Problem Masau Arts Correspondent
Zimbabwean dancehall music has over the years evolved to become a force to reckon with when t comes to exposing new talent.
Artistes such as Winky D, Sniper Storm, Freeman, Guspy Warrior and King Shaddy have become household names in music while upcoming artistes such as Dhadza D, Shinsoman, Killah T, Tally B and Seh Calaz are making inroads in the genre.
Often called Zim dancehall, the genre has overtaken urban grooves, hip-hop and is now competing against long established genres such as sungura and mbira.
In an interview, one of the pioneers of Zim dancehall and emcee, Godfatha Templeman, said dancehall was the future of Zimbabwean music.
“When a dancehall artiste shares the stage with an artiste from other genres, they outshine them. Look at what happened at the Lion Lager Summer Beer Festival. All the dancehall artistes that performed on the night put up good performances,” he said.
However, Templeman encouraged dancehall artistes to build their brands.
“The music business is not financially rewarding especially to upcoming artistes and those who are still to make names. Most of the dancehall artistes cannot hold a show on their own.
“For people to come, a promoter has to have at least 20 upcoming artistes but that comes with costs. This is why promoters end up paying less because they want to make money,” he said.
Templeman said established artistes including Winky D and Sniper Storm charge high appearance fees because they have become brands.
He said to prove dancehall was on the rise, a week hardly passes without a dancehall clash.
This Saturday, dancehall chanters among them Shinsoman, Sniper Storm, Killar T, Dadza D and Freeman are billed to perform at a gig that resembles Wrestle Mania at the City Sports Centre.
While dancehall has proved to be popular among youths the artistes are poorly remunerated. Most of the upcoming artistes are paid as little as US$50 per show.
Outspoken dancehall artiste Seh Calaz bemoaned the poor performance fees saying it was about time promoters change their attitude.
“We are given US$50 for a show and for me that is peanuts. I have a family to look after and yet promoters seem to think that since we come from the ghetto we are worth US$50,” he said.