music reviewBy Richmore Tera
MUCH-TRAVELLED Zimbabwean gospel musician John Mutoko has taken his gospel music to another level by denouncing homosexuality, racism and sex changes which he witnessed during his stay in the United Kingdom.
This is revealed in most of the songs carried on his latest album titled "Dear Lord" which was recorded at MJ Studios in the United Kingdom.
The artiste, who was once based in Dubai in the Arab Emirates where he was a teacher, said the album was a reflection of the strange encounters he faced in the United Kingdom, where people especially those from Africa, were treated in an inhuman way.
"This album is basically about the bizarre behaviour that some people out there in the Diaspora have adopted.
"All is not rosy out there because we are sometimes treated as monkeys and this is when you realise that Zimbabwe is an orderly country," he said.
The artiste -who rose to prominence with songs like "Tsvakai Jesu Murarame" and "The Valley of Dry Bones" among others - said he decided to call the album "Dear Lord" as a plea to God to intervene and save the world from such vices.
"For me, 'Dear Lord' is like a prayer asking for God's favour for restoration," said Mutoko, who fell sick last year, almost dealing a severe blow to his music and professional career as a teacher.
The 10-track album opens with the song "Same Same neGomora", which equates issues of homosexuality and racism that are prevalent in some countries to the behaviour of the people of the biblical city of Gomorah.
In the song, Mutoko expresses his distaste at such issues and appeals to God's intervention.
The song is closer in meaning to "Kumawere" and "Mufaro Mwena" which also advise people to leave their bad ways and repent.
"Gogodza" is a song that gives hope to those in despair, while "Depression" talks about a person who is living in misery because of this condition.
Mutoko pays tribute to his late mother in the song "Musare Zvakanaka" whose lead vocals were done by Jonathan Mugazi, who also produced the album.
"Ndimi Munondichengeta", "Muumbi Wehari", "Ndinoshuwa Muponesi" and "Gogodza Instrumental" make up the rest of the playlist on the album.
The album also features Mugazi's wife, Mellisa, who did the lead vocals on the song "Ndinoshuva Muponesi" although Mutoko composes all the songs.
Meanwhile, Mutoko is scheduled to hold live performances in Luton in the United Kingdom on September 29 before he proceeds to Cape Town in South Africa on November 5.
The Cape Town show is promoted by Admire "Adzida" Rugare and will feature Zimbabwean gospel musicians Baba Machanic Manyeruke, Jonathan Mugazi, Tamuka Marodza and Amanda Sagonda, among other gospel artistes.
Mutoko - also known as "Mr Fantastic" in music circles - has recorded five albums to date: "Mwari Vakatendeka" (2007), "The Valley of Dry Bones" (2008), "The Voice of Silence" (2009), "Adelante" (2010) and "Dear Lord" (2012).
He has also performed in Dubai, Oman and Kenya.