An entangled story of desire, deceit and corruption unfolds in an African township where military corruption is rife. Carmen defiantly ignores all warnings to pursue a better life but tragedy follows her like a shadow in the hot sun.
Bawren Tavaziva’s strikingly powerful and sensual new interpretation of the Carmen story is told through a synthesis of ballet, contemporary and African dance, with original music by Fayyaz Virji of Warriors International.
‘breath-taking to watch.’ The Stage
“What a brilliant, amazing production! It was just excellent, and the dancers were fabulous! … fast, furious, sexy and emotional, totally absorbing! Audience Member
Bawren Tavaziva’s choreography often speaks of challenging, political and provocative themes, many of which cannot be spoken of in Zimbabwe. These have included same-sex relationships, corruption, violence, money, power, religion, human struggle, fear and survival. Powerful and emotional human experiences are skilfully communicated into the context of the work without compromising or curtailing his artistic expression.
In Africarmen we hope audiences find themselves caught up in caring for the emotional plight of the characters and that they find the Carmen story still relevant and topical today. In a world which we witness, all too distressingly on our TV screens, of displaced people, war, misogyny and attacks on women and men, it is important to speak out, sometimes without words, about these atrocities.
Bawren Tavaziva was born in a rural village near Masvingo in Zimbabwe. Football, Michael Jackson, New Edition and Kung Fu movies viewed at the local community hall provided inspiration to Bawren and his friends. Bawren’s musical talents also developed at this time on a guitar made by his brother from a 5 litre tin can and fishing wire.
At the age of 12 Bawren Tavaziva attended an outreach ballet project with the National Ballet of Zimbabwe at his local community centre. From day one, his determination and talent led him to a life-long passion for dance. He danced with Tumbuka for five years and toured Africa. He came to England to join Phoenix and Union dance and in 2004 he presented his own choreography and music as a finalist at The Place Prize with a deeply moving quintet entitled Umdhlalo Kasisi, in memory of his sister who sadly died of HIV. After this, Bawren formed his own company and became Artistic Director of Tavaziva Dance.
Africarmen, created in 2015, is Bawren’s most ambitious work, created with an expert team of distinguished collaborators including Composer Fayyaz Virji, Writer and Dramaturge Chris Fogg, Creative Advisor Neville Campbell, Set Designer Joseph Bisat Marshall, Costume Designer Ben Voorhaar, Lighting Designer Sherry Coenen and Creative Producer Beth Cinamon.
FAYYAZ VIRJI – Composer, Arranger, Producer, Trombone.
Tanzanian born Fayyaz emigrated to the UK at the age of 10. His older brothers introduced him to the sounds of Duke Ellington, The Beatles, Miriam Makeba and Benjamin Britten amongst others. Virji came through the ranks of the London Schools Symphony and Concert Orchestras and later the National Youth Jazz Orchestra. The Jazz Warriors was formed soon after and he was a founder member along with Cleveland Watkiss, Orphy Robinson and Courtney Pine. Fayyaz has worked, played and recorded with many artists and groups including Carla Bley, Howard Jones, Hugh Masekela, African Jazz All Stars, Pet Shop Boys, Amy Winehouse, Donna Summer, Eric Clapton, George Benson, George Michael, Jamiroquoi, Incognito, Annie Lennox, Tina Turner, Chaka Khan, Ray Charles, Fela Kuti, Tumani Diabate, Bobby Womack, Roy Ayres, Sir Paul McCartney, Lauren Hill, Stevie Wonder, Sir Tom Jones to name but a few!
Circa 1999 Virji’s love for composition and production resulted in a signing for his studio project FRAYZ with Toshiba EMI Japan. At around this time he also started composing music for TV. The BBC commissions include documentaries Atom, Science of Islam, Horizon Animal Mummies and for Channel 4 Cromwell and the seven-part series The Seven Ages of Britain as well as several commissions for Discovery Channel and Channel 5.
The recently formed ‘Warriors International’ have appointed Fayyaz as their musical director. He is a long standing member of the Jools Holland Rhythm and Blues Orchestra as well as a freelance trombonist in and around London. All the music for Tavaziva’s Africarmen has been composed, arranged and produced by Fayyaz.