The Herald (Harare)

25 January 2013

Zimbabwe: All Set for 'Batai Munhu' Gig

All roads lead to the Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex today where three of Zimbabwe's hottest musicians --Sulumani Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Madzibaba Nicholas Zakaria -- and the Dembo

Brothers square off in the official "First Gig" of 2013.

There were reports earlier in the week that Madzibaba had pulled out of the show, dubbed "Batai Munhu", after the chorus of Sulu's monster hit "Sean Timba".

But show promoter Josh Hozheri of Jazz 105 dismissed the reports saying as far as he was concerned he had a legally binding contract with the sungura maestro.

According to the Press reports, Madzibaba was unhappy that he was being paid less than the other performers. However, Hozheri insisted that if Zakaria had any grievances he was free to approach him in person and not via the Press.

Sulu, Jah Prayzah and Madzibaba need no introduction as their CVs speak for themselves.

"Mwana weDangwe", as Sulu is affectionately known, is currently riding high on the back of his latest album "Syllabus" released amidst pomp and fanfare at Jazz 105 in November last year. The album, his fourth, has spawned mega hits in the form of "Sean Timba" and "Njiva".

Sulu has earned the distinction of adding two new words or phrases to the music lexicon with "Sean Timba" (now a synonym for music pirates or those who reap where they did not sow) and "Batai Munhu", which is fast rivalling Alick Macheso's "Zora Butter" as an expression of merriment.

Then there is "Gochi- Gochi", Jah Prayazh's own signature tune. The Uzumba-born Mukudzei Mukombe might have not released an album of late, but he is creating waves at home and abroad.

Jah Prayzah is 2012's "Musician of the Year" if the recent Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola Top 50 is anything to go by.

The contemporary crooner saw three songs off his album "Ngwarira Kuparara" dominate the charts. "Chirangano Cherudo" was voted the most popular song while party anthem "Gochi Gochi" came second.

The song "Maria", whose video was voted the best in 2011 by ZBC producers, was in fifth position.

The fact that Jah Prayzah won the hearts of Radio Zimbabwe listeners, who are primarily a crossover audience, is ample proof that his music appeals to all age groups.

With 26 albums under his belt, Madzibaba is a veteran of the industry. He believes his latest offering, "Kurapa Nemanzwi", has brought glory to his illustrious music career as promoters are literally falling over each other to book him.

His rather plump physique and an unassuming character can get one into wrongly concluding that this man cannot sing let alone compose, sing and play the guitar.

Such is the humility of this musician, who has been a mentor to many other artistes, such as Alick Macheso, the late System Tazvida and Cephas Karushanga, just to mention a few.

The Dembo brothers, Morgan and Tendai, are the dark horses of the show.

Despite feuding among themselves, Morgan and Tendai are on a mission to revive their father's legacy and recently released their debut album titled "Kutsika Matsimba".

Morgan hogged the limelight for mischief on number of occasions and many critics saw him as a stumbling block to the revival of Barura Express, but the young artiste has since turned over a leaf.

Incidentally, all four artistes have been holding warm-up shows at the Jazz 105 for the last three weeks in preparation for the big bash. So the stage is now set for what promises to be an explosive gig.

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