By Andrew Moyo
Zim dancehall’s influence on the local music landscape is no longer subject to debate as the lot has duly made its presence felt across the board.
Unlike in the past, the talented chanters who usually hunt in packs are now getting prime slots at major showbiz events.
Moreover, the corporate world is gradually warming up to them as seen in endorsement deals, something previously a preserve for artistes in other genres.
Zimbabwe’s leading artiste, Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, who turned 63 last Tuesday, has also this year decided to endorse Zim dancehall artistes by enlisting them for his “Tuku and Friends” birthday bash.
They are not coming in as minnows, but performers of equal importance.
And the poster advertising the gig, scheduled for the Glamis Arena on October 9, sums it all up — Zim dancehall artistes Killer T, Seh Calaz and Soul Jah Love have equal prominence with their Sungura counterparts.
The three top chanters will share the stage with Sungura musicians Alick Macheso and Peter Moyo, the versatile Jah Prayzah, dendera crooner Suluman Chimbetu and birthday boy Tuku.
Mtukudzi’s previous birthday bashes have been accompanied by performances by prominent musicians, usually of the Sungura genre and international acts.
In an interview with The Sunday Mail Leisure, Killer T’s manager DJ Bima said their inclusion on the Tuku and Friends line-up is clear testimony that they are no longer push-overs.
“The fact that we have also been included on this line-up and we are being given the same prominence as Sungura artistes on the poster shows that Zim dancehall is now on another level.
“Tenge tichitodawo kumboimbawo ikoko since we deserve to, but we fail to get the chance sometimes, hence we really appreciate this opportunity.
“We have hits from the last album that are still popular. Killer has been working on new songs, so we will also give fans a taste. In short, we are coming prepared for the big day!”
Evidently, the “Tuku and Friends” gig is going to be a yardstick for fans to gauge which genre reigns supreme. The October 9 show features all the top artistes from different genres considered the core of Zimbabwe’s music industry.
On the dancehall scene, Killer T aka Chairman has been in top form following the release of his chart-topping album “Ngoma Ndaimba”. The 15-track album has numerous hits that have become club anthems.
But while the Chairman is basking in the glory of this album, other chanters have been working on closing the gap. Soul Jah Love has gained ground, with a string of new hits that include “Ndinemagetsi” and “Ngundu Ngundu”, among others.
Further, his reunion with Seh Calaz has also managed to yield tangible results, with collaborations on several songs that have created renewed interest among their fans.
Seh Calaz always has a card or two up his sleeve and his stage performance has been tried and tested. He is, therefore, no doubt, one of the artistes to watch out for on that day.
Meanwhile, Peter Moyo is riding high following the release of his new album “Mabasa aMwari” and will be out to prove his worth.
The album is receiving favourable airplay on national radio stations and in imbibing joints.
Thus, he is expected to give his counterparts a good run on the day of the show.
Macheso will have to capitalise on the anticipated bumper crowd to sample songs off his forthcoming album. The Sunday Mail