HIT songs “Dherira” and “Chidhafu Dhunda” set alight many a dance floors, weddings, kitchen parties and several other places of hedonistic pursuit around Zimbabwe.
The songs, off Andy Muridzo’s second album, “Ngarizhambe”, were unavoidable — they were being played in every space from downtown to uptown and in chicken buses all the way to the village. Generally, the whole effort was good to the ear; coupled with the hype created by the now retired veteran music promoter Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza, who had vowed to turn the budding singer into a star, music lovers acknowledged the arrival of a raw gem into the Zimbabwean music jungle.
Unsolicited, stories appeared on the pages of magazines and other top newspapers, radio presenters joined in the frenzy, and inevitably comparisons between Muridzo and high-flying Jah Prayzah became the main topic.
In no time Muridzo got himself a permanent midweek slot at a venue where Jah Prayzah had cut his musical teeth as he rode into the big time many months earlier. As Jah Prayzah changed his beat to suit his new “international market” pursuits, Muridzo stepped into the shoes left by the “Tsviriyo” hit-maker.
It was a script authored in heaven. Muridzo was on his way up. A supporters association (Team Faya Faya) was already in place. Music fans had identified someone to fill in the void left by Jah Prayzah, someone to make showbiz interesting. A rivalry had been born.
Like a bolt out of the blue, the heavenly-written script took a twist, it turned into horror movie. Muridzo committed suicide, musical suicide, by joining the very person (Jah Prayzah) that everybody hoped he would compete with — leaving many grieving fans who felt betrayed.
Before the noose tightened around his neck music fans and pundits tried to cut him down, but a stubborn Muridzo, who thought he was riding into the sunset, continued on the doomed path. In a world where bands are known to split as band members choose to pursue individual freedom, nurture their own brilliance and chase superstardom — Muridzo chose to hide under someone else’s wings.
Because he was too big for the wings he was trying to fit under, Muridzo became restless, continuously fidgety due to discomfort. His glow faded, fans deserted him and thus there was no happily ever after for him.
“Tichambotenderera”, which loosely translates to (we are going round in circles), his third album, was largely ignored, starting with the poorly attended launch held at 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale. The scandals set in. Starting with the Beverly “Bev” Sibanda unprotected sex (yekedero), then the alcohol abuse, a recent hit and run accident, arrogance (probably due to frustration under Jah Prayzah) — and most music fans simply gave up on Muridzo.
Indeed he was going round in circles and must have been feeling dizzy when beginning of March, after months of speculation, Muridzo finally dropped the bombshell — that he was dumping Jah Prayzah and his Military Touch Movement.
Fuelled by the frustration and anger at his former boss, Muridzo went on to record 12 songs within three weeks for the forthcoming “Munondo”.
“He had just four songs when he decided to leave MTM. In three weeks, he had recorded 12 more songs,” said Andy Muridzo’s manager Gift Petro.
“His drive is unbelievable. He wants to do things right and in his own way this time around. And speaking to him, one gets the feeling that he has so much confidence in the product he has worked on that he cannot see it failing.”
To top it all up, the launch is a gala.
It features, to name just a few, Diana “Mangwenya” Samkange, Progress Chipfumo, Baba Harare, Faith Candy, Carlos Green, Sam Dondo, Dalma Chiwereva, Simba the Lion, Mbeu, Gary Tight and Senator.
If this were a soccer tournament, some of the aforementioned artistes would be those mid table teams that never win any silverware, some would be perennial under achievers while some teams would be from the third of fourth tier of the football league.
This means that on Friday at Club 1 + 1 Happy, Muridzo will be the biggest fish in the pond. If the crowds come to support Baba Keketso, as Muridzo is also known, then all eyes would be on him and him alone. Clever boy! Even if the crowds do not respond to his call due to the many shows in the capital this weekend led by Winky D’s late night Hifa performance, he will still have some groupies to cheer him on.
Recorded at Bazuka Studios by Casper Beats, this album carries the hopes, aspirations and expectations of a young man eager to reassert himself in the music industry. A young man who has put 16 brand new tracks on an album in the hope that just one of them will be a hit.
Since January, he has featured on about a dozen songs where he collaborated with different artistes. Among many others, known and unknown, Muridzo has collaborated with — Diana Samkange, Selmor Mtukudzi, Carlos Green, Larmont Chitepo, Desolo B, Shinsoman, Fr Musakatiza, Vimbai Zimuto, DJ Stavo, Tytan, Trymore Bande and Dadza D. There was no hit song. And on this new album he banks on a collaboration with Sam Dondo.
I have been critiquing music for a decade, never have I witnessed a musician’s fortunes so staked on a single outcome as they are for Andy Muridzo. “Munondo”, coming on May 4, which happens to be his fourth album, has to give him wings to fly to the heavens or else it will be the final nail on his music coffin.
But what does Muridzo himself say about his project? “Gore rino rima rese richawira pasi nekuti Munondo urikuuya kuzocheka,” said Muridzo. Munondo is a Shona word which means sword, the Lord’s sword, and Muridzo says he will use it to destroy darkness.
Let’s watch, listen and digest!
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