The Herald (Harare)

16 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Namatayi Polishes Debut Album

Songbird Namatayi Chipanga is puttinh the fimishing touches on her first album due for release later this year. The wholly gospel album will feature a number of duets with her husband, Charles, who is a praise and worship leader at the Tebernacle of Grace church led by Apostole Java.

The couple, who were part of the famed Black Spirits, that is superstar Oliver Mtukudzi's backing group, have done well previously when Charles released his first solo studio album titled "Prayer Expose (Namatayi)" though it was snubbed by radio DJs.

However, Prayer Expose (Namatayi) got rave reviews from critics who described it as a refreshing album with different sound. This was largely due to the fact that Charles' mastery of the marimba was unmistable from start to finish.

Arguably one of the most talented female voices in Zimbabwe, Namatayi is set to unleash herself as a solo artiste after spending over 10 years in the shadow of other musicians.

According to Charles, Namatayi was at first not keen on recording the album but with a bit of encouragement from him she decided to have a go at it.

"This is our next project which we hope it would do better on the market.

"Namatayi is a talented singer and since I am a big fan of her music I urged her to record this year.

"I love her voice and her singing too. This is why I featured her on my debut album, but this time she is going to go through it all as a solo performer," he said.

Namatayi's vocal clarity is evident in most of the songs she recorded on Mtukudzi's albums.

With support from Charles, the couple has given birth to what is known as the Gospel Hub, a showcase for gospel musicians who come together on a fortnightly or monthly basis to network, perform and exchange notes.

So far, the Gospel Hub has been successfully held in Harare and Kadoma, Charles's hometown.

Charles gave a marimba flair to Tuku Music and when he left the band to pursue his music career Mtukudzi reintroduced the keyboards.

Besides recording, Charles and Namatayi run a chain of businesses that include a taxi company, event management, voice coaching, marimba and dance lessons.

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