Freeman Mugadza Reflects Power of Margaret Mwamuka with CHAUVET DJ

May 2020
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Photo: Sound Kalcha

BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE – The words “soaring” and “uplifting” come up often when critics and fans describe a performance by the award-winning Gospel singer Margaret Mwamuka. A dignified, commanding figure on stage, Mwamuka avoids ostentation, both in her vocals and movements, yet by summoning up a deep resonant power with every lyric, she has a way of taking audiences with her on the transformative spiritual journey that begins anew with every one of her shows.

Supporting a performance by Mwamuka last year at Zimbabwe’s F.O.G. Auditorium was a Feeman Mugadza design that featured over 50 CHAUVET DJ fixtures supplied by Audiosure of South Africa. The owner of Sound Kalcha, the Bulawayo-based designer created flowing looks that achieved a delicate balance of engaging the live audience, while also providing an attractive background for the DVD that was being recorded at the venue.

Washing the stage with a wide palette of complimentary colors and texturizing it with gobos and crossing beam patterns, Mugadza reflected the moving power of his client’s music, without distracting from her charismatic stage presence. At the same time, he occasionally added bold specials to make the show come alive.

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Photo: Sound Kalcha

Key to helping Mugadza achieve this design were the 20 SlimPAR T12 USB fixtures in his rig. Rigged overhead from upstage to downstage, the RGB LED washes filled a variety of roles during the concert. “We used them mainly to wash the stage with a variety of colors, but they also served us very well as dimmer effects and strobes,” said Mugadza. “The colors were really extraordinary, fitting for a world-class DVD show.”

Adding visual variety and texture to the stage for the camera and live audience were the six Intimidator 140SR fixtures in the rig. Flown on upstage truss, these high output moving fixtures were used for dramatic backlighting in addition to creating crisp gobos. Meanwhile, the rig’s other moving fixtures, four Intimidator 350 Beams, were used to create dynamic crisscrossing patterns and dramatic down lighting effects.

Mugadza was also able to achieve clear, evenly balanced front lighting from the six EVE E-50Z fixtures in his rig. He positioned these LED ellipsoidal units from the venue’s balcony, relying on their zoom and framing shutters to obtain the desired throw distance, as well as precise control of the projected beam. The warm white light from the EVE E50Z ensured that Mwamuko and her backup choir, as well as the band, all looked natural on camera.

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Photo: Sound Kalcha

For Mugadza there were many “lighting highlights” of working this show for the gospel star. One that stands out was the dramatic beginning he created with its multi-colored beams. “Our opening was amazing,” he said. “We also were very pleased with how we were able to transition from one scene to the next.”

Mwamuka’s performance is characterized by the different moods she is able to convey in each song, according to Mugadza. Each transition, it seems, takes the audience further along on their uplifting journey. And on this evening a beautifully woven lighting design was with them every step of the way.

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