Jah Prayzah tips Dondo for stardom

HARARE - The Shona nomenclature of christening or choosing names has always drawn laughter and seriousness depending on which side you are leaning.

For fledgling contemporary musician — Sam Dondo — his majestic announcement into the cut-throat showbiz industry during a star-studded launch in Harare, two weeks ago, there is every reason to believe he is not lost.

Dondo, in Shona means bush but in street lexicon — it means off rail or getting it wrong completely.

But the young crooner whose album — Dyara Minamato (Invest in Prayer) — thrust him into the spotlight as a result of his colourful launch and artistes involved in its production, has what it takes to be a music superstar.

Talented and indefatigable contemporary musician — Mukudzei Mukombe (Jah Prayzah) — has tipped Dondo to rise to the apex of the music industry, judging by his potential and “good album”.

Jah Prayzah has walked this route before and is a testament of how hard work and consistency can be rewarding.

The dreadlocked musician is arguably one of the brightest spots of the local music industry which has been hit by the current economic woes.

“I have participated in Dondo’s album and listened to it. There is no doubt about his talent,” Jah Prayzah told the Daily News on Sunday.

“He has the potential to be a super star. The secret lies in working hard, hard work and consistency pay. We are thinking of having him as a supporting act at our shows —giving him the support he needs.

“I have walked this route before. Good talent needs support. In my early years, I was given tremendous support by Oliver Mtukudzi and later Sulumani Chimbetu.

“After his launch, the people would want to see the man in flesh, promoting his works. Not everyone was at the launch show.”

Jah Prayzah has worked his socks off to become one of the most sought-after musicians on the local scene after overcoming negativity and jealousy which stalked him in the early years of his musical career.

The rangy musician, despite showing unbridled ambition to succeed, was largely ignored by promoters who felt his high-energy shows were at odds with the calibre of musicians they promoted.

Jazz 105 founder — Josh Hozheri — gave him the platform and went against tradition by inviting Jah Prayzah to perform at the home of jazz.

And he did not disappoint!

Hozheri told journalists at the media cocktail last week that having been involved with upcoming musicians; he was aroused by Dondo and believes he has shown signs of a “star in the making”.

“I have had the opportunity of working and promoting young talent in Zimbabwe. Dondo has the potential and his choice of people involved with his album is a sign of someone who is in it for the long haul,” said Hozheri.

“His unfolding story, of course, is being made possible by you the media through your honest coverage and critique.”

Hozheri gave opportunities to many musicians who include Victor Kunonga and Bob Nyabinde, who in 2003, when they launched their careers, there were doubts about their pedigrees as jazz/contemporary musicians.

Dondo himself, despite splitting opinion amongst journalists, not that it matters too much, has invested heavily in his Impala Subway Crooners band which has a decent line-up.

Dyara Minamato shows a brave youngman in Dondo who is determined to succeed — at least judging by the profiles of people involved with his debut project.

The Impala Subway Crooners consist of Munya Viyali, Freedom Manatsa, Tatenda Viyali, Trust Samende, Lithiens Musoni, Evidence “Generator” Mudzingo, Dorcas Kambami and Beatrice Matewere.

Dyara Minamato was recorded by Munya Viyali who is also a member of Oliver Mtukudzi’s Black Spirits band.

With the exception of Kambami and Matewere, Dondo’s band has experienced and confident artistes with a proven track record which borders on success.

Dyara Minamato was mixed and mastered in South Africa by veteran artiste — Keith Farquharson who is widely respected for his works with local musicians.

Farquharson has worked with Tuku, Ilanga, Willom Tight, Alexio Kawara, Mann Friday, Netsayi, Jah Prayzah, the late Andy Brown and Chiwoniso Maraire.

The Cape Town-based mixer/producer has worked with many South African artistes among them, Freshlyground.

And Dondo’s artistry is well captured in the new album, thanks largely to good production works which complement the diverse talents that grouped to release Dyara Minamato.

The album is replete with messages of hope and encouragement, with the overarching message being triumph through faith despite social problems.

In the title track Dyara Minamato, Dondo brings to the fore the aspirations of many who face debilitating problems but the singer encourages investment in prayer. In hindsight, it could be a song describing the young musician’s journey before venturing into showbiz.

Dondo takes the role of a social evangelist as his messages touch on poverty captured in Nhamo Ndaramba, hope and expectation, Zviuya Zviri Mberi, while maintaining a dominant gospel feeling exhibited in Muvaregerere and Anonzwa.

The lanky musician does not countenance infidelity as he strongly tackles the subject in the song Pekauende while reminding people to act on small things which he says have the propensity to become uncontrollable if ignored, in the song Kamberevere (Small Fire).

The album shows a determined spirit to overcome.

In an industry where sharks and fading artistes either plot your downfall or whisper bad vibes to derail promising musicians, Dondo’s journey in showbiz has just started.

The Chikomba-raised musician will either go off rails or hit the jackpot but so far Dyara Minamato has shown a budding musician determined to against his nomenclature.

 

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