Senior Arts Reporter
The year 2020 has birthed new artistes in the cut-throat music industry, with their exciting and refreshing sound giving traditional hit makers a run for their money.
Zimbabwe Music Awards (Zima) yesterday revealed the 2021 nominees list which was mostly dominated by newbies.
Consequently, there was debate on social media over the absence of big names like Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Mark Ngwazi, Alick Macheso, Selmor Mtukudzi, Van Choga and Gemma Griffiths.
But it has since emerged that most of the popular artistes did not submit their music or perhaps they did not have anything new.
Some of the new names that appeared on the list of nominees include Poptain, Anita Jaxson, Nutty O, Tongai Moyo (Jnr), Asaph, Baba Harare, Novuyo Shasha, Herman and Holy Ten. The big contenders include Janet Manyowa, Micheal Mahendere, Mambo Dhuterere, Nicholas Zachariah and Sulumani Chimbetu who were nominated for different categories.
Since Covid-19 struck early last year, little knowns have been hogging the spotlight, much to the bemusement of the big names that retired to their shells amid the pandemic.
The pandemic triggered the "new normal" that has transformed how artistes use digital platforms to showcase their music.
At no point should the Covid-19 pandemic be used as an excuse for those artists who sat on their laurels waiting for the lifting of the ban on social gatherings and concerts. For as long as there is an audience, artistes should continue to produce music. ZIMA should be commended for recognising artistes who have been creating awareness campaigns on the global pandemic.
There is a category for the Best Covid-19 song which saw musicians like Baba Harare, Kapfupi, Indosakusa, Nutty O, The Vine and Tocky Vibes. Veteran sungura musician Hosiah Chipanga's Covid-19 song simply titled "Covid-19" has been dominating the airwaves, but he is absent on the list of nominees, perhaps because he did not submit the song.
The gospel category, which is one of the most popular categories in the history of the awards, had no surprises with the likes of Minister Michael Mahendere and Janet Manyowa on the list.
Musicians in the diaspora have their category in which singers like South Africa-based Nox Guni and Shasha are nominated.
In the Zimdancehall category, its either Poptain or Nutty O when it comes to pushing of works in 2020 and it would be myopic to ignore Anita Jaxson too, while Jah Master literally owned the year with Hello Mwari.
But Jah Master's wayward and unexplained behaviour when he used a flying kick on a fan in Chinhoyi on stage should have disqualified.
Veteran guitarist and singer Nicholas "Madzibaba" Zacharia was nominated in the Best Sungura category together with the likes of Sulumani Chimbetu and surprise package Tongai Obert Moyo.
Madzibaba, who rebranded in 2020, dropped a video of his golden oldie, "Zomvelamvela" from his album "Yeuchidzo," as he sought to tap into the opportunities brought about through quality visuals to his music.
South Africa-based Zimbabwean Amapiano queen Shasha has continued to rule the music industry and this time around she has been nominated in two categories.
The awards are going to be held on February 20 at Country Club and according to organisers, they are waiting to see if the Covid-19 restrictions will have been eased so that they can have an audience, if not, the show will be held virtually.
Mystery surrounds the host of the show since ZIMA organisers are yet to announce the host and hostess, something which organisers of such events worldwide use to hype the ceremony.