Music makes me happy. It’s my go to place when I need something to evoke different emotions within me. From getting myself in a good mood, going for my morning run, dancing with my daughter, unwinding after a long day at work…music is art!
I have always been a fan of music but it was mostly international music. It was only in the early 2000’s that a genre titled “Urban Grooves” emerged that I started paying attention to our local music. It was advocated that all local radio stations were to play 75% local content by local artists. What I loved was that most of the artists sang in Shona, bonus!!! Back then music was soulful, it was rich and high school boys would use that to their advantage and dedicate songs to their potential girlfriends on radio and automatically had almost every high school going child tuned in to listen in case you got a “dedication.” These are the times where song books and auto books were a big hit but that’s a story for another day. They were still good times indeed!
Enter 2005 a new genre of music appeared on the scenes, ZimDancehall. Can you believe that nearly 12 years later it’s still going strong and racking in listeners both young and old? What I love about ZimDancehall is that the artists are telling their story as it is, there is no sugar coating there. They sing their truth! However, ZimDancehall is not everyone’s cup of tea and some people criticise it stating that it is shallow. What some people don’t realise is that it is the day to day reality of a group of people whose existence we don’t like to acknowledge but form a large part of our culture (our real CULTURE not our traditional). The fact that we keep shunning issues that are on the ground is probably part of the reason why some people are failing to be themselves.
Please be friends with YouTube to get to watch the videos or listen to the audios. Below is a list of my top 10 favourite tracks in no particular order; straight out of the heart of Zimbabwe, please note that the genres vary.
- Nhema: ExQ and Killer T
- Ndipe Rudo: Sani Makhalima
- Penge Penge: Tytan
- Million Reasons: Prayersoul
- 25: Winky D
- Pain Killer: Stunner
- Alleluya: Roki and ExQ
- Ndiyende: Celscius
- Wakandipedzera Nguva Yangu: Selmor Mtukudzi
- Dai Zvaibvira: Killer T
I asked an artist and friend, Prayersoul his thoughts on the music industry in Zimbabwe;
There is no fixed structure in Zimbabwe for people to know what’s hot and what’s not. For example, the reason we all know about Cassper Nyovest is because of Channel O, Trace Africa, MTV Base and all the other music channels available on DSTV. They have a strong media presence and this gives consumers access to them. If Cassper Nyovest does a video it will go to different fans from Africa, South Africa alone has nearly 55 million people! He has demand and can send out emails to African promoters to let them know he will be in their country if they want to book a show. Zimbabwe musicians are not getting this type of exposure. If there was one channel that we all watched in Zimbabwe and it wasn’t Dstv; think a Zimbabwe “Dstv”. Then everyone in the industry wanting to grow and get popular would try and get on it and viewers will get to know who is who and increase their chances of bookings.
What is your favourite music genre in your country? Have there been any collaborations that have gone international? What do you like or dislike about the music from your country?