21 October 2018

Zimbabwe: Top-Drawer Display At Manyowa Album Launch

EXCELLENCE was on display last week on Saturday as gospel music lovers bore testimony to the successful album launch and DVD recording by songstress Janet Manyowa at an exquisite event, which ran under the theme Grateful Hearts - Lifted Hands.

The thousands of fans, who were fortunate to be a part of the fully-packed auditorium at the Celebration Centre in Harare, came to witness the launch of Manyowa's album titled Grateful and will agree with me that what they saw on display was ample proof of what it takes to successfully launch an album.

During many album launches that I have witnessed in Zimbabwe, many gospel musicians do not look beyond the mastering and manufacturing of their CD or video, which they prioritise as the finish line.

They assume that everything else that would make their project marketable will happen on its own.

These musicians usually do not have an album release plan in place or committee put in place to organise the launch.

Their only hope is that their hard work in the production of the album and the money invested will do the trick to entice fans to purchase the music.

However, there is need by the artistes to build maximum interest in advance of the album's release by turning the album launch into an event that fans would eagerly anticipate.

This is what the organisers of the launch of Manyowa's 11-track album did.

This was done by creating hype through the mainstream media, while social media accounts were busy sharing pictures and video clips of the pending event to psyche up fans about the upcoming album launch.

High-profile local and international gospel artistes were roped in to the event to attract a wider audience and this paid off as the show was sold out despite the relatively high cost of the tickets.

Trending South African gospel star Dr Thumi as well as the gospel couple Ntokozo Mbambo and Nqubeko Mbatha were part of the international cast.

Veteran artistes Pastor G and United States-based singer Shingisai Suluma led the local artistes who included Tembalami, Shower Power, Celebration Choir and Call to Worship.

Rising Bulawayo-based comedian-cum-singer Nceku kept the audience's ribs busy with his jokes during the breaks.

Mbo Mahocs (real name Mbonisi Mahonondo) of popular South African soap Scandal, and Star FM's Kudzai Violet Gwara, affectionately known as KVG were among the presenters.

It was Call to Worship who warmed up the stage before one of the country's top young gospel musicians Tembalami did what he knows best -- getting the fans on their feet to dance to his popular tracks.

Pastor G then gave the fans a taste of songs from his upcoming album Victory 1911, in a display that left the fans clamouring for more from the veteran artiste.

The South African couple of Mbambo and Mbatha were next on stage before Manyowa did her duet with Suluma, on the song Muchengeti.

Manyowa entranced the crowd with a powerful worship song, NdiMwari.

The title of that song gave due credit to who was behind the successful hosting of the memorable event -- God the Amighty.

Finally, Dr Thumi came on stage and sang along with the crowd tracks such as There is No Other Name and Reign in My Life.

It was a night that will linger in the memories of most of the fans and it was also a learning curve for fellow gospel artistes on how to handle album launches.

While I agree that they may not have the same depth in financial resources, these are matters of faith and, therefore, the ball is their court.

You may contact the columnist, Albert Masaka, on email: albertmasaka7@gmail.com

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