Zim beat forges ahead in SA

Recording contracts were not forthcoming for Zimbabwean artists here last year, but many still managed to shine.

Themba Mathe
Themba Mathe

From old names re-branding themselves to new arrivals rising to instant fame and established ones forging ahead, the Zimbabwean beat proudly went on.

No platform rewarded these good acts, but it would be folly to leave them uncelebrated. They flew their national flag high and kept their fans entertained.

Rhumba, most popular back home but for long hidden here, for the fist time managed to set the trend, appealing even to some locals. More than 30 artists recorded in this genre, but some names deserve special mention. House-kwasa, introduced by Cruz Moyo and propelled to instant success by Vivian, gave a welcome dimension to the industry.

We rank Zim artists according to the popularity of their recordings, combined with sales and attendance at their shows:

Inkanyezi Zezulu – The Imbube group were the best achievers here, winning a lucrative recording contract with a local company and getting nominated for the South African Traditional Music Awards. Singing like the Grammy Award-winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo, they came out second in the Best Isicathamiya music category.

Themba Mathe – He cut himself loose from popular Plumtree band, Mokis Connection, re-branded into Boyoyo and Mthimbani Sound Blasters in mid-November. Barely a month later, he hogged the limelight with his debut album as a solo artist, “Samarongo”, which sold more than 1 000 copies here in one day. The album became the most popular and most-played release by any Zimbabwean artist in this city.

Under the All Stars Music management, he held two shows that attracted a full house in central Johannesburg and did not disappoint in his performance. During the festive season, he went around Zimbabwe, where he held shows to launch both the album and his new identity, leaving fans asking for more.

Clement Magwaza – The fame he failed to get in his first four albums arrived after the release of “UNomathemba”. He is one of the rising rhumba stars, gifted with a sharp voice and dancing skills, while sending the relevant message. The song “Take Take” became his trump card.

Allen Ndoda – His 10th offering saw the Waya Waya artist maintain his status as the trend-setter in the expatriate musicians, with “Imbuz’entshontshayo” keeping him among the top performers.

Ndolwane Super Sounds – When two of the group’s remaining members split late in the year, Charles Ndebele refused to let the band’s name die. He recorded “Azibuy’emasisweni”, which gave their fans renewed hope.

Zee and Vivian – The House-kwasa pioneers refused to be pushed-over. Tired of the common beat, they deviated from the rest, teamed up with Cruz to launch a beat that has propelled them to stardom and looks there to stay. Having each released a solo album, they teamed up in Sekutheni, a worthy Christmas offering for their followers that flew off the shelves.

Zee and Vivian
Zee and Vivian

Ben Masuku – Undoubtedly the best among our gospel musicians here, he competes with South Africans with his second offering, Yehla Moya. The polished offering gives critics no room to find faults and deserves accolades.

Tholakele – She continued to break new ground, following the release of her second solo project, “Ngivulele Nkosi” with a twinning agreement with Botswana great, Isaac Maleyi. She led by example when she donated to charity in a fun-filled day at Berea Park late in the year, showing that she is not in it solely for fame and fortune.

Modias Chauke – As comical as they come, he followed the release of his album Ivila with a DVD that lives up to his status as one of the best entertainers.

Ndux Juniour – “Fakimali Uzobona” gave reasons why he became the second SA-based artist to be signed by Grammar, after Ndoda. One of the most loved by fans, as he fills venues every time he holds a show.

Africa Super Sounds – Young and gifted, the Trust Moyo-led band made headway with its second release, “Akelingitshele” and shows great potential, with a beat almost similar to that of the legendary Alick Macheso. He also held his own in shows against experienced acts Mathe and Magwaza.

Post published in: Entertainment

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