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This article participates on the following special index pages:
Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) 2010 - Index of articles, audio and images
with Manuel Bagorro, Creative Director, Harare International Festival
of the Arts (HIFA)
April 22, 2010
interview with Manuel Bagorro - Read and listen
yourself in five words?
Loyal, hardworking, collaborative and a starter of things!
the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Persevere. I remember as a young pianist there was this
idea of practise, practise, practise. If you keep going, and you
keep working you're going to be all right. I think that perseverance
is incredibly important and its advice that I value.
the most ridiculous thing you've ever done?
HIFA, considering how inexperienced I was and how ill prepared
I was in some ways. The idea of starting a major international festival
was probably a slightly ridiculous thing considering my background.
It worked out well in the end but if I had known what I know now
I would have been a lot more scared.
is your most treasured possession?
Close friends and family.
do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being deprived of beautiful things. It sounds superficial
doesn't it? But what I mean by beautiful things is things
that they are inspiring in some way. What inspires me is music of
different types, visual things - I love art. To be without music
and beauty of many different types would be a miserable thing.
have any strange hobbies?
I don't really. I like to eat a lot. I love to go
to restaurants. I love to try new food.
do you dislike most about your appearance?
It's funny, but I feel like I'm a comfortable
old shoe, I've gotten used to the way I look. There's
nothing that particularly worries me. But I constantly pretend that
I've just joined a gym and I'm going to gym regularly.
I'd like to be healthier and look healthier.
is your greatest extravagance?
have you got in your fridge?
At the moment I have nothing. But I love cheese; if there
were a comfort food that I have to have it would be cheese and good
is your greatest fear?
Irrelevance. I hate the idea of everything that I do being
completely without significance. I just don't like the idea
of working without anything significant coming from it.
would you most like to be remembered for?
It's changed, as I've gotten older. There was a time
when I was so obsessed with being famous. I just wanted to be recognised
as an artist and as a performer. The performance was more important
to me than the music. So there was a time when I wanted to be remembered
as a performing artist and as someone with charisma. It's
moved away from personal glory. I think I'd like to be remembered
for ideas and for starting new things. I feel so proud of the Festival
and so happy at the luck and the fortuitous circumstances that have
come together to make it as successful as it has been.
have you got in your pockets right now?
I've got some keys, a wallet, lots of bits of old
paper, and business cards, most of which I have no idea where they
is your favourite journey?
The train journey from London to Paris. It always makes
me happy because I know I'm going to have a nice time in Paris.
I also I think about my childhood journeys, particularly the ones
between Harare and Bulawayo. Its not a particularly inspiring road
- I used to take the Blue Arrow and I used to quite like it.
are your heroes in real life?
I have a lot of artistic heroes, people who I think are
amazing at what they do. I really love the slight infatuation one
develops for someone whose talent you admire. Other heroes are people
who have done something that has some vision and courage around
and where were you happiest?
I believe in the happiness of now. I like the idea of my
happiness always being ahead. I think I'm generally a person
that strays towards happiness. I am happiest when I am surrounded
by people I love . . . that think I'm amazing!
your biggest vice?
Sloth. I'm quite lazy. When there is nothing imminent,
when I'm not preparing for something specific, I love to laze
were you like at school?
I think I was quite awkward and stupid probably. I was
somewhat secretive. I loved the idea of my piano work being a secret
that I had and that I would suddenly burst out of my shell and be
this phenomenal talent. I was more complicated as a teenager than
I am now. The things that tortured me at the time now seem much
are you doing next?
I am doing the Festival, which is about to open. Then I
go back to New York and I am working on the Carnegie Hall project.
I'm also considering starting a new project in New York but
featuring Zimbabwean artists in different ways. It would also be
a new chapter for me. I have plans for new things but always related
to my heart and passion, which are the arts.
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