When youthful gospel outfit Joyful Praise Choir (JPC) stormed the music scene with chart-topping songs and energetic stage performances, no one had any idea of the rocky journey they had travelled.
The group’s story would be incomplete without chronicling its missed opportunities and flopped projects since inception in 2013.
Before the hit song “Ngoro Yeminana” in 2018, JPC had recorded three albums with little success.
In fact, their first two attempts at recording live DVDs in 2014 and 2015 flopped dismally, but the group redeemed itself with the album “Zvangu Zvaita” recorded at Monolio Studios.
“Joyful Praise Choir had challenges like any other gospel group especially in our region and they were part of the teething issues of growing up, but I am glad we overcame. It has been a long journey; we have since diversified our repertoire to encompass business so that we have some income apart from singing. This is how we have weathered the storms over the years,” JPC founder member Gamaliel Madindi said in an interview.
Despite the false start, the group’s successive projects, “Jesus’ Love” in 2016 found its way into the market, albeit with little success.
It was not until 2018 when the Gweru-based JPC struck gold on the local gospel scene, with hit song “Ngoro Yeminana” from the “Jesus Saves” DVD, earning the youthful group accolades and massive airplay.
JPC became a favourite of many in Harare, grabbing the attention of promoters and establishing themselves as one of the fastest rising gospel outfits.
The hit single Ngoro Yeminana, a rendition in the mould of Zig Zag Band’s 1980s song “Gomo Ramasare”, struck the right chord with fans across Zimbabwe.
The reggae feel to the song and melodious vocals of pint-sized musician, Rudo Madindi, enthralled fans whenever the song was played.
Finally, JPC’s years of hard work and prayer had finally paid off.
The choir has become a force in the gospel scene. Armed with versatility and passion, JPC has earned airplay on regional television stations like Trace Gospel and One Gospel, featuring some gospel powerhouses like Takesure Zamar Ncube and Tshepo Price in their previous project.
After nearly two years of not releasing music, the Gweru-based choir is set to release a new single, “Aiwa Mwari” on January 13, a new year present for its fans.
“Aiwa Mwari”, an easy sing along jam blended with enchanting vocals and soothing instrumentation is a befitting follow up song after their previous success with “Ngoro Yeminana”.
From the project, JPC Season 3, “Jeso Aiwa Mwari” is set to uplift listeners.
The group worked with seasoned gospel musicians like Mellisa Makwasha and ropped in the services of Bulawayo-based Outfit Band and lead guitarist Trust Samende.
The project recorded without an audience in Harare last year is likely to be favourite of many.
“On the project we managed to work with Sir Benjamin Rupapa, who came in and fused kanindo and rhumba to create a unique genre. It was fun working with him,” said JPC founder Gamaliel Madindi.
JPC producer Tamie Bimha said the production team strived to reach international standards.
“We are always compared with international artistes who work with a different resource pool and budgets.
“The comparison that is made between JPC and international groups, there will always be pressure to match that. It is a challenge that we are always willing to take, but I must admit that we still have work to do to catch up to where the rest of the world is. But JPC has done an incredible work on this record, I’m thoroughly excited of how it is going,” Bimha said.
With the new offering almost ready for the market, JPC is looking to conquer Africa and the world, but their story of perseverance in the face of adversity serves as an inspiration to upcoming outfits still finding their feet on the gospel scene.