PASTOR Charles Charamba has distanced himself from the album "Mwaka", which is reportedly selling like hot cakes on the black market in South Africa. "I don't normally comment on rumours.
But, needless to say, when I release a new album my local fans will be the first to know about it," he said.
According to reports emanating from Down South, Pastor Charamba's eight-track album was selling for R10 in Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, with some vendors making as much as R1 200 to R2 000 (about US$230) a day.
But, as it turned out, "Mwaka", which carries tracks such as "Unochemei", "Tendeuka", "Hatigone", "Mwaka", "Sauro", "Tapinda Tapinda", "Vongai Jehovah" and "Mukaka WaMai", is also available on Harare's streets.
There are apparently two versions of the album, one whose label reads "Charles Charamba and The Fishers of Men" while the other is titled "Charamba featuring Raymond Chakanyuka".
The Herald has since established that "Mwaka" is, in fact the work of up-and-coming gospel musician Raymond Chakanyuka.
"These guys are misleading the public by repackaging and putting Pastor Charamba's face and name on my album..
"As a musician who is trying to make a living from my God-given talent I am deeply saddened by this latest development which I find demotivating.
"There is nothing I can do as I have no power to bring these guys to book, but I hope and pray that the long arm of the law will act on piracy," said the 29-year-old.
Chakanyuka was, however, quick to say that he had nothing against Pastor Charamba, whom he regarded as a father figure, mentor and role model with whom he shares a cordial working relationship.
The upcoming gospel musician who, ironically sounds like Pastor Charamba, told the Herald Entertainment that he is often the supporting act for the gospel maestro during his shows in the Harare Gardens and Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex.
Chakanyuka says he has so far released three albums -- "Kanganwa Zvekare' (2008), "Mwaka" (2010) and "Chikopokopo" released in April this year.
Added Chakanyuka: "I am compiling some of my live performances on DVD so as to counter these pirates and prove to fans that I'm the composer of these songs now being marketed as Pastor Charamba's."
The video of title track "Kanganwa Zvekare" features regularly on national television. He has since formed a 10-member group, The Royal Family, which backs him during live shows that have taken them as far afield as Zambia and Namibia.
However, Chakanyuka is not the first rising gospel artiste to fall foul of pirates. In September, Mathias Mhere woke up one day to find his album "Anoita Minana" being sold under Mutare-based Blessing Shumba's name.