NGZ named among top 10 global venues by Sofar

Honoured ... The National Gallery of Zimbabwe in Harare

Songs from a Room (Sofar), a music events startup, responsible for various small shows that are hosted in over 400 cities around the world, has honoured the National Gallery of Zimbabwe (NGZ) by naming it among their top 10 most historic venues globally, alongside iconic locations in the United States, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

This recognition follows the NGZ’s successful hosting of two intimate Sofar concerts in October last year and February this year.

Listed alongside NGZ are Arlington Street Church and Boston Harbor Distillery (Boston, United States), The Rookery and Garfield Park Conservatory (Chicago, US), Hall des Lumières and City Winery at the Grand Central Terminal (New York City), São Bento Railway Station and Fortaleza da Luz (Portugal), Westminster Abbey, St John’s at Smith Square and Bristol Old Vic (United Kingdom).

“We are excited to be named as one of the most historic venues by Sofar,” Fadzai Muchemwa, the gallery’s deputy director told IndependentXtra.

The national  gallery is not only listed as one of Sofar’s most historic sites, but also recognised as an exciting venue, alongside other esteemed global spaces in London, including The Stereo, a live music and cocktail bar, The Bike Shed, a motorcycle showroom dedicated to moto culture and FujiFilm House of Photography, a vibrant hub for photographers and enthusiasts, as well as the Museum of Pop Culture and the Boston Figurative Arts Centre in Boston, US.

“By harnessing the power of our platform, we are shining a spotlight on local artists with a special focus on also showcasing the beauty of the city and its unique venues to global audiences,” primary curator, Khumbulani Muleya, said.

The October gig featured Hope Masike, Cingi, Trust Samende, and King Billius, while the February concert was a first-anniversary celebration that was graced by Nonny Muhoni, Tina Watyoka, Meet Luminous and AneUnhu.

Sofar is a global community of music curators and artists putting together intimate live music shows in unique spaces across the world. It made its Harare debut in 2022. Shows are hosted in restaurants, galleries, rooftops, private residencies, and other non-traditional venues.

Meanwhile, Old Rock Space, situated in Harare’s Borrowdale neighbourhood, also earned a spot among the unique global spaces following its hosting of the Sofar Harare 10th edition in March in a disused swimming pool that has been transformed into an entertainment area.

Other unique locations include the Media Library of the French Institute of Mauritius, a Mauritius-based cultural hub.

The list features a mix of venues, including the Swedish and French embassies in Ankara, Turkey, Ocean Plant, a mixed-use building in San Francisco, US, a penthouse in Manhattan, New York, boasting a direct view of the Statue of Liberty as well as Padel Club, a tennis court in Cancún, Mexico.

The spotlight was also cast on waterfront venues that stand out throughout the international music network, such as MV Skansonia, which, according to is a boat that was built nearly 100 years ago.

Today, the nautical space located in the city of Seattle (US) serves as a wedding venue, complete with a view of the Seattle skyline. Among the other remarkable venues is Theatreship, which is rated as the oldest floating arts centre in the world and is situated on a real barge in the Canary Wharf docks in London.

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