Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

King Macheso goes for a first

By Garikai Mazara

The festive season is upon us — and this year it looks like the parties are going to be popping up in almost every other corner — there is a certain vibe going on, in spite of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Alick Macheso
Alick Macheso

But there is a real danger we might have to dance our bottoms off to “John Vul’gate, that meaningless song that has already captured the festive mood for us.

A song with maybe 15 words and nothing more. Fifteen meaningless words for that matter.

Before that, Master KG’s “Jerusalema” had taken the world by storm, literally, that is.

Our music space has been invaded by unidentified flying objects and will Alick Macheso and Suluman Chimbetu, due to release new material on Friday and yesterday respectively, recapture that territory?

Already Jah Prayzah’s latest video, “Mwana Wamambo”, not exactly a new release, has been dismissed as a rehash of a previous effort, “Dzamutsana”, for lack of originality, same theme, and singing in capital letters as usual. Nothing new there.

So the onus lays squarely on Macheso’s and Sulu’s shoulders — or maybe Winky D, that is if he decides to release before the end of the year — to reclaim our entertainment landscape, that our joy and fun has to be home-grown.

Sulu will have a lot of convincing to do, for many have argued that he is yet to release a hit song by himself, that all the songs that he has released and went on to become hits are collabs.

But given that it has been four years since he went onto the market, trying to convince us that he is made of stuff that matches his father’s, all eyebrows and earlobes will be raised, waiting to see and hear if his release yesterday covers much ground in atoning for his four-year silence.

There is murmur, though, that Sulu might not be too chaffed by the attention that his uncle, Allan, got when he released his (Urgent Matter) recently.

His fear is that Allan is about to run away with the stick, that being urban lingo of course.

But Macheso, Macheso, Baba Shero. Is he yet to recover from the death of Tongai Moyo? Does he feel no pressure because Dhewa is no longer there? One has to rewind to “Dzinosvitsa Kure”, somehow a lukewarm offering (and what year was that again?), to come across Macheso’s last release.

And probably for the first time in his musical life, of which his solo career stretches back to 1998 when he left Madzibaba Nicholas Zacharia’s Khiama Boys, Macheso is releasing a single. Yes, a single song.

There could be as many theories as there could be stars in the galaxy on why he has chosen this route: is it piracy?

Even if it is piracy, how does releasing one song defeat piracy? Is he testing the waters? Borrowing from the age-old wisdom that you do not test a raging river with both feet but one?

There are some, if not many, among the unofficial Macheso Fan Club, that consider his height of brilliance to be with “Zvakanaka Zvakadaro”, “Simbaradzo” and “Zvido Zvenyu Kunyanya” (not in any particular order) and that the moment he started experimenting with instruments, particularly his guitar, he somehow lost the plot.

This group of fans will readily tell you that Macheso’s prowess lay in his lyrics — “Mwari Wenyasha”, for instance — and not those guitar-playing skills.

So, could this be the reason why he has gone the unusual route, releasing a single, to test whether his audience is still in love with his guitar-playing skills? Or is it a marketing tool, trying to whet our appetite? But what appetite? It has already been wet for years now.

Macheso is in a class of his own, probably the greatest living musician in Zimbabwe and should not put himself under any pressure — more reason why he should have worked on his album without any distraction and given us a full plate, rather than this piece-meal.

Whatever the reasoning, which he should be able to share with the nation at some stage, there is a general expectation that he owes the nation an apology in the form of a full album.

Once a full album comes onto the market, all the other noise that we are being subjected to, disguised as music, enters the mute mode.

But that will largely depend on whether Macheso has not reached the best-before date — for this date can easily be reached through some level of complacency.

If the 48-second trailer that was doing the rounds in mid-week is anything to go by, then we must be ready for some guitar-spinning magic from the sungura icon.

Which might not be bad for his fun-seeking and fun-loving fans, but which might rub those who seek inspirational messages from him the other way.

So sit back and enjoy, “Mwana Wamambo” that is from Jah Prayzah, “Zuro Ndizuro” (Macheso) or we are likely to be “Entangled” with Suluman Chimbetu.

And where is Winky D in all this noise, by the way? Hope he is not admiring Mbuya Nehanda and wanting to come up with lyrics along those lines. The Sunday Mail