Jeys, Madlela in battle of titans

BULAWAYO - It is no doubt that Jeys Marabini and Madlela Skhobokhobo are the dominating forces in the music industry in this part of the country.

It is a fact that through their artistry and resilience against opposing forces they have managed to hold fort and stay afloat in the cutthroat music industry.

However, the timing of the release of their latest projects has left music enthusiasts wondering what the two are up to.

Marabini and Skhobokhobo have separated the launch of their albums with just a day. While Marabini will be launching his ninth project Ntunja Mbila at Bulawayo Theatre on August 31, Madlela will be doing the same for his second album Amajazana, a 10-track offering, a day later at District Club in Gwanda.

With 28 years in the game, Marabini has starkly refused to be a coward and move away from the city that bores his umbilical cord and relocate to the capital or even South Africa like many of his fellow colleagues in the trenches.

Inspired by the legend Oliver Mutukudzi, Jeys has over the years adopted not only a Tuku music-inspired beat, but also the stage craft which is unmistakable.

He has shrugged all the negativity and against odds, he has stood out to survive and look after his entire band and family through music.

He might not have struck gold like the likes of Jah Prayzah and Winky D, but his belief in the quality of his music and the appetite to reach greater heights has kept his foot on the pedal.

Not even being booed at the National Sports Stadium during a national event last year could dampen his spirits, hence the new project.

To that effect, the title of his latest offering speaks volumes.

“Ntunja Mbila is a strong rock, a rock of hope, a rock where people visit when they are into various problems.

“In other words I am that rock in the music industry. I have been around for over two decades and I will keep the fire burning against all odds,” Marabini proudly said.

While the towering musician’s music is mainly meant for his fans, he is not ignorant of the fact that his throne is under check with the rise of new equally talented blood in the industry.

Such is the entrance of Skhobokhobo who has been pulling all stops to ensure he registers his name among the region’s top composers.

Armed with an undisputed acting and singing proficiency, Skhobokhobo has brought a new flair into the industry and deservedly in the short period he has arrived he has begged a total of six awards making him hard to ignore. An axe wielding and jovial character in most of his films, the Gwanda-born artistes is certainly making strides in the arts industry.

Famed for his hit Wamnanka UsamaMoe off his debut Indlozi lolaka album (2015), the youthful crooner, has shown no desire to look back.

Even the NetOne management saw it fit to appoint him their brand ambassador in the region.

While comparing him to Marabini might be an inapt endeavour, Skhobokhobo respects those who came before him.

“Jeys is my brother and he is a veteran in the industry and besides we sing different types of music, so in other words we are not in any competition but basically striving to satisfy the market with our music,” Skhobokhobo said.

On why he chose Gwanda for the launch, he said: “Gwanda has shown immense appreciation of my music hence I have to give back to them. It will be a family show where everyone will be accommodated as we unveil new stuff.”

On the other hand, Marabini has invited those who want to come and celebrate his long walk in the industry with him.

“People should come and support and celebrate a journey of 28 years in the music industry while still based here in Bulawayo,” Marabini said.

“I am so excited that it’s going to be yet another piece of music that I am certain the people will enjoy. As I always say my music matures by each passing album.”

Marabini said he was happy that he will be joined by renowned versatile drummer Sam Mataure as part of the performing cast as well as his young producer Octopus on the launch day.

“I am glad Mataure will be part of us, he is a seasoned and well-travelled drummer. Again Oktopus will be playing the bass, young and talented,” said the Kozekulunge frontman.

The two top artists originally from Matabeleland South province might have entered the fray at different stages, but nothing beats the fact the two have a battle to prove who has the upper hand basing by the soon to be released albums.

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