This one hour whirlwind of African song, dance and music from Zimbabwe-based Siyaya Arts is pure happiness. From their rainbow-coloured clothing to their beaming smiles and electric energy, the entire troupe radiates positivity – lifting our spirits and filling our hearts.
A talented section of musicians crack out mind boggling rhythms on drums and marimbas that vibrate through the floor, up through the audiences’ feet and into their bodies which respond by dancing around in their seats as they clap along and whoop in appreciation. These beats swirl through the air, combining with the soulful notes from the singers and dynamism from the dancers to produce a heady happiness cocktail. At one point the cast ask the audience to sing along – very dangerous to ask for enthusiastic participation from a British audience – but everyone was so drunk on enjoyment that we attacked the African verse with gusto.
In this excitable atmosphere it is easy to get carried away with the emotion and fail to register just how technically demanding the production really is. The exceptionally complicated rhythms, close harmonies and energy sapping dance routines are often all performed simultaneously – demonstrating the casts’ vast skill set. A particularly wonderful segment is one in which the two female members perform an astounding dance in traditional dress, managing to balance pottery jars on their heads whilst committing to hugely energetic, fast movement with their bodies - any etiquette school mistress would be proud.
ThaTha translates as ‘please take’, and this embodies the spirit of this genuine, straight from the heart, unpretentious performance; it is a gift from the performers who simply want to bring joy to those who behold it. It is a fantastic ambassadorial piece to bring a taste of African arts to those unfamiliar with them, and an unbridled pleasure to witness.