'I don't believe in ancestral spirits'

HARARE - Jah Prayzah, whose music is laced with relics of the ancient Shona religion, says he does not believe in ancestral worship.

The Uzumba-born musician’s intimate knowledge of the Africa traditional religion and the almost trance-like demeanour he assumes when he sings songs like Machembere and Ngwarira Kuparara, has led many to believe that the lanky musician sings under the influence of ancestral spirits.

But Jah Prayzah laughed off suggestions that he is an “apostle” of African Traditional Religion.

“I was born in a Christian family; I grew up in the United Methodist Church,” said the Tsviriyo singer.

“As a family, we never believed and we still don’t believe in the power of the dead and such traditional African practices like brewing beer to appease ancestors.”

The rising singer told the Daily News on Sunday that music fans believe that his stagecraft is too good to be from “a mere mortal”.

“Nothing delights me than to hear fans saying I did my acts while possessed by spirits of my ancestors.

“All this just shows that I am really good on stage. I must be surely doing something right for people to make all these assumptions.”

The National Arts Merit Award winner attributes his deep knowledge of Shona tradition and language to reading.

“I have always had a great passion for epic Shona novels and that is the main reason why I am well-acquainted with African traditional religion,” he told the Daily News on Sunday.

“I read all Shona novels I could lay my hands on when I was still at school and that is why I am able to compose deep Shona lyrics that bring alive African culture.”

Jah Prayzah also revealed that he learnt to play the mbira when he was still a student at Musanhi Secondary School in Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe.

“My geography teacher called Mr Musimbe, who was very friendly to me, taught me to play the mbira because he was very good at it,” he said.

“Initially Mr Musimbe would play the mbira and I would do the singing.

“We used a small recorder to capture our music.

“That was around 2001 and from then on, I developed a strong attachment with the mbira.”

The award-winning musician is proud to be the first musician in his immediate clan.

“I did not inherit singing from any close relative that I know of.

“In fact, my father, a former headmaster, and my mother are, to this day, still surprised by my decision to take music as a career and my deep knowledge of Shona customs and traditions which are totally foreign to our family,” said Jah Prayzah.

The energetic musician has five albums under his belt which are: Rudo Nerunyararo, Sungano Yerudo, Ngwarira Kuparara, Tsviriyo and Kumbumura Mhute.


Comments (6)

Ngwarai vanhu vehama zvine svikiro mukati izvi. Muchinda haatozivi kuti pastage arikujoinwa nesimba raasingatendi kwariri.

jiri - 27 July 2014

Ngwarai vanhu vehama zvine svikiro mukati izvi. Muchinda haatozivi kuti pastage arikujoinwa nesimba raasingatendi kwariri.

jiri - 27 July 2014

Simple test: Isaiah 43:21 "This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise." Does your music fulfill this? If not, check yourself-who then is getting the praise God is supposed to get??? Food for thought

Worshiper - 28 July 2014

@ Worshipper, kusiyana kwemabasa. " Handikumbire handikumbire, handigogodze kune varere kumakuva....ngaikoromoke Changamire vana vararame. I see nothing wrong with his music he just mek sure everyone gets his dose. We cant all be gospel singers baba.

Mhofela - 28 July 2014

Jay Prayzah is displaying his ignorance if he says he does not believe in traditional spirits. His songs and prowess on the mbira suggest he is not telling the truth. How can such a role model be ashamed of his traditional beliefs?

Disaster - 28 July 2014

I used to take this guy seriously thinking he was a mhondoro in the making but I realised he was a fake. For sure let him focus on his military style osiyana ne chivanhu cheedu.

Emru Kunanti - 29 July 2014

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