The Herald (Harare)

1 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Charambas Welcome 2013

Zimbabwe's First Gospel Couple, Pastor Charles and Mai Olivia Charamba, will usher gospel lovers into the New Year in style when they perform at Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza today. The concert, that has become a traditional event, will open floodgates of similar shows that the couple will hold during the course of the year, as they look further to strengthen their brand.

What is interesting about this show is that it comes at a time when most Christians and worshippers are engaged in different thanksgiving initiatives, like crusades, camps and fasting just to thank the Almighty for caring for them in the previous year.

It will therefore not be surprising to find that Christians across denominational divide will join the Charambas in worshipping the Lord through song and dance.

A spokesperson for the Fishers of Men, the band that backs the couple, Fungai Hondo, said the show was part of the couple's networking efforts with their legions of fans.

"At the beginning of each year, we organise a family show with the hope that our fans will meet with Baba naMai Charamba informally just to network and fellowship.

"That time of the year is also ideal for our fans from the Diaspora who will be home for the festive holiday," he said.

Tomorrow, Baba naMai Charamba will host yet another show at Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton, before taking a well-deserved breather.

In both shows, the couple is expected to play several hits that have made them household names in Zimbabwe and beyond.

Although they have released several albums, individually over the years, they always combine well whenever they are on stage.

Mai Charamba has got several albums to her name, supported with a string of hits that include "Pasi Idandaro", "Daily Bread" and "Africa".

On the other hand, her husband Charles is one of the most revered gospel artistes of our time.

Since he started out his career in music in 1997, with "Tinashe Akatendeka", Pastor Charamba has been consistently churning out songs, some plucked out of verses and chapters from the Bible while others were influenced by society.

He fuses gospel with sungura, jazz and sometimes jit so that his music appeals to a wider audience.

His music initially faced resistance from recording companies, who wanted him to adopt South African rhythms like that of Sipho Makhabane, Rebecca Malope and Vuyo Mokoena, who were already selling big in Zimbabwe.

But his persistence to release an original beat paid off, as evidenced by his first project "Jehovah NdiMwari Wedu".

Probably it was his 2001 recording "Sunday Service", that made Charles the star that he is today.

Several other albums followed "Sunday Service", including his 2010 release, "Pashoko Pangoma" with popular tracks such as "Nyika Zimbabwe", "Regera Kundisiya", "Murisimba Redu", "Ndakauraisa" and "Jehovah Ndiye" that is still topping the charts in the country today.

Pastor Charamba has conducted regional tours with The Fishers of Men, promoting Christianity through music.

In 2000, he toured Mozambique and was called back in 2001 and 2002. Again in 2002, and in 2003, he had the opportunity to tour the United Kingdom and the United States of America, where he performed to different Christian communities.

Olivia and Charles now perform at different functions across Zimbabwe and the region.

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