He is a lanky six foot- two inches dread locked singer. His relatively light-hearted attitude permeates his live performance and he smiles more than many artistes I have come across. He is wearing flashy stage gear and also plays mbira as he sings “Chinamira”.
One would think that I am describing Jah Prayzah here, but alas, no. Here I am talking about one artiste who has emerged from the high density of Gweru and goes by the name Samukoko. If Jah Prayzah is to face any competition this year, it will come from this guy. Samukoko has managed to sneak in as one of this year’s potentially strong musical contenders. Not only does he sound like Jah Prayzah himself, but he also looks like him.
He is convincing in his musical output with a restless, intriguing album that sprinkles stardust at every turn.
I had the opportunity to listen to him at a function held at the Italian Club recently and as I walked in, I was telling my friends that it was Jah Prayzah singing. The sound and his appearance from a distance had all the hallmarks of a Jah Prayzah act. To make matters worse, the crowd was singing along to “Pungwe Kusvika Kwati Ngwee!”
However, a few minutes later after I had got into the auditorium, Samukoko started to belt out his own material which included songs like “Sahwira”, “Madzimai neVana”, “Handimbokanganwe”, “Ehuwe” and Vanoramba’ all from his debut album, “Tichasvika Chete”.
Although I was not familiar with these tunes, that voice rang a bell. He had certainly borrowed it from Jah Prayzah.
I am positive that when our local DJs get hold of this album, they will be thinking the same. If anyone is to challenge Jah Prayzah in 2016, I am convinced Samukoko will be at the fore-front.
Another album which has grabbed my attention this year is a new release from one Solo Sadadz, who has had to overcome a multitude of problems which include lack of rehearsal time and lack of management as he is also a manager at TM Supermarket in Mbare In his bid to make this take-me-seriously- as- an-artiste album, he says that although he is in the middle of Zim dancehall territory in Mbare and among Zim dancehall artistes, he will not be persuaded to follow that trend. Instead, he is creating his own brand of music which he calls Jafuwitra rhythms.
His intensely serious monster of a second album that reveals new charms everytime you spin it, entitled “Mupfudze Mumunda” has some powerful and interesting rhythms. The tracks, some of which are closer to sungura while others are reggae-influenced are all worth a listen.
I particularly like “Takaiteiko”, “MabasaeChisi” and “Yawe Komborerai” on this crucial album.
Credit must be given to Clive Mono Mukundu of Monolio Studios for recording this album.
A third album I have had the opportunity to listen to comes from an artiste who goes by the name Croco Garwe. He has released a twelve track Afro- fusion album called “Kilimanjaro Album Volume One”.
It is indeed an Afro-fusion album which is quite pleasant to the ear. All the folks who are into old school music will undoubtedly fall in love with this gem.
This is old-school with a fine glass finish, the musicianship and production audibly expensive and the man’s voice so honeyed it presumably requires the attentions of worker bees. Every song is about love or has a social theme, which has a catchy and bouncy rhythm. Tracks on it include “Pamusoro”, “Paruzevha”, “Handikendenge” and “Mupombangoro” which I found easy to dance to.
On a different note, the 15th NAMA awards ceremony is upon us once more. This year it will be held at 7 Arts Theatre on February 13 under the theme “Celebrating Zimbabwe Heritage”.
We are proud to know that Zimbabwe continues to celebrate its artistic talents and we hope this will go on for a long time despite the financial challenges the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe faces when trying to put this ceremony together. Although this challenge permeates the arts industry, we hope that the NACZ will find money to reward these award winners.
This year’s nominees in the music categories include Zimbabwe’s most popular; Jah Prayzah, Winky D and Killer T among the male participants while Hope Masike has been nominated in the ‘Outstanding Female Musician’ category. I am positive all of them will come out with a gong or two.
We are equally happy to receive the news of Hope Masike and Pah Chihera’s nominations for the 2016 Kora awards which will be held in Windhoek, Namibia on the March 20 this year. Hope Masike has been nominated in the “Best Tradition Female Artiste” category for the track “Huyai Tinamate” while Pah Chihera (born Pamhidzai Tracy Mbirimi), has been nominated in the “Best Female Southern Africa Region” category for her track “Musavadadire Varume”.
Voting for these nominees started on January 20. One can vote as many times as they like. I have already voted 50 times for both artistes. Not only do these two deserve these awards, they make us proud to be Zimbabwean. All Zimbabweans should rally behind these two artistes and vote for them by sending a SMS to Kora 78 +248984000.
By voting for these two as many times as possible, we are not only trying to outnumber the Nigerians who overwhelm us by their huge population but we are also trying to bring the awards home which I am sure the whole nation will be proud to celebrate. Let us all rekindle the Zimbabwean spirit and restore confidence in ourselves. Let us be proud of who we are, be proud of our sisters in music.
Let us be ourselves in the family of nations and not apologise for what we are. Let us bring the Kora awards home just like Dr Oliver Mtukudzi and Tanga Wekwa Sando did a few years ago.