Sydney – Monday 4 December, 2023. Zambian psychedelic rock legends WITCHwill make their blistering Sydney Opera House debut in March 2024. The six-piece will bring their influential fusion of chugging garage rock, swirling funk guitars and African rhythms to the intimate Utzon Room, performing songs from their new album, Zango (2023) – the band’s first record since 1984.
Sydney Opera House Head of Contemporary Music, Ben Marshall says: “I was born in Lusaka, Zambia in the year their Lazy Bones!! album was released, so it gives me a very special joy to welcome the legendary WITCH here for their Sydney Opera House debut. WITCH are perhaps the defining Zamrock act, injecting influences from The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix into their innovative combination of percussive African rhythms and psych-rock. Once famed for playing seven-hour sets across Africa, and now triumphantly rising like a phoenix from a decades-long slumber, join us in the Utzon Room and let these Zamrock greats transport you in their explosive Australian debut.”
WITCH – aka We Intend To Cause Havoc – exploded onto the post-colonial Zambian music scene of the 1970s and ignited a movement. Led by singer and sole surviving original member Emmanuel ‘Jagari’ Chanda, the band pioneered the sound that would come to be known as Zamrock, a genre that gripped the continent for much of the decade. Across a string of landmark albums, including masterpieces Introduction (1972) and Lazy Bones!! (1974), WITCH became rock stars in their homeland, however they stopped performing in the mid-80s as the country buckled under the AIDS and economic crises.
Spurred on by a resurgence of their music after their entire discography was reissued and made widely available abroad for the first time, Chanda and keyboardist Patrick Mwondela reformed WITCH in 2013 for a series of performances, documented by filmmaker Gio Arlotta in 2019’s WITCH: We Intend to Cause Havoc. Last year they featured on As Above, So Below, the acclaimed album from Zambian-born rapper and singer Sampa The Great, and in 2023 – almost 40 years since their last recording – they released Zango to critical acclaim. In their highly-anticipated Australian debut, they’ll be joined by the full band: guitarists Stefan Lilov and JJ Whitefield, drummer Nico Mauskoviç and bassist Jacco Gardner.