Francistown based artist set to play abroad
With a little help from his friends, Francistown based musician and artist Cyril Ndolo will get the chance of a lifetime to showcase his talent outside Botswana. The 42-year-old guitarist and sign writer is due to leave for Cassino in Italy this weekend to perform at a music festival in the Roman theatre of the picturesque town that lies at the foot of Mount Cairo.
The invitation comes after Raffaele Nick Rodia, the president of La Tana, an Italian cooperative that organises cultural activities and events in Europe and abroad, identified Cyril. Raffaela, who was in the company of his fiancée Daniela Cece, was doing some volunteer work with the development organisation Humana People to People in Botswana for six months last year. The producer met the artist working with aspiring musicians at his backyard Studio in the Area W location of Francistown and felt that Ndolo was the talent that he needed from Africa.
The well-known guitarist, who started his music career at an early age playing a guitar made from a tin bucket, will have a chance to expose his talent in Europe performing with Raffaela’s established three-man band.
“It’s like a dream come true. I am going to Italy with a free mind but I won’t be forgetting my fellow Batswana artists. I hope to enhance my music skills in Europe and also put my country on the map through showcasing my talent in Cassino as part of the development of the performing arts in Botswana,” a thrilled Ndolo said.
Cyril’s music career started in the early 80’s when he worked with some Zimbabwean refugees playing rhumba, which also gave him the chance to learn how to play bass guitar. After the refugees left he and other artists formed the promising reggae band Loshalaba, before he joined the jazz orientated band Makgadikgadi in the early 90s.
Now with his own band the Cornerstones, Cyril continues to perform alongside local stars including saxophonist Dave Bestman who is also a music promoter and teacher in Francistown. Cyril said as person who has passion for performing arts and music he spends much of his spare time teaching music, especially youngsters from his location in Area W.
“That is when I met Raffaele and Daniela who happened to have the same passion for music. Together we organised workshops and shows in Francistown, including a free show outside The Voice offices in Francistown,” he said.
His month long visit forms part of an exchange that will continue to develop musical links between Botswana and Italy, with Cyril building on his experience abroad by holding workshops and organising shows around the country upon his return.