The Sunday Mail
FIRST and foremost we would like to commend the videographers for a sterling job they are doing giving life to otherwise lifeless songs that some of Zimbabwe’s top artistes are releasing.
Blaqs, Sim Doc, Andy Cutta and Naxo- makanyanya (you guys rock). The visuals that came out last week for songs by Baba Harare, Ti Gonz, Jah Prayzah, Enzo Ishall, Nox and Killer T are simply amazing. Of course, there is room for improvement but they are on point. No wonder in his article recently Tafadzwa Zimoyo alluded to “lack of visuals working against Winky D”. It makes sense. The album “Njema” is empty. Were it not for the clever political game, rather fake news and lies about police and Government interference with their album launch, Winky D’s album would have suffered a stillbirth.
But let me digress a bit — what is up with the dirty lyrics in today’s songs? That sex sells? Rubbish. “Sadza neMuriwo”, “Kanjiva”, “Ngoro”, “Unotsvireiko”, “Hakuna Mvana” — all these songs and many more — have suggestive lyrics, as well as quite graphic videos, which leaves me wondering if the likes of Leonard Dembo, Marshall Munhumumwe, John Chibadura, Jonah Moyo, Biggie Tembo, Andy Brown (the list is rather endless) would have been that big if they had sung such dirty lyrics. Little wonder that in the National Arts Merit Awards, slated for February 29 in Harare, no vulgar song has found its way to the Outstanding Song of the Year. “Ngaibake” (Freeman ft Alick Macheso), “Kure” (Ishan ft Ti Gonzi), “Mweya Ndisesekedze” (Mambo Dhuterere) and “Mugarden” (Winky D ft Gemma Griffiths) are the nominated songs.
The fascination with vulgarity and sexual innuendos by our musicians has killed many good songs. In short, povo yaramba, haidi madhisinyongoro. No to dirty lyrics.
Anyway, back to the mediocrity, luckily for Winky D, his album was actually born, alive and well, but its health deteriorated almost immediately. Listeners could not find something to dance to, to play at their parties and DJs have no option but to look elsewhere as Winky D has flattered to deceive. While his touting partners point to one of the tracks doing well on some fringe station, the truth is that the album has failed to gain momentum locally. In fact, what is happening in local music right now is that there is a lot of celebrating junk. As long as one has a good budget, that is, deep pocketed backers and loud touts on Facebook and Twitter — they are guaranteed fake success.
Take, for instance, Jah Prayzah’s latest single “Asante”. It clearly lacks sting. The artiste seems to be alive to this fact as he goes out of his way to appeal to the psych of his “social media militia” by portraying himself as a victim? Victim of what? He just needs to let good music speak to fans not to use emotional or psychological tact to maintain relevance.
The video of the song is on point but sadly not the same can be said about the Tamuka- produced beat. Tamuka’s beats have become monotonous, no wonder he wants to concentrate on doing jingles than actual music.
On the other hand, music listeners themselves have become lazy. They want to be told what to listen to by DJs, bloggers and journalists — there is no culture of listening to music anymore to get, first hand, what would have been released.
Exceptional music from the likes of Victor Kunonga, Andy Muridzo, Alexio Kawara, Baba naMai Charamba, Leonard Zhakata and Selmor Mtukudzi, to name just a few, is denied a path to the top simply because they do not have touts and good budgets. They lack money for massive PR campaigns.
However, to an extent these same artistes are to blame, they are not doing enough to market their music.
Gone are the days of “nyama yakanaka inozvitengesa yega” — these days one has to sell their product hard. People will buy dog meat if it is what is put in front of them and is sold to them as if it were from an endangered pangolin. Kireni Zulu, for instance, must stop taking marketing of his unique genre for granted. Despite not making headlines every now and then like his counterparts, Zulu remains highly active. He constantly holds entrancing live gigs and has been releasing fascinating music. This is in addition to him helping identify and groom upcoming talent. Just last week we watched him play for decent crowds at two venues in Harare and his set was well supported by upcoming urban grooves artistes, comedians-cum-musicians and aspiring Marabi singers that are working under his tutelage.
In fact, he is funding the budding artistes’ recording and show costs, a thing that needs to be celebrated across board. However, no one seems to be noticing as attention he is not selling his music and projects out there. In the end, attention is reserved for the so- called big guns, even when they produce second-rate stuff.
This celebration of mediocrity has to stop!