The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Gospel Accapella Gains Popularity

Accapella gospel music, which is commonly referred to as music without instruments, is slowly gaining popularity among gospel music lovers in Zimbabwe.

With increasing appreciation of the quality of the music by gospel music promoters coupled with numerous invitations to perform in different parts of the country by established accapella gospel music groups, there is indication of how much the music genre is gaining acceptance among Zimbabweans.

While many different gospel groups have mushroomed across Zimbabwe offering different music styles, it seems only a few accapella gospel groups have been formed.

It, however, appears that funding problems are holding back growth of the music genre, very few groups have managed to record albums. That said, accapella music has managed to survive over the years with many young and up-coming groups now focusing on holding performances in churches and other functions.

In Zimbabwe, gospel accapella music which has always been overshadowed by other genres, has steadily gained acceptance and growth in popularity among consumers of gospel music.

While sound management can be attributed to the success of a few accapella groups, it is the consistency and dedication to producing good quality music among the current crop of established accapella gospel groups that will give accapella music a respectable position in the local music industry.

Among groups that have remained consistent over the years are Shower Power which is currently celebrating its 20th anniversary and has up to date recorded seven albums since its inception in 1992.

Elsewhere, accapella groups which are doing equally well include United States- based Zimbabwean Innovators, United Kingdom-based Masowe Echishanu, South Africa-based Anchor, Lighthouse, Reunion Zimbabwe and Firm Faith among others.

Apart from showing consistency and dedication to producing good music, another factor which has given accapella music an edge over other forms of music is the ability of members to connect their voices while singing different vocal parts which also symbolises a group's structural unity or organisation.

Many followers of accapella music would agree that the other the reason why they love this genre is that it gives individual group members an opportunity to demonstrate their vocal abilities through fronting their groups in selected songs.

I had an opportunity to attend a CD launch of one of Zimbabwe's accapella groups, Firm Faith, on Sunday last week where the turn-out showed how much gospel accapella music is gaining popularity among gospel music lovers in Zimbabwe.

The concert-style CD launch, which was held at the Meikles Hotel in Harare, was attended by Pastor and Amai Olivia Charamba, who were the guest artists, while Shower Power and South Africa-based saxophone player Joshua Maponga gave supporting performances for the group.

While accapella music is usually not danceable, many people who attended the CD launch could not help but sway and sing along to the songs some of which they had had an opportunity to enjoy after Firm Faith sang their songs in their different churches and other venues.

With most tickets to the CD launch sold out during the course of the event, one could clearly see that accapella music is slowly gaining acceptance among Christians particularly in Zimbabwe.

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