Chazezesa revives 'Smoko' music

HARARE - Revived Chazezesa Challengers will unveil their first studio album called Smoko Revival Zvachose tonight at City Sports Bar in the capital.

The group comprises former Alick Macheso guitarist Lucky Mumiriki, Lee Roy Lunga and the late System Tazvida’s young brother Isaac.

Songs making the Jabulani Ndlovu-produced album are Edza Zvimwe, Usaore Mwoyo, Ihama Yako, Ndiudze Ndiudze, Wongorora and Kuita Zvakanaka.

The event will be graced by artistes including Kireni Zulu, Dr Bitumba, Chikomana Shaddy and Cloud Mugasa among others.

All the three members —Mumiriki, Lunga and Tazvida — assured fans of a good product.

“We have let down Smoko fans for a while mainly due to lack of maturity on our side. Now we are mature, we sat down and ironed out our differences.

“This album is no doubt going to revive the Smoko music,” Lunga said.

Mumiriki, who left the mighty Orchestra Mberikwazvo after suffering a stroke, is responsible for instrumentation and vocals.

“My core business at Mberikwazvo was to play the guitar but now I am no longer able to execute that role due to the stroke.

“At Chazezesa Challengers, I will not be playing the guitar but mentoring guitarists and arranging instruments as well as providing lead vocals together with Lunga and Tazvida,” Mumiriki said.

Lunga and Mumiriki used to play together in the same group under the guidance of the late Anodyiwa Haataure hit maker.

“Mukoma System was not a guitarist but a vocalist. Mumiriki was responsible for the instrumentation hence we have just implemented the same setup or system,” Lunga said.

The three leaders ruled out chances of a split.

“Experience is the best teacher in life. We have explored almost everything in the music industry individually and we have realised that it is better to have 10 percent of an elephant than to own 100 percent of a rat,” Tazvida famed for the song Chibhanguza said.

Chazezesa Challengers was founded by System “Wezhira” Tazvida who churned hit albums including Rudo, Tsika Nemagariro of 1993, Rwendo Rweupenyu of 1994, Mutunhu Une Mago, Wadenha Mago, Watosvorwa and Huni Nyoro Mumoto of 1998 among others before his death in 1999.

System’s departure saw his young brother Peter taking over the leadership and he only released three studio albums — Rimi Remoto, Panopfungaira Pane Moto and Chadzera Chemoto before his death in 2002.

After Peter’s departure, Mumiriki left the group to join Macheso’s Orchestra Mberikwazvo while Lunga, who joined the Chazezesa Challengers or Boyz DzeSmoko in 1994 as a lead guitarist before his elevation to band manager, tried to revive the once popular genre as a solo artiste but the shoes proved too big for him.

While trying to revive the Smoko genre, Lunga who boasts of over seven albums and two DVDs under his belt including Chabvondoka, Zviri Muchinokoro, Kupa Nekudya, Imhosva Here? Anga Ari Pano, Panorira Ngoma and Smoko Yega Yega, was embroiled in a leadership wrangle with Isaac.

However, Isaac later abandoned his musical career as a solo artiste after hitting hard times and sought greener pastures in Mozambique.

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