Ups and downs of music in 2015

Morgan Heritage

Morgan Heritage

Fred Zindi
Suddenly, it is January again! We enjoyed Christmas after the lock-down jam with Mafikizolo, Tuku and Jah Prayzah. Indeed time flies. With the blink of an eye, 2015 is already on its’ back!

I am not sure whether it is through the grace of God or it is due to musicians being able to take care of themselves better, but this year the Almighty has given us a reprieve as only a few musicians passed on compared to last year.

We sincerely regret the passing on this year of musicians Tinashe Mandityira who died at the beginning of the year from a car accident and Douglas Nsingo who died in October from natural causes. They were both teachers at the Zimbabwe College of Music.

The year 2015 has had its twists and turns. It has been yet another big year for artistes such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah and Mokoomba who all took their acts overseas stations. Tocky Vibes and Killer T did well in dancehall circles. Whether or not these artistes will survive in the coming year 2016 is a question of wait and see.

In April, which is one of Zimbabwe’s most exciting month every year, a host of international, regional and local musicians performed at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).

The opening show was held on the ZOL Main Stage, and showcased a variety of acts.

The rest of the week was filled with different genres of music from Opera, Jazz, Reggae, Sungura, Hip Hop, Rhumba to Tonga Music. Unfortunately HIFA is not taking place this year.

On a different note, reggae fans were filled with anticipation for the cancelled/postponed Morgan Heritage concert which had been advertised for December 31.

A couple of friends from Zambia are disappointed as they had booked flights from Lusaka especially to come to this show. Biggie Chinoperekwei of Divine Assignments who was responsible for this concert has promised Morgan Heritage fans that the show will take place at a more convenient date and in a more appropriate venue. I suppose in a bigger open-air venue after the rain season. We hope this will happen.

Morgan Heritage is a Reggae band formed in 1994 by five children of reggae artiste Denroy Morgan, namely Peter Peetah, Una, Roy “Gramps”, Nakhamyah “Lukes” and Memmalatel “Mr. Mojo” Morgan. As one can see, Morgan Heritage is a family affair.

Morgan Heritage made their first appearance at Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica. They were subsequently signed by MCA Records and released their debut album, “Miracles” the same year.

After the release of “Miracles”, the family moved to Denroy’s homeland of Jamaica. In this period, three family members left the group. Once in Jamaica, Morgan Heritage began working with famed reggae producers Bobby Dixon and Lloyd James, resulting in the release of their critically acclaimed second album “Protect Us Jah” (1997), followed by “One Calling” (1998), and the spiritually-inclined “Don’t Haffi Dread” (1999).

They have released three compilation albums by the Morgan Heritage Family and Friends, and a live album, “Live in Europe”, recorded on their 2000 tour. Following the release of their 2001 album “More Teachings” Morgan Heritage toured Europe again, and they have returned several times since.

Their sixth studio album, “Three in One”, came out in 2003. They have released two successful DVDs, “Live In London” and “Live Over Europe 2003”, and their seventh studio album “Full Circle” was released in 2005. Their next album, “Mission In Progress”, was released on 15 April 2008. It includes the singles “Faithful” and “Raid Rootz Dance”.

After several years working on solo projects, they released the single “The Return” in 2012, and indicated that a new album would be recorded after their 2012 European tour. The album, “Here Come the Kings” was released in June 2013, followed by a tour of Europe.

As can be seen, Morgan Heritage is a very experienced group. If Busy Signal was a thriller in Zimbabwe, then Morgan Heritage would have been a double thriller.

Meanwhile Morgan Heritage fans can sing along to one of his famous ditties whose lyrics I have put below:

Don’t haffi dread to be Rasta

Yeah yayawo/A raggaso we ragga, yeah

Chorus:

You don’t haffi dread to be rasta

This is not a dreadlocks thing

Divine conception of the heart

Verse 1:

Oh it’s a life of a livity

Lived by the Fathers of our history

Uphold the anciency and prophecy

Trust in the powers of the Trinity(yeah)

Got to believe in His Majesty

Oh yes, His lineage and Divinity

The first step is sovereignty

Know one’s self through royalty (yeah-yeah)

Chorus:

Bridge:

Don’t be afraid of Jah ever-burning fire

Trust in Jah fire and you’ll never get burned

The fire that reigns over heat, air and water

No water can put out Jah fire

Jah fire gonna lift rasta higher

Chorus:

Solo:

A rasta so we rasta, a ragga so we ragga, a ragga so we ragga

Bridge:

Don’t be afraid of Jah ever-burning fire

Trust in Jah fire and you never get burned

The fire that reigns over heat, air and water

No water can put out Jah fire

Jah fire gonna lift rasta higher

Chorus:

Finally, may I take this opportunity to thank all the readers of this column for the support you gave me this year through your e-mails. Without you, 2015 could have been extremely boring. A Happy New Year to you all.

One love!

Fred Zindi is a Professor at the University of Zimbabwe. He is also a musician and an author of several books on music. He can be contacted via e-mail on [email protected]

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