South African Soul Star Simphiwe Dana’s New Show Is About Healing

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MOYA speaks to the significance of one’s spiritual health, particularly following the traumas associated with loss and feelings of helplessness owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. It seeks to use music and theatre to draw performers and audiences alike to a deeper connection to their spiritual roots. As articulated by Dana and Maqoma, the show seeks to help one reconnect to the self – to introspect and rediscover inner peace – after over two years of feeling isolated or distanced from one’s core. Dana uses her gift of melody, harmony, and songwriting and poetry to create the sonic and thematic content that guides the underlying narrative inspiring this concert.

Both internationally acclaimed, Maqoma and Dana have a relationship that spans more than two decades. MOYA is their fifth collaborative project. They attribute the success of this partnership to a shared synergy and vision, and a mutual respect and love for their crafts. Their relationship is one that has also served as a continuing inspiration for them to expand and keep exploring the possibilities within their work.

MOYA features works composed and performed by Dana, supported by ten voices, under the musical directorship of Titi Luzipo, and choreography expressed by Vuyani under the direction of Maqoma. I asked them to share some thoughts about the upcoming concert.

‘Moya’ is a word that occurs in many African languages. What does it mean in this context?

Simphiwe Dana: In this context Moya means spirit. It also means breath. Breathing is juxtaposed with spirit because breathing is a sign you’re alive, and when you stop breathing it is associated with the spirit leaving your body. Spirit also symbolises that zest for life. It also symbolises immortality, that part of us that never dies. It is in light of this spirit that we question and we gather to remember the meaning of life in MOYA.

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