Tanga Pasi raises bar

HARARE - When I listened to Plumtree-based music group Tanga Pasi last month at the Book Cafe, it evoked memories of my first encounter with Mokoomba in 2008 during the Music Crossroads finals in the Harare Gardens.

Tanga Pasi’s beautiful harmonies bowled me over just like the then Victoria Falls-based Mokoomba had done five years ago.

Interestingly, both groups hail from border towns. The similarity doesn’t end there-their music is both grounded on traditional African rhythms. Mokoomba have become an international brand because of their ability to play a captivating blend of Afro-fusion and traditional Tonga rhythms.

Tanga Pasi, which means start from scratch in Kalanga, are also afro-fusion masters. Their music is a potpourri of Kalanga and traditional Ndebele rhythms interchangeably blended with reggae, afro-jazz, and folk elements.

Like Mokoomba, who overcame all manner of odds to become one of Zimbabwe’s most recognisable music brands, Tanga Pasi appear destined for the top.

Led by the talented lead vocalist Sinini Ngwenya, who also plays the rhythm and acoustic guitars, the Plumtree-based outfit recently released an 11-track album Ntolontolo which Tanga Pasi believe will propel them to the top.

Plug tracks on the album include title track Ntolontolo, Propaganda, Africa, Elinye Ilanga, Tate Mutilise, Umqondo Wakho, Unenhlanhla, Street Kids and Sexy.

“People love our music”, said the dreadlocked Ngwenya.

 “We are very confident that someday we will make it big”.

 But for that to happen Tanga Pasi realise that they may have to relocate to a bigger city.

“Plumtree is our hometown and we obviously like it there but for the sake of our music career we are seriously considering changing base to a bigger city.

“The February show at Book Café was our first show in Harare. We were humbled by the support. Harare music fans appear more receptive to diverse all other Zimbabwe cities including Bulawayo. Hopefully we will get more opportunities to play here.Maybe someday we will move our base to Harare.”

Ngwenya told the Daily News that they are making moves to ensure they perform in the capital again soon.

“We applied to the Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa) hopefully they will give us to perform before Harare music fans. Hifa could also be our springboard for us to get international shows too”.

Tanga Pasi, formed in 2009, performed in Durban, South Africa during the COP17 conference in November 2011.The Plumtree group, who performed at the Victoria Falls Carnival last year, are expected to leave for South Africa this month for a series of shows.

The group is composed of Sinini’s wife British-born Pamela Ngwenya who is a backing vocalist and also plays the harmonica, melodica and percussions; Blessing Shamu on bass, Caleb Dube on drums and Peterson Moyo on keyboards. - Dakarai Mashava, Entertainment Editor

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