No doubt fans will be treated to yesteryear songs such as “Solo naMutsai”, “Chiredzi”, “Second Hand” and “Barbara”.
Speaking from his base in Thoyohoundou, the Devera Ngwena Jazz Band leader said he was thrilled to be coming back home to meet with fans after a long absence.
“I am coming to perform at this year’s Hifa on April 30 (the opening day) at the Global Stage from midday to 1pm. However, I will collaborate with Baobab and Dembo Brothers (Morgan and Tendai) who are busy rehearsing my songs. I will come early to put the final touches.
“It feels good as it is my first time to perform at Hifa, but I value all my performances no matter where I am. I promise my fans that I will go down memory lane to the days when music really came from the heart,” he said.
Asked why he was not bringing his backing group Moyo said the Dembo brothers wanted a collaboration.
“It wasn’t my idea, but it was Chamunorwa Mashoko of Baobab who asked me if I could allow him to perform my songs at Hifa to which I readily agreed. He thought it would be great if I do it with them,” he said.
Moyo said he would play songs from his new album titled “ZiDeve rangwena Madhara Madhara Vol 37”.
“It carries six tracks. Judging by the response and airplay, tracks one, three and four, namely ‘Ndakuvara Nerudo’, ‘Men and Child Abuse’ and ‘Check Temperature’ seem to be liked the most.
“The album was released two weeks ago, but it is yet to be launched. I will do that on my return to Zimbabwe,” Moyo said.
He said the songs on the album were being played mostly on radio stations in South Africa that include Radio Phala Phala, Mugana Lonene and Radio Univen.
“In Zimbabwe, I gave it to Diamond Studios for distribution and some copies for radio stations,” he said.
Moyo has more than 38 albums to his name and is one of Zimbabwe’s seasoned musicians who has stood the test of time. He relocated to South Africa where his music was appreciated especially by Zimbabweans based in that country.
According to music critic Fred Zindi, to call Devera Ngwena a jazz band is a misnomer. The band has never played jazz and jazz fans may be misled by the name into believing that this group plays their kind of music genre. Instead, they should be prepared to listen to rhumba music.
In the late 1970s, a group based at a mining compound situated in the southeastern parts of Zimbabwe emerged.
Its founder member was Jonah Moyo. The group called itself Devera Ngwena (which loosely means “follow the crocodile”) Jazz Band.
The music by this group was a fusion of Zairean rhumba with local rhythms, which is commonly known as sungura beat.
Moyo, who worked as a clerk at Mashaba Asbestos Mine near Masvingo, came up with the idea of establishing a band which would play for the miners at month-ends.
He saw this move as a way of making extra cash for himself as his full-time job, including overtime, did not pay him enough to make ends meet.
However, mining authorities were also convinced that apart from the band providing recreation to the children of the miners, the venture could be financially viable to the mine.
As a result a contract was signed between the band and the mine whereby it was agreed that the mine would provide musical equipment for the band in return for some of the band’s income until the equipment was fully paid for.
After this, there was no looking back, Moyo soon secured a recording deal with Teal Recording Company (now called Gramma Records).
At independence, Devera Ngwena Jazz Band was the band of the moment.
In no time they made the top 10 charts with hits like “Barbara” and “Solo naMutsai”.