Musicians need synergies

HARARE - Zimbabwean musicians have over the years forged ties with each other, creating exciting partnerships that have gone beyond marketing their brands.

One of the most effective options which local musicians have exploited is the official launch of their new albums.

The recent launch by Guspy Warrior of his album Wedzera Mawattz at the Harare Gardens was more than spectacular as it created market awareness to the young man’s product.

While album launches were usually held indoors and mostly at nightclubs, Guspy Warrior’s launch at the vast space was overwhelming as hundreds of youthful fans turned up.

And it was not just an ordinary launch as several dance hall musicians graced the event with song and dance.

Dancehall stars Dhadza D, Freeman, Soul Jah Love, Killer T, Bounty Lisa, Jiggaz and Ricky Fire all performed.

The noise around the launch and the media coverage meant that Zimbabweans from all corners were aware of the impending release.

Equally, national radio has instantly taken interest in the new album; hence its publicity is enhanced further.

I am reminded of Guspy Warrior’s album launch which I think is a good marketing gimmick by the engagement of two dancehall love birds – Soul Jah Love and Bounty Lisa.

The two’s engagement took place at Harare Gardens on April 5 and like the Guspy Warrior album launch, several dancehall musicians making the loudest noise performed.

It was a good opportunity for young and aspiring dance hall musicians as they had this large audience.

The engaging couple has musician friends, in particular in the dancehall circuit and all of them send their blessings to the two through songs and dance.

Knowing well how dancehall musicians compose and react to current situations, there were several love songs composed especially for this occasion.

It reminds me of Zexie Manatsa’s wedding early in the 70s which was held before a packed Rufaro Stadium.

It was unheard of that a wedding could take place in such a big stadium, but his fans rallied behind him and made sure it was spectacular.

A number of prominent musicians performed during Manatsa’s wedding, a synergy that I see developing within the local music industry.

I can imagine today star musicians like Alick Macheso, Suluman Chimbetu and even Jah Prayzah holding a public wedding.

It would be massive, I tell you.

In the recent past, we have also witnessed a trend in which local musicians have been teaming up and holding single gigs.

At times more than five music bands come together for a single gig, notwithstanding the different festivals that are themed.

Not so long ago, musicians had the urge to perform solo, but all that was gone as popular musicians like Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi partnered to power single gigs.

A fast growing trend has been of popular musicians teaming up with upcoming musicians still trying to find their feet on the showbiz market.

Fierce as it is, the showbiz market is fraught with audience competition and mystifying by musicians usually leads to flops.

A clever musician in Zimbabwe today will sure partner others for various reasons, chief among them the popularity of the other at the time.

In partnering each other for gigs, musicians have also avoided a situation where they have to perform for long hours.

In the past we used to have our musicians performing for more than nine hours but this proved to be an abnormal task.

The coming together of musicians at various forums has also seen collaborations on songs as musicians duet and aid each other in composing and singing.

Today, from urban grooves, dancehall, gospel to sungura the local music industry has released multiple hit duet songs too many to mention.

Established musicians have sang on upcoming musicians’ albums where they have added their finesse in production and song writing.

Macheso, Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah and Leonard Zhakata who are among the cream of local musicians have supported aspiring artistes by lending their expertise.

I have also been impressed with local musicians as they attend each other’s album launches which are usually held in clubs.

Apart from meeting at funerals, albums launches are the only platforms where musicians from all walks of life can meet informally and socialise.

Usually at these album launches musicians have the chance to meet industry players, music producers and engineers, radio DJs, print journalists and live show promoters.

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