20 January 2019

Zimbabwe: Baba Harare Misfired

Listening to Afro-fusion musician Braveman "Baba Harare" Chizvino's highly-anticipated album Ramba Wakadzvanya, which was released last week, is a mind-numbing experience and coming from a musician enjoying the sort of attention he has been of late, he needs to rethink a few things.

There is no doubt that he has been faced with a mammoth task to match or surpass his second album Minamato YaRasta, which contains mega-hit The Reason Why (Hat Dzemurara), but when one listens to the latest 10-track offering they are lost in translation as to where exactly he is headed.

Listening to a song like Bhinya Ibhinya, the ordinary arrangement of beat and coinciding lack of comprehensive lyrics almost points to a rushed product, added to it is the disappointing sampling of his song titled Guzuzu.

On Nhonga Nyama, one is confused between sympathising with the heart-wrenching story of a child born in poverty or merely his love for meat which he overly emphasises.

Perhaps Baba Harare's other option apart from jiti is Kanindo as the nicely weaved Gule Wamkulu anthem titled Maine Gule proves.

Meanwhile, the song titled Mafuta is sounds sexist and the weak lyrics for an equally lousy beat could leave a feminist seething with rage.

Standing as testament of his identity crisis is Mhoro Baby -- a half-hearted acapella song laced with comedy -- which might be a bonus track, but exposes the musician's wandering mentality.

Although the hook on Sadza neBhinzi is catchy, the message is suspect as it stinks of vulgarisms, a trait the musician has proven too comfortable to express in past releases. This is not sustainable and could discourage other listeners from wanting to associate with his music.

However, the album is not a complete write-off with songs like Kamunakiro and Kuchema Mambo some of the stand-out tunes one would want to hear again.

The title track is evidence that jiti is probably the best way he could maintain relevance although he still has to choose whether to be a musician or comedian.

Put bluntly, Baba Harare's moment of brilliance is in the emergency room and he may need to stick to jiti in future if he is to maintain his relevance in the highly competitive music industry.

If he sticks to the current album style, it could make him a connoisseur of confusion and thwart any of his prospects to grow as a solo artiste.

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