Soul Jah Love skating on thin ice

HARARE - The country’s 100 percent local content music on all Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) music channels during the first tenure of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo sparked a huge outcry.

The directive triggered an avalanche of stinging barbs and no-so-kind words for Moyo whose directive was aimed at giving a platform to fledgling young Zimbabwean musicians who had been largely ignored in preference for international musicians, including United States pop and rhythm and blues stars.

Hundred percent local content directive was also resented by diverse groups including prominent disk jockeys across all the music stations at ZBC.

But if the truth be told, the 100 percent content directive led to a change of direction on the local music scene which had been dominated by sungura, mbaqanga and chimurenga genres.

For the first time, there was a real appreciation of suppressed genres such as township jazz which used to be popular in the poor townships of Zimbabwe during the colonial era.

The likes of Cool Crooners, Mbare Trio, Jazz Invitation, Rute Mbangwa, Ernest Kambadzo Tanga WeKwasando, Victor Kunonga, Dudu Manhenga, The Other Four, Prince Edward Band, Bob Nyabinde, Summer Breeze, Jabavu  and Aaron Yafele, were able to get recognition in the music industry following this deliberate 100 percent local content policy.

Perhaps the biggest story was the emergence of the urban grooves genre, in which Zimbabweans, for the first time, witnessed prodigious talent that would not ordinarily would not have been given the chance by radio or music studios.

On top of the pile were the joyful twins — Roy and Royce, Plaxedes Wenyika, Daniel ‘‘Decibel’’ Mazhindu, David Chifunyise and of course — Rockford ‘Roki’ Josphats.

Decibel, who grew up in the Midlands mining town of Shurugwi is now based in the other Midlands — Coventry City — in England.

He waltzed on top of the charts with hits — Nakai and Chido — to underline his status as a talented musician rising in the changing face of Zimbabwean music then.

A holder of a Biochemistry degree, Decibel remains popular, at least in the hearts and soul of those enamoured with his early music.

Madagascan-born Roki at one time was dubbed Zimbabwe’s own Eminem due to his rising stock then which was diluted by personal indiscretions and allegations of indiscipline.

Controversy stalks him up to this day but those that have been exposed to works such as Chidzoka and Chido featuring Leonard Mapfumo, can not begrudge the fact that talent exudes in this boy!

It is the success which he once tasted that is proving difficult to regain.

It could be a question of waiting at the bus stop when the bus has left. Success is ephemeral! It is proving thus.

Sadly, this appears to have escaped gifted but wayward Zimbabwe dancehall prodigies — Soul ‘Soul Jah Love’  Musaka and Obey ‘Tocky Vibes’ Makamure who are attracting wrong tags at a time they should be capitalising on their popularity.

These Zimdancehall stars are gifted and command a massive following among the youths and a reasonable chunk of the mature fans.

Both Soul Jah Love and Tocky Vibes should be an inspiration to thousands of unemployed youths who view their success as a product of using talent wisely to escape poverty.

But Soul Jah Love and Tocky Vibes are failing to see the bigger picture by continuously disappointing their fans and music promoters through late shows and at worst, non appearances at shows where they are billed to perform.

On Friday, February 6, Soul Jah Love disappointed many fans when he performed late at Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfield despite spending hours in the hotel’s car park trying to gauge the attendance.

There was a huge crowd which was unaware that the dreadlocked chanter had already arrived but had instead sought the car park as a hideout waiting for them to fill the venue.

Most of his fans were reluctant to pay because they suspected that if Soul Jah Love wasn’t pleased with the attendance, he would not perform as what had happened at the Book Café the other night.

When he eventually performed, most of the fans who had anticipated an early show had already left.

Consequently, he made poor gate takings and the promoter of the show was hit by a double blow — a prejudice of good sales and the loss of memorabilia which rowdy and disgruntled thugs stole after Soul Jah Love performed for only 1 hour 30 minutes.

The following day, the Ndini uya uya hit-maker failed to perform at Pick’n’ Save in Mutare where show promoter Esau Mupfumi, was left seething and counting his losses.

This was despite him having paid the 2014 Zimbabwe Music Awards winner his performance fee.

According to Mupfumi, Soul Jah Love was stone drunk that he could not go on stage when he pitched up very late for the show — ainga akasticka – the street lexicon used to describe the effects of broncleer cough syrup which is being abused by youths in townships.

Soul Jah Love manager tried despairingly to blame effects of diabetes on the star whom he said had eaten late and took his injection way after the prescribed time.

This is balderdash and should be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.

The lame excuse is indicative of the indignant and overbearing arrogance associated with Soul Jah Love who appears averse to constructive criticism and sound advice.

Soul Jah Love is a bad advertisement of ghetto talent and needs to realise that he could be throwing away that talent which has so far seen him commanding a huge following in Zimdancehall.

Promoters follow the money and quickly abandon bad stars.

As it is, Soul Jah Love is fast descending into a headwind and no one is prepared to risk falling into such a wind given the consequences.

History is littered with those who blew their chances when their stars were shining brightly!

The late Andy Brown was huge talent but lost it with unwise decisions, Josphat and Daiton Somanje of Pengaudzoke fell from the apex of their music success as a result of ill-advised squabbling and pettiness.

Young Roki as talented as he is, he is finding it difficult to hit consistency and the same heights which had many believing he was going to be Zimbabwe’s Eminem.

This is the same feeling that many have towards young crooner Tocky Vibes whose petulance and arrogance could derail his promising career.

Tocky has shown disrespect to fans on more than two occasions — abruptly leaving the stage while his shows are in full swing.

The young crooner showed disrespect for fans during the high profile show involving Mafikizolo and Oliver Mtukudzi towards the end of last year in Harare.

Instead of justifying why he was attracting rave views through his music, Tocky, instead, blew the nose on the mature crowd that packed the Harare International Conference Centre by walking off stage without warning.

He had embarrassed a local promoter by leaving without performing despite being slated to open the show involving Tuku.

His reason was there were delayed, meaning performing later than scheduled would short change his fans in Mutare where he had another show lined-up the same evening.

Surely how can one hold two shows in one night and curiously, with one needing 265km to be covered?

For all his not-so-wise ‘‘mistakes’’ Tocky blames the media and promoters.

This is the regrettable state of affairs involving prodigious talent in the Zimdancehall which, if not nurtured properly, would see their promising stories being reduced to also-rans.

That’s the nature of success; it is ephemeral.

For these rising stars, it is important that they make hay whilst the sun is still shining.


Comments (1)

Iam sure the author of this article hates soul jah luv, what did he use to prove the guy was drunk and who is he to imply jah luv's medical; condition does not matter. we know u easily rush to print what you are told by promoters but may i just say mapromoters normally want artistes to performa late so that they make more beer sales dah. and they have a habbit of juss putting somene pa poster iye asingauye and achiziva haasi kuuya. wake up

chibaba - 18 February 2015

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