Promoters blast Zim dancehall artistes

HARARE - Three leading music promoters have warned that lack of professionalism prevalent in the Zim dancehall sector could trigger a slump in the fortunes of the artistes.

Award-winning promoters Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza, Josh Hozheri and Biggie Chinoperekwei last week decried rampant multi-booking, violence and haphazard changing of managers that characterise the genre.

Chimbodza, the director of Chipaz Promotions, underscored the urgent need to educate dancehall artistes on professional business conduct.

“There is need for a collective approach to raise professional standards among these young artistes most of whom will sadly fail to benefit from their immense talent,” said Chipaz.

“These young artistes routinely change their managers and some of them regularly fail to report for concerts. Even if you want to give them shows you will be frustrated because the manager you dealt with last week would have been replaced.”

Chinoperekwei, who had to fence off the stage at one of his dancehall concerts to deter music fans from throwing missiles at performing musicians, added that artistes from other music genres who have stable managers were less problematic.

“We have never had any problems with other musicians but with dancehall artistes, you are never sure if they will honour their obligations as they change managers any time. We are now being forced to deal with artistes directly to avoid double bookings,” said Chinoperekwei who runs nightclubs that include City Sports Bar, Private Lounge, Super Label, Airport Lounge and Holly’s Hotel.

Hozheri, who runs Ice and Fire Pamuzinda, an open air entertainment joint near Kuwadzana Extension, concurred.

“These young artistes must employ competent managers to look after their affairs in order for them to get gigs and be taken seriously by music promoters and other people in need of their services,” he said.

Experts say professionalism will become a reality if the various stakeholders in the music industry work together.

“Maintaining a level of professionalism is critical for individuals who work in the music industry be they performers, technicians, music teachers, managers, journalists, or marketers,” said a music teacher Bester Mamombe.

She added that music is often seen by the uninitiated as mere entertainment.

“To the outsider, the level of hard work needed to succeed is often underestimated and because of this, many romanticise about having a career in the music industry and are therefore not prepared for the hard work, discipline and determination necessary for one to be a successful artiste,” said Mamombe.

Economic commentator Tinashe Majoni says the unprofessional conduct being exhibited by dancehall musicians “is a good way to shorten your career and lessen the number of people who want to work with you”.

“Artistes must remember that they are running a business and that any business is dependent on others who can help them get ahead. However, if you disappoint your business partners then you are as good as done,” he said.

The adverse criticism of dancehall artistes from the country’s leading music promoters comes against a backdrop of increasing failure by certain dancehall artistes to turn up for concerts. Musicians like Seh Calaz, Soul Jah Love and Lady Squanda have made headlines in newspapers both for their talent and multi-booked shows.

 

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