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Gwevedzi Afro Acoustic Band Courts Zimbabwe With A New Sound


A few days ago, I felt I was a darling of the universe. For months I have been hunting for fresh music, almost gave up when the road led me to a dry spring. A chance meeting with Gwevedzi Afro Acoustics Band’s music on Tinashe Mutero’s Facebook timeline was sure proof that the universe awards those who are about to give up. If my attempt at lingua-larceny made you for a moment think that I am a man of great intellect then you need to listen to Gwevedzi’s Afro Acoustics recently released album, Tsambo. Our indigenous languages are a source of great wisdom and counsel, the young people making up Gwevedzi Afro Acoustics band are mining into the riches of our language to create beauties whose text has a life beyond the 2 or 3 minutes that they are played on radio. The young band writes music with dignity. Tatenda Rushwaya, James Butani, Wilfred Nikisi, Nyasha Murada, Tinashe Masangudza and Elvis Mahuna defy their age to put up an album rooted in our traditional musics and certainly poised to take routes around the world.

Gwevedzi is easily one of the very few Zimbabwean bands that are not led by fame and hype to make music. Listening to their music one cannot help but catch on their playful creativity. It gets you into their moment of creation where the spirit gets free and connects to a world of endless possibilities. Simply beautiful art! What makes them unique is their ability to harness musical resources from the various cultures in Zimbabwe. Their melodies, rhythms and song structures are varied yet distinctively Zimbabwean. It still amazes me to this date how they manage to infuse for example ‘Ndau’ and ‘Kore-kore’ rhythms.

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They recently released the debut album titled Tsambo, carries thirteen tracks all with an acoustic sound. All the tracks on the album contribute to telling a unique story of love from courtship to marriage. For those of us not familiar with tsambo or shambo, its a Shona name for bracelet used long ago when cooking oil was not a scarce commodity a bracelet was given as a sign of showing commitment to courtship. Speaking to Tinashe Masangudza and Nyasha Murada members of the six men ensemble I got a sense that behind the story of love that Gwevedzi tells in their album, tsambo is also courting those of us with an appetite for quality music.  They are ushering a new but somewhat familiar sound which I hope we will embrace. If we as Zimbabweans at home and abroad fail to embrace Gwevedzi then the world will do it for us. It’s only time before Gwevedzi accompanies Mokomba in their lonely sojourns around the world.

I wanted to attempt a review of Tsambo but I felt I am still too excited to do balanced review. Or maybe, I am inadequately tooled. One hopes that music critiques lurches on the beauty. Perhaps, Tinashe Mutero who has been sharing the music should?

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Journalist based in Harare

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