By Tidi Kwidini
Shingai Shonhiwa, the legendary front woman and bassist from the Noisettes ignites a new chapter with her debut solo EP, ‘Ancient Futures‘.
A “living, breathing, manifestation of Rock & Roll” according to Rolling Stone, distinguished for her mesmerising and dramatic performances, be prepared to be taken on a sonic odyssey.
When the Noisettes flew to Zimbabwe to perform at HiFA, it was a phenomenal moment for the band.
“It had such an inspirational effect on me as an artist and we will never forget the joyful welcome we received. We had a jampacked week in Harare and the range of activities included thrifting in Pedza Nahmo market, Mbare, hiking in Domboshava and visiting my kumusha (father’s side) in Chishawasha with Dan, the other half of the Noisettes.” As recalled by Shingai.
In addition to an organised jam session and meeting of minds with some of her favourite female musicians including the late Chiwoniso Maraire, Hope Masike, Netsai and Tariro Ne-Guitar.
“I wanted to show the vibrancy of our people, for the world to appreciate. The sheer amount of talent that I’ve witnessed on my trips home be it for work, relaxation, or self-development, drove me to put Zimbabwe at the heart of my debut single.” Shingai states.
With an effervescent soundscape, the EP is fearlessly infused with a soulful yet boisterous energy, making the music electrifying and compelling.
In an over-saturated market where evolution and authenticity may be the artist’s key to sustainability, Shingai may well be breaking the boundaries of pop before it consumes itself.
Due to be live across all DSPs in March 2019, ‘Coming Home’ is inspired by her uncle Thomas Mapfumo’s classic hit ‘Shumba’ and represents the journey of Zimbabwean music, whose legacy she’s taking into the future.
Original synth parts take on mbira and guitars to create infectious hooks, allowing Shingai’s vocals to soar into an auditory league of its own, “Coming Home is my klaxon call for the diaspora to reunite with those at home and build a bridge of hope.
Many of us are scattered and undernourished by the environments we have found ourselves in. We are still healing. ‘Coming Home’ is an ode to our resilience and optimism, even through the chaos. We are a loving people and this is a love song for the future. As a child and even now, whenever ‘Shumba’ plays, I smile inside. I feel proud of my roots and able am to keep persevering.”
An uplifting and anthemic track, fans can also expect to be taken on a cinematic journey with the music video for ‘Coming Home’ which was written and conceptualised by the visionary.
It was shot on location in the majestic Hills of Domboshava and the bustling capital of Harare. Shingai was adamant to empower local talent, brands and creatives to showcase the country’s magnificent scenery, locations and vibrancy of its people.
Whilst attending the 2018 Durban Film Festival for the feature film ‘Faces’, where she debuted in a lead role alongside Terry Pheto, Shingai had a chance meeting with Authentic Voices.
The Zimbabwean, Jo’burg based production company got behind the project and Joseph Adesunloye (Faces, White Colour Black) was enlisted to direct. Completing the team of stellar Zimbabwean creatives including Thomas Brickhill, Chiedza Mahere, Zash Chinhara, Sindiso Khumalo, Josh Changa, Dan Ayi Madondo and Uchi Gappah, the music video she’d been dreaming of came to life.
The behind the scenes of ‘Coming Home’ featured in the last episode of BBC 2’s eye-opening documentary ‘Africa with Ade Adepitan’ (available on BBC iPlayer for the next 12 months).