with Sunday Leisure senior reporter Peter Matika.
PM: Nice to meet you Gabe, please enlighten us about the band.
GJ: Well, Blended 328 is a multi-ethnic band made up of eight people, brought together by music and sharing the same ideas.
PM: That’s interesting, so is this your first time in Zimbabwe and how are you finding it?
GJ: This is our first time in Africa and to be precise in Zimbabwe. This is our second day here and it is lovely.
PM: So where else have you been in the world and where have you performed?
GJ: We have been everywhere to be honest, Pakistan, Russia you name it. We have performed mostly at universities and at various festivals. Our mission is to travel the world spreading harmony and it wasn’t by coincidence that Zimbabwe was one of the places we intended to perform at. We want to bridge gaps between the two countries.
PM: What type of music do you play?
GJ: We play rock, R n B, funk and country music. Music is about unity and peace and that is what we are about.
PM: So how did the band meet?
GJ: There were originally two members, we met at a performing bar and eventually the group grew.
It all starts from respect. We all respect each other and that is how we manage to get along. We love each other and we are all passionate about music and are driven by the desire to spread a message and that message being peace and harmony.
PM: That’s interesting, so what do you have to say about Zimbabwe?
GJ: We are happy to be in Zimbabwe. The country is beautiful and I think our two countries should just get along. They need each other.
PM: Indeed. Anyway have you heard of any Zimbabwean artistes?
GJ: Well not at the present moment but seeing that we are here we are looking forward to meeting other artistes and to network with them and in the future hold concerts together.
PM: What made you pick Zimbabwe out of the whole of Africa?
GJ: We networked with Zimbabwean artistes through the US embassy, which in turn sealed this deal and we are particularly working with a local group, which is hosting us for this gig.
PM: As an established group, what would you say to upcoming musicians and bands?
GJ: Well we are not looking at giving advice to the artistes but to share ideas with them as this is an exchange programme.
PM: Thank you for your time and hope you will enjoy your stay in the country and have brilliant performances.
GJ: Thank you.
Blended 328, according to Sabela Music Projects director Saimon Mambazo will be in Zimbabwe for the next week and will hold workshops and performances in Bulawayo, Gweru and Harare.
“They will perform in the townships, particularly at Stanley Hall in Makokoba today,” he said.
Blended 328 was established in Nashville, Tennessee in December 2011 and made its Africa debut courtesy of the US Department of State’s Education and Cultural Affairs’ Arts Envoy programme.
The band has a global vision to initiate positive change in the world by breaking down racial barriers and promoting equality, respect, inclusion and peace through country music.
Other members of the band are Kimberly Phillips (vocals); Fran Hart (vocals); Dallas Brown (vocals); Seth Rooks (vocals /bass); Thomas Spann (drums /percussion); Corrie Covell (fiddle/violinist) and David Mescon (guitarist, songwriter and arranger).