The choice to ditch anything associated with the country’s army of late appears to be paying off for musician Jah Prayzah, whose ship is steering back to the hearts of many in the music scene after a brief brush with acrimony.
The award-winning musician came on stage in black and white gear while band members donned all black at the Ikonic Chronicles gig late last month in a performance that was characterised by frenzied energy and sing-alongs.
Not so long ago, the lanky Third Generation band leader had fallen victim of the country’s volatile political climate with some music lovers threatening to mute his voice owing to an association with the country’s military brand.
His only crime had been carrying the cultural ambassadorship for the army at a time its star was waning as a result of their heavy handed response to protests last August and January this year.
That chapter could be a thing of the past and along with it goes taglines like “Masoja” (reference to his fans), the parade march dance moves and army-like salutes.
However, his manager Keen Mushapaidze is still diplomatic when commenting about the changes, which he suggests are deliberate and an ongoing process.
“This is part of the consistent changes that have happened in the past two years and it is not inspired by anything that happened recently,” he told this publication.
As time goes on and events come up, Jah is going to change depending on the time and theme of the moment.”
While he seemed to agree that the current dressing has been a fresh breath calming the detestation, Mushapaidze said there “is no predetermined plan to change outfits” because what people follow is his artiste’s music not what he puts on.
“People fell in love with Jah Prayzah’s music and not his outfits or what he puts on. What he wears does not change anything because music has no relation to clothes,” he said
“It is difficult for his followers to change their love for him because of what he wears.”
But, aside from the dressing, songs like Kutonga Kwaro and Mdhara Vachauya had also been a point of scrutiny for the politically inquisitive who declared that lyrics are in favour of the incumbent government.
Interestingly, Jah Prayzah has stopped performing the mentioned songs at live shows.
Whether the band will make the apparently brand suicidal move to return to their old way remains a mystery but the current style has warmed the hearts of many.