NEW: Sungura genre stands the test of time

17 Apr, 2024 - 13:04 0 Views
NEW: Sungura genre stands the test of time

The Sunday Mail

Theseus Shambare

SUNGURA music is proving to be one of the local genres that has stood the test of time.

The turn of millennium saw the rise of new genres like ‘urban groove’ and ‘Zim hip hop’, which dominated the airwaves at the time.

Facing stiff competition on the airwaves, the sungura genre was staring at the Grim Reaper.

Sungura heavyweights, Leonard Dembo, System Tazvida, John Chibadura and many others had departed, while fans were still yearning for their music.

Sungura music seemed to be on the verge of collapse.

The rise of Tongai Moyo and Alick Macheso, and their rivalry marked an interesting twist for the sungura industry.

The duo successfully covered the gap that had also been dominated by the likes of Simon Chimbetu, Leonard Dembo and the group Pengaudzoke.

Even promoters crossed swords in the sungura terrain, as Tongai Moyo and Alick Macheso clashed.

Unfortunately, Tongai Moyo succumbed to cancer early into his career.

The ‘King of Sungura’, as Macheso is fondly known, cried uncontrollably during the funeral. He felt the void.

It was not just the loss to the sungura family, but to the entire show business industry.

Some observers believed that this was the final nail onto the sungura coffin.

However, against all odds, the genre seems to have the proverbial nine lives.

While Suluman Chimbetu and his brothers, Peter Moyo and the Dembo brothers have rode on their fathers’ works, the genre has seen some “unknowns” rising to fame.

After failing to win the 2013 Chibuku Road to Fame title, Mark Ngwazi soldiered on to stardom.

The “Nharo ne Zvinenharo” hitmaker had to wait until his fifth album to finally make waves in 2022, after releasing the “Taurai Madzoka” album.

He quickly grabbed headlines, with some even going out of their way to compare him with “Sungura King” Macheso.

Ngwazi went on to win an award at the Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA).

His Brother, Tendai Ngwazi, followed in his footsteps, with his last year’s exploits considered to have outshined Mark, when he came first on the end-of-year radio countdown.

What is next?

While sungura has been associated with older singers, and with talented youths preferring the contemporary genres, new developments seem to be giving the sungura genre another lifeline.

Although not yet widely known, the Chimonya brothers seem to be destined for greater heights.

Fronted by their father, Shadreck (36), the two brothers, Endeavour (13) and Organiser (11) are the bedrock of the Young Boys band.

Endeavour drew the attention of many people recently on social media platforms, when his video went viral online while he was playing bass guitar with ease.

Just listening to the sound, one would be forgiven for mistaking the boy’s touch to that of Macheso.

Despite his young age, the teenager plays like a professional.

He is a lead vocalist and can also play all other band instruments.

Endeavour is the one who teaches all new members how to play guitars.

“It all started as mischief while back home in Chimanimani, when I would steal my father’s guitar and teach myself during his absence.

“When I had grasped some skills, I started teaching my young brother who eventually mastered the rhythm guitar,” Endeavour told The Sunday Mail Online in an interview.

His father, Shadreck, believes that it is pure talent that he and his sons have.

“I caught them red-handed playing my guitar, although it was mischief. I decided to support them and started to work with them.

“They seem to be more talented than me, although I helped them with the basics,” said Shadreck.

Now based in Limpopo province, South Africa, Shadreck works as a builder, specialising in stonework, while his two sons are schooling there.

The family still hopes to take their sungura music further.

“These boys are gifted. While they play instruments well, they also excel in their studies. The older one is in grade 8, and the younger one is in grade 6,” said the father.

“I work here, but I frequently come home, and we want this music to be known on both sides of Limpopo.”

Their music is in Shona and Venda, although their Ndau accent can still be easily detected.

Earlier in April, Young Boys released an album titled “Mudiwa Wangu Unozvinyanya”, which has five tracks.

“Generally, our music is a commentary to our everyday experiences. This album focuses on domestic issues being on the rise. Commenting on how some fail to get peace at home with their spouses and prefer to spend more time at work or in bars with friends.

“We try to advise people on how they can learn to embrace their spouses’ faults, while focusing on the good side.

“This is the project we hope might break our new ground and put us in the limelight,” said Shadreck.

They hold shows for free around the Thohoyandou area in South Africa, and they are popular in areas like Chipinge, Checheche locally, and in some parts of the border-lying areas of Mozambique.

“We are still looking for sponsors to assist us with money to buy instruments. The few that we own are back home in Chimanimani, but they are a bit backward and the system is of low quality and is meant for small crowds,” he said.

With the generation of “Ama 2K” having embraced this genre, it seems sungura is here to stay, with probably more surprises yet to come.

X: @TheseusShambare




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