By Prince Mushawevato
The year is 2006, and sungura giants Alick Macheso and Tongai Moyo (may his soul rest in peace) are locked in fierce battle.
Dhewa is armed with “Pakanaka Dhewa” (2004), with hits “Zakeo” and “Munyengeri”, and a fresh album “Naye” (2006) that carries masterpieces “Nemumvura Mese”, “Muchina Muhombe” and “Ganda Remvura”.
His rival and erstwhile friend Macheso, an undisputed sungura king, is fighting hard to defend his turf.
Record sales and other signs are pointing to a possible coup in the industry.
For a moment, it appears Macheso — better known as Baba Sharo — is about to be dethroned by the Utakataka Express frontman.
But his 2003 hits “Madhawu”, “Shedia” and “Charakupa” off the album “Zvido “Zvenyu Kunyanya” are still good enough to help shrug off the competition.
Also, “Teererai” and “Amakhebhoyi” from “Vapupuri Pupurai” (2005) seemingly make Baba Sharo invincible.
But Dhewa is relentless in his quest.
He releases yet another scorcher, “Pinda Panyanga”, in 2007, which Macheso promptly tries to neutralise with “Ndezvashe-Eh”.
Unsurprisingly, music fans are focused on the two artistes.
They seem not to mind what other musicians are doing.
It is understandable.
The battle is animated and engrossing.
In short, it has breathed new life into showbiz.
Meanwhile, a little-known sungura artiste Paradzai Mesi is heartily throwing punches in the form of albums.
His project “Zviri pachena”, coming after “Zaru”, gets music aficionados talking.
Inspired by the favourable reception, Mesi drops more exceptional albums — “Goneso” and “Masimba Towedzera”.
So good is Mesi’s music that he manages to briefly take the limelight from the Dhewa-Baba Sharo tussle.
Fans temporarily start believing Macheso has found “a new and suitable” match.
Very little differentiates Macheso and Mesi’s music.
The rhythm, lead and bass guitar timbre sound very much alike.
Similarly, Mesi is posing as a much more refined and fresh sungura voice on the music scene.
Resultantly, some music fans wrongly conclude he is a former Macheso band (Orchestra Mberikwazvo) member.
The musician maintains the momentum for a while and commendably releases a total of nine albums in the process.
Unfortunately, Mesi’s Njerama Boys is hit by squabbles and the group eventually splits.
Not long after, Mesi tumbles into oblivion.
Enter Mark Ngwazi.
Without doubt, the young man is gifted.
His albums “Chamugwegwedu Chamatindike”, “Charger Yekatsono”, “Gudo Muriwo”, “Zvandigumbura” and “Mudzimu Wabudira Pambeveve” are easy testimony the artiste is on to something.
Ngwazi has thus far fascinated many with some mesmerising English verses that he periodically drops in his songs.
“Don’t blame people for disappointing you, blame yourself for trusting them. Trust nobody, suspect everybody, don’t tell people about your vision . . .” he sings in “Taurai Madzoka”.
His style – a fusion of Leonard “LKZee” Zhakata and Macheso’s style — is receiving thumbs up from fans.
Predictably, he is now being measured against the greats.
However, there is still need for him to maintain a sober mind and not get carried away with the current wave.
Similarly, fans need not put him under pressure.
Ngwazi’s journey in the cut-throat music industry has just begun.
And the temptation to compare him with legends like Macheso is not only dangerous, but a travesty.
The budding artiste must understand the potential pitfalls in the industry.
He deserves to be encouraged, but not misled.
Yes, Ngwazi has five albums under his belt, but it is important that he remembers there are other excellent sungura artistes who equally had “good” albums that have long fallen into oblivion.
Those who follow Ngwazi can easily see that “humility” is gradually deserting him.
Humility is everything in music.
The “Tisazokanganwa” singer needs to remember there is still lot of work and ground to cover.
Ngwazi might be one of the most talked or sought-after artistes at the moment, however, if he fails to manage and capitalise on his purple patch, this could eventually count for nothing.
The local music industry is a tricky one, if not merciless.
Fans “adoration” and allegiances can shift overnight.
Tocky Vibes, LKZee or even Andy “Baba Keketso” Muridzo can testify.
Thus, it is always good to make hay while the sun still shines.
As we speak, a “new kid” on the block has begun making waves on the music scene.
DT Bio Mudimba is knocking on the door to fame with his splendid effort on the track “Kujata Jata”.
The track is topping music charts on national radio and is also on rotation in many public and private places.
So good is the track that it can easily place DT Bio Mudimba in contention for the man-of-the-moment tag.
That said, let us give Ngwazi time to mature and discover himself.
If he is going to be the next best thing in sungura, time will tell.
After all, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The Sunday Mail