Zimbabwe: Macheso's Early Xmas Gift

4 December 2020

Shakespeare says, "Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them."

Ace sungura musician, Alick Macheso, aptly fits the epithet as he has proven against all odds that he indeed deserves a place in that genre's royalty.

Tracking his roots from his days with mentor Nicholas "Madzibaba" Zakaria, Macheso's stock is ever rising.

The question that remain unanswered is how has he managed to remain on top of his game for over two decades?

His consistency and resilience have catapulted him to the pinnacle of the sungura music genre.

Some music critics argue that Macheso has remained one of the greatest artiste of all time because of his versatility - strumming the bass guitar with great finesse, excellent vocals laced with a Nyanja accent and nimble footwork.

He invented the Borrowdale dance that took the nation by storm and has become his signature move. All these attributes makes him one of the greatest of all time.

His choice of venues have also catapulted him to stardom.

He can entertain people of various social standing and at any venue - whether uptown, downtown or internationally.

Only the late Tongai Moyo remains one of the few sungura musicians that gave Macheso a run for his money.

Moyo had excellent deportment, a unique voice and commanded a huge following.

Before his death, Moyo found his name in country's big five league that also included Jah Prayzah, Macheso, Winky D and the late Oliver Mtukudzi.

Mtukudzi was in a class of his own and we cannot possibly compare him to Macheso as their genres are completely different. Mtukudzi died with his crown as king of Katekwe music intact.

Macheso was naturally left in his own league following the death of the two music greats -- Moyo and Tuku.

The common denominator between Macheso and Tuku is the depth of their lyrics.

What must not escape the minds of music lovers is that Macheso is not the last man standing in the genre because there are a lot of upcoming sungura stars.

Macheso seems to always reinvent himself with the changing times as he has embraced social media platforms as part of his marketing strategy.

But what makes Macheso tick is the brand he created. Today, the nation awaits in anticipation as he is set to release his latest single titled "Zuro ndiZuro".

In an interview with The Herald Arts, Macheso hinted that the single is a bonus track off his forthcoming album. He decided to release it ahead of the Christmas celebrations as a gift to his fans.

"We had plans to release a full album this 2020 but because of the Covid-19 induced lockdown, our plans were put in disarray, hence the release of the single "Zuro ndiZuro" which will be a bonus track on the new album.

"'Zuro ndiZuro' is both a gift to the fans and a taste of what's to come. We are excited about this project and we believe it's going to do justice to the fans' expectations.

"Besides the lockdown related operational challenges which have made life difficult for our members who rely on earnings from live shows, everyone is excited about the new release. Fellow Orchestra Mberikwazvo founding member Zaka Zaka is back and he brings a certain depth and dimension to the outfit," he said.

"We have recorded over seven songs that can make for a good album, but beyond online sales, we have plans for a fully-fledged album launch, hence the delayed release. We hope the single will be a befitting Christmas gift to our cherished fans."

The single comes at a time when morale is high in the Macheso camp following the return of Orchestra Mberikwazvo founding member Zaka Zaka. He dumped his Chilli Boys outfit to re-join the all-conquering Chitungwiza Aquatic Complex-based outfit.

Macheso said that the song encourages followers to avoid living in the past life, but to embrace diversity regardless of differences they may be facing.

Macheso's publicist, Tich Makahamadze, said the single will be available on various online streaming platforms like iTunes, Amazon and YouTube, and there are plans to engage local streaming platforms for the benefit of Zimbabwean fans.

"The single 'Zuro ndiZuro' will be out today and we have done all we can to make sure that the single is released without any glitches. The song will be available on most streaming platforms from 11am and we encourage all our fans to support us by buying it and visiting our platforms, including the official Alick Macheso YouTube channel," Makahamadze said.

On piracy and live show related challenges because of Covid-19, Makahamadze said they had put in place plans to maximise on online sales and other digital platforms.

"We have been working flat out to ensure meaningful online presence both for effective brand communication and music sales.

"We are working closely with public relations and branding agency Esteem Communications to ensure maximum return on our music and we are geared for the best," Makahamadze said.

Macheso remains one of the most respected performers and his fans have been nagging him for a full album. It remains to be seen if the new single will whet their appetite as they await the full album to be released in 2021.

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