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Propping alternative music: new music alert

When everyone scrambles to get a piece of the hottest bands in town, chances of average bands and upcoming artists to make it become slim.  It is particularly, more difficult for the new comers who in most cases Indies. Life is tough and most of the young artists have pinned their hopes on music.

They seek to irk a living from their  talent but without a name many never live to see their dreams of filling stadiums come true. Details of Zimbabwe’s moribund economy are abundant in the public domain, I will not say much about it. I just hope that the economy will recover and in the process music promoters regain the confidence to gamble with new artists and of course seasoned but unheralded players.

As I pondered on what promoters could do when everything steadies, I realized that I was being stupid by not thinking of what I could do now. I didn’t need to think much because I then bumped into new music from yester year stars. How many of us would mention Man Soul Jah, Sani Makhalima, Prudence Katomeni, Joyce Simeti, Shame and Nathan if asked to name any musicians from Zimbabwe at the top of their head? Well these guys are still in the game and still producing hilarious content.  I will dedicate this article to the people who made my days when I was still in High School.


Nathan of the Shame and Nathan fame recently released his first project which carries two songs Ndiripo and Ndingadai, recorded at Oskid Productions. I immediately fell in love with Ndiripo it has that signature urban grooves Shame and Nathan sound. I should hasten to say that the Nathan sounds good without Shame. Typical of Urban Grooves, the song is not littered with unnecessary instruments. The emphasis is on the melody. It is a good sing along tune, one you can easily find yourself humming when you go through your day’s errands.

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Nathan sings of the love we grew up aspiring to have. A love which is premised on friendship and being there for each other. It’s rare to find a good love song from the current crop of hit makers which does not speak to how physically beautiful their partner is. It is as if eroticism determines what they pen. Nathan sings:

Ndiripo,iwe uripo hakuna chotibata kana

Nyangwe rima rouya unounza chiedza

Kana mufaro wapera wondipa mafaro

Kana zuva ropisisa samba rapera unondipa mvura yepachisipiti

(When I am there for you and when you are here for me nothing will destroy us. In darkness you are my light. You make happy when I am down. When it’s hot and I am drained of all my power, you bring forth cool     spring water.)

I think this is the kind of love which gives the name love making to sexual intercourse. I am in love with not just how Nathan made a good comeback but how he made love to the music. Ndingadai[1] is another good track but not as good as ndiripo. Of course the message is still mature but hey, it’s not just the text that sells a song. I feel the singing style betrayed Nathan. However, because he is singing about our dear mothers he might be able to excite the emotions of many but certainly not in any way close to what Ndiripo will do. The nostalgic urban grooves feel zones you in the love territory.

Nathan Chitenga started his musical carrier as Shame and Nathan. They worked with the late veteran producer Fortune Muparutsa to record their first song called I do in 1998, which was then released in 2000. In 2003, they teamed up with the Doyen of Urban Grooves Delani Makhalima and they recorded Aripo wangu and Ndinofara which were huge hits in Zimbabwe. A wedding was incomplete without Aripo wangu. The two tracks here are Nathan’s first solo efforts.

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Man Soul Jah

I am not sure if I should say Man Soul Jah the veteran musician cum musician or vice versa. I feel which ever order I take has an implication on what I think ranks better on his abilities. Anyway, because this is a music article, the legendary Roots Reggae musician Man Soul Jah released what I would classify under ‘songs that win the struggle’.

Titled Bad mind, a collaboration with Yulesis, this track sits in well with the current political strife in Zimbabwe. It is a song which at best sanctions the behavior of corrupt government officials. Man Soul Jah literally shrills piercing through the heart, courageously voicing what the ordinary Zimbabwean fears to say. Yulesis’s touch lends eternal life to the music. He is very soulful and blessed with an amazing vocal range. This song has English and Shona verses, where Man Soul Jah does the former and Yulesis sings in vernacular. In most parts the verses are a translation of the other language. I sincerely, hope that this song finds its way to the people. Hope the official censorship board and the unofficial censorship board at ZBC will realize that this song is relevant not just because of politics of the day but that it guides us on how we can possibly lead a sublime societal living where we do not disregard the next human being.

Bad Mind is a Deep Roots record production which was released on 20 September. Yulesis who features on the same song is the man behind Deep Roots Productions, making sure that Gweru stays relevant.

I am in love with how old wine tastes. Music which reflects the day affects the future and beyond!

[1] https://soundcloud.com/search?q=ndingadai%20nathan%20chitenga

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263Chat is a Zimbabwean media organisation focused on encouraging & participating in progressive national dialogue

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