The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Zim Artistes Say It With Music

ZIMBABWE has been blessed with brilliant composers who have recorded some beautiful love songs over the years. With Valentine's Day still fresh, The Herald Entertainment looks at some of the top love songs by Zimbabwean artistes.

The list includes the late Leonard "Musorowenyoka" Dembo, Tongai" "Dhewa" Moyo, Jonah Moyo, Marshall Munhumumwe, Safirio Madzikatire, The Pied Pipers and Tanga wekwa Sando, to name but a few.

According to writer, researcher, film and music producer Joyce Jenje-Makwenda, love songs in Zimbabwe were recorded as far back as 1948.

She lists some of the earliest love songs as "Gwabi Gwabi Kuzwa" (George Sibanda, 1948); "Unolishwsa" (Dorothy Masuka, 1953); "Lindi" (Stephen Mtunyani (City Quads); "Iwe Maggie Huya Utore Tsamba Yako" (Simangaliso Tutani).

Others are "Rosvika Zuva Rekuti Iwe Neni Tidanane" by Faith Dauti and recorded in the 1950s, "Kana Usingandide Nditaurire (Euna Chipere, 1965)"; and "Isaac Hawuchandida Here?", "Dali Iwe, Dali Iwe"; "Dayi Tiri kwaHunyani" and "Mwedzi Muchena" -- the last four all by Susan Chenjerai.

"Ruva Rangu" by the Pied Pipers is a timeless love song dedicated to an absentee lover. Although it was penned long before the Diaspora became a fashionable word, it is still as relevant as it was when it was first recorded. No wonder, several artistes have done their own remixes since then.

The post-independcence era saw a proliferation of love songs as local musicians tried to outdo each other. There was Jonah Moyo & the Devera Ngwena Jazz Band with their own Romeo & Juliet in the form of "Solo NaMutsai", part of whose lyrics are reproduced below:

"Solo na Mutsai, vana vanodana ava; Nyangwe ukaita tujerasi hapana Zvinokubastira; Vana vanodana, magutu awomesa; Rudo rwavo rukuru shamwari pira kure; Solo na Mutsai, vana vanodana ava; Mangwana ndichaenda kwagutu kunotsvaga vangu Mutsai . . ."

Jonah Moyo did not stop there as he went on to record other gems such as "Barbra Mwana Wakanaka", "Ruva Remoyo Wangu" and "Nhayi Gremmah Wepamoyo".

Leonard Dembo weighed in with "Chitekete", which was played at the 1996 Miss World beauty pageant, held in Namibia, and was played over and over again at weddings, thanks to its catchy lyrics:

"Fungai ruva rechitekekte, chamai nababa; Pane zvino vatadza kurara; Nekufunga iwe, chitekete; Fungai ruva rechitekekte, watondipa musengwa; Handichakwanisa kufunga kana kurara . . ."

Musorowenuyoka also penned other masterpieces such as "Zuva Randakadana Newe", "Nzungu Ndamenya", "Sharai", "Venenziya" and "Pawpaw".

Polygamist Tongai Moyo had a long catalogue of hits dedicated to love in his extensive discography such as "Kapuka Kanonzi Rudo" in which he sings:

"Ndikafunga kapuka kanonzi rudo vakomana, dzimwe nguva hana yangu inorova; Pane vamwe vana baba vakatisiya pamusana pake iye rudo; Vazhinji vacho dzimba dzakatomira pamusana pake iye rudo; Vamwe vacho mabasa akatopera pamusana pake iye rudo; Vamwe vacho vakatisiya pamusana pake iye rudo . . ."

Ironically, Dhewa's first wife, Barbra Muchengesti, committed suicide in 2010 in protest over sharing the couple's matrimonial home with his second wife, Miniehle Mukweli.

Tongai Moyo is also remembered on Valentine's Day for other love ballads such as "Nemumvura Mese" ini which he urges couples to stay together through thick and thin, "Ndazvimba Mapapu", "Ndinotenda Dhiya" and "Zvinoita Murudo".

Love is a two-way traffic, so the ladies too have had their say over the years in both the good and bad times.

Plaxedes Wenyika's "Tisaparadzane" is all about a woman's lifelong commitment to her loved one. This is how she puts it: "Ndazvipira, pari zvino, ndazvipira; Kuva chido chemoyo wako; Pari zvino, ndazvipira; Kuva zvese zvaunoda; Ndiwe chipo changu chikuru; Ndichachitevera; Hakuna mumwe ane rudo rwangu; Uri zuva rangu, chiedza changu . . ."

On the other hand, "Wandirasa" by mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire is a cry from the heart of a woman scorned. She sings: "Something about you baby; Has touched me deep inside; I cant explain it to you; Nomatter how much I try to stay away; I know that it in me; I shall never be the same; You know I run around in circles; Pretending it aint you . . ."

The jury is still out on whether the self-styled "Dr Love", Paul Matavire, sang about love ("Ndagumbuka" excepted) or he was just good at firing broadsides at the fairer sex as exemplified in "Taurai Zvenyu", "Tanga Wandida", "Chipuka Ndipe Mwenje", and "Dhiabhorosi Nyoka".

Yet I know everything I ever wanted is in you; You turn, away tell me that it's a lie; Aah I keep wondering why; Wandirasa wandirasa wandirasa wandirasawo . . ."

The jury is still out on whether the self-styled "Dr Love", Paul Matavire, sang about love ("Ndagumbuka" excepted) or he was just good at firing broadsides at the fairer sex as exemplified in "Taurai Zvenyu", "Tanga Wandida", "Chipuka Ndipe Mwenje", and "Dhiabhorosi Nyoka".

One of the most enduring love songs of our time is Marshall Munhumumwe's "Rudo Chete":

"Dhiya iwe dhiya iwe; Usandione sekacheche; Rudo chete runondinetsa;

Usandione sendinopenga ini; Kana ndada munhu inini; Ndamudawo pachokwadi; Mudiwa wangu mudiwa wangu wo; Usandione sekacheche; Rudo chete runondishungurudza; Runonditadzisa kugara pasi; Ndikaswera ndisina kukuona; Zvinondirwadzawo pamoyo; Ndinoswera ndakakutakura

Mupfungwa dzanguwo shamwari; Ndichingofunga nyaya dzedu dziye . . .

Kana ndisina kukuona; Rudo chete runondituma; Kuti ndikutevere shamwari; Mudiwa wangu mudiwa wangu wo; Ndiudzewo pachine nguva . . ."

Love is a two-way traffic, so the ladies too have had their say over the years in both the good and bad times.

Plaxedes Wenyika's "Tisaparadzane" is all about a woman's lifelong commitment to her loved one. This is how she puts it:

"Ndazvipira, pari zvino, ndazvipira; Kuva chido chemoyo wako; Pari zvino, ndazvipira; Kuva zvese zvaunoda; Ndiwe chipo changu chikuru; Ndichachitevera; Hakuna mumwe ane rudo rwangu; Uri zuva rangu, chiedza changu . . ."

On the other hand, "Wandirasa" by mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire is a cry from the heart of a woman scorned. She sings:

"Something about you baby; Has touched me deep inside; I cant explain it to you; Nomatter how much I try to stay away; I know that it in me; I shall never be the same; You know I run around in circles; Pretending it aint you.

Yet I know everything I ever wanted is in you; You turn, away tell me that it's a lie; Aah I keep wondering why; Wandirasa wandirasa wandirasa wandirasawo . . ."

The jury is still out on whether the self-styled "Dr Love", Paul Matavire, sang about love ("Ndagumbuka" excepted) or he was just good at firing broadsides at the fairer sex as exemplified in "Taurai Zvenyu", "Tanga Wandida", "Chipuka Ndipe Mwenje", and "Dhiabhorosi Nyoka".

In the words of one relationship expert: "Love is about making an emotional appeal to the senses and to the heart." So, as you celebrate Valentine's Day today turn down the lights and turn up the volume. Or better still give your loved the gift of song in the form of CD from any the above artistes or the numerous others who have been left out on account of space constraints.

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