The genre was criticized as an immature, bubble gum type of music which would quickly fade away. The artists were further castigated as “misguided youths” and “one-hit-wonders” who languished in obscurity after making headlines for a stint.
In a quest to cleanse themselves from the evils of the industry, the genre saw the emergence of several upcoming musicians such as the godfather David Chifunyise of the Tauya Naye (we brought her) fame, Crystals of the Viva Baby fame, Nesto and Plaxedes Wenyika of the Tisaparadzane (let’s not separate) hit, amongst other notable singers.
Despite the popularity of these musicians, the youngsters continue to be castigated as a “misguided flock.” This period was followed by a hive of sprouting recording studios such as Makastrataz, Galaxy, Phathood Entertainment, Chamhembe, Chigutiro, Baseline and Native Studio (now Native House) thereby giving birth to names such as Alexio Kawara, Rockford “Roki” Josphats, Ngoni Kambarami, Betty Makaya, Decibel, Mafriq, Nasty Tricks, Maskiri, Extra Large, Madiz, Sku and XQ of the Musalala (modern youth) fame.
This was the same period the then-controversial minister of Information and Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo introduced the 75 per cent local content as part of promoting local musicians. The policy was dismissed by music analysis stamping the pollution of airwaves with half done products-leading to rampant piracy of the music.
However, over a decade after the birth of the genre, a lot has changed as far as the direction, relevance, quality and popularity of urban grooves. The genre is now considered to be one of the leading music genre in the music industry alongside sungura. The youthful musicians have collaborated and shared the stage with local and internationally celebrated artists.
Such can be said about XQ’s collaboration on his song Pane Rudo (there is chemistry) with superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and Cindy Munyavi duet performance with Jamaican reggae and dancehall icon Beenie Man last year. Not to mention the fact that it is the only music genre with the most categories in local music awards-three slot in the Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA).
However, the “misguided flock” as critics referred to urban groovers, proceeded to clinch crucial awards ahead of prominent and renowned musicians, such can be said about Roki (NAMA 2007) and Winky D (NAMA 2011).
The youthful movement has gone a step further ahead of its peers-sungura, gospel, jazz and chimurenga music by forming its own organisation called Urban Grooves Association (UGA) last year. The organisation primarily deals with issues to do with piracy, welfare, remuneration and prosperity of the genre in particular.
The genre should be credited for offering refuge to thousands if not millions of local youths who constitute 70 per cent of the country’s population at a time when the government is failing to offer jobs to these youths after accomplishing their studies.Post published in: Uncategorized