Edgar Moyana Christian Entertainment
One of the advantages of singing church hymns if you are a gospel music group is that you basically have few problems with aligning your music content to established biblical teachings as they are taught in the Bible or understood and shared in your church or target audience.
This is the case with one of Zimbabwe’s young but promising gospel groups, Boys of Thunder, whose members are Methodist Christians.
Since their inception in 2005 the group has been very consistent as it managed to record seven albums although many of their songs are from their church hymn book.
While this approach to professional music occasionally raises numerous questions on creativity, for this group, however, singing church hymns has allowed them to stay relevant to doctrinal teachings of their church.
Added to this is also the fact that recording albums has been relatively easy for them since all they do is identify songs from the hymn book and re-arrange them as long as their messages are consistent with their preferred theme for that particular time.
Other songs such as “Usagumbuke”, “Hakuna Anoramba”, Nokuti Muri Mwari” are not necessarily hymns but old choruses which the group re-arranged, making them fresh and more appealing than their original sound.
Their fans have also maintained loyalty to their “Ubvuwi” music, with indications of more people outside their Methodist Church developing a taste for their music.
Traditional African instruments such as the traditional African drum, rattles and the kudu horn, which are commonly used in their Methodist Church, are their instruments of choice although their style and beat divert slightly from the traditional Ubvuwi music due to numerous embellishments in their sound.
This, however, adds flavour to their music but lacks only on the fact that it fails to appeal to a larger audience mainly the adult folk.
To overcome this challenge, the group decided to add maturity to their music through featuring an all-male gospel group Kuwadzana
Men’s Fellowship, also from their church, when they recorded their two latest nine-track albums titled “Our God is Able” and “Hakuna Anoramba”.
Commenting about their music, Boys of Thunder president Mr Dick Mukonori said the decision to feature Kuwadzana Men’s Fellowship sprang from the idea that they wanted their music to appeal to a wider and mature audience.
“We featured Kuwadzana Men’s Fellowship because we are trying to add maturity to our music. They have more powerful voices and have been in the industry long before us. It was also a way to thank them for being the first group in our church to record an album back then in 1998,” he said.
He said the maturity aspect to music came from how songs are expressed emotionally to the listener. Some of the songs on which Kuwadzana Men’s Fellowship is featured include “Tiri Vawadzani”, “Riripo Gomo” and “Ndiani Pane Zamba”.
Dick said their selection of songs was guided by their church’s annual theme “Our God is Able” which was borrowed from Daniel 3:17.
“Our songs are in harmony with our church’s annual theme ‘Our God is Able’. What we are doing as a group is preaching the gospel in line with our church’s theme and this theme applies to every believer.
“Composing songs in line with our church theme is also part of marketing our projects, and by using this method we seek to target even non-Methodist Christians. People in different life situations need re-assurance from the word of God,” he said.
He added that their second album “Hakuna Anoramba” echoed the message from their album “Our God is Able” but differed only in the sense that it had a deeper spiritual value which according to him prepares the listener for worship and prayer.
Among songs contained on “Our God is Able” include “Usagumbuke”, “Our God is Able”, “Nditarire Nekufara”, “Nokuti Muri Mwari”, “Muna Vanhu Venyu Mwari” and “Ndiyani Panezamba” among others.
On “Hakuna Anoramba” are songs such as “Tiende Kudenga”, “Tiri Vawadzani”, “Ishe Komborera Africa”, “Wowuya Mucheki Mukuru” and “Pakudenga Kuna Baba” among others.
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