Mr Mazowe praises independence
Africa Moyo-Deputy News Editor
Music has come a long way in Zimbabwe, and many people remember the critical role it played in cheering liberation fighters during the war of independence.
Many people concede that music arouses emotions and instils different feelings in them, including grief, celebration and resistance.
During the liberation war, some songs such as “Kana ndafa musandichema” are said to have been designed for political hardening, while “Tose dzvamu” sought to encourage more people to join the war, with “Nzira dzemasoja” aimed at political indoctrination.
The jiti genre, which can also be called jiti-jive or simply jiti , is largely for celebration, driven by the fast-paced music and dances that keep revellers busy doing what they know best on the dance floor.
Jiti features a swift rhythm played on drums and musical bands improvised by accompanying it with guitars.
Music experts say jiti evolved out of many different influences that include Chimurenga, Congolese rhumba and Tanzanian guitar styles.
Jiti was popularised in the 1980s by bands such as The Four Brothers and Bhundu Boys.
The late Marshall Munhumumwe, who led the Four Brothers band, and Paul Mpofu of “Zambuko”, played jiti.
Mpofu’s all-time hit “Murambinda”, has outlived the test of time and remains popular at weddings, even those held in urban areas, and more often, it is played towards the end of the wedding or party and it sends people into a delirium, never mind how smartly dressed they would be.
From encouraging fighters during the war, jiti is nowadays mainly used in its raw content by political parties as a campaign vehicle due to its flexibility in accommodating chants, singing, expressiveness and infectious tunes that are catchy and easy to learn if a new song was introduced.
A jiti artiste, Lameck “Mr Mazowe“ Kazembe, whose music has captured the airwaves, is grateful to everyone who confronted the brutal racist regime that brought untold suffering on citizens.
He said the nickname Mr Mazowe was coined by his fans, especially those in Mazowe who felt he literally owned the place given his musical talent and the way he makes them merry.
Mr Mazowe is happy that 41 years after independence, artistes are able to record their music freely at the various recording companies across the country.
Further, independence has democratised the availability of musical instruments, and as long as one has the money, they can buy their instruments.
“We are now free to sing any genre of our choice unlike in the past,” said Mr Mazowe. “We are also free to stage live shows anywhere we want in Zimbabwe as opposed to the period before independence when some areas were no-go-areas.
“Independence has also seen the coming in more of recording studios. You know, before independence, you could be talented but you won’t have anywhere to record your music.”
Born in 1970 in the gold mining and farming community of Mazowe in Mashonaland Central Province, Mr Mazowe formed his band, Orchestra Mangoma, in 1998, but recorded his first album, Haungadaro in 2006.
Mr Mazowe says he felt he had the music talent ever since he was young, and was determined to become an artiste, despite the challenges associated with starting anything. He now has five albums and two singles to his name. In 2014, he unleashed “Danho Rakaoma”, then “Mudyandigere” in 2015, “Mukorokoza Webasa” in 2017 and “Mari Muhomwe” in 2018.
Last year, he released two singles, “Anotambira kunofaya” and “Kaliving kemari mari”. From all his releases, Mr Mazowe reckons the tracks “Dhafudhunda” whose real name is “Dzora Moyo”, “Chonde chonde” and “Anotambira kunofaya”, have been outstanding so far.
Going forward, Mr Mazowe sees a bright future for his band and despite more fans supporting him as evidenced during phone-in programmes on radio, he wants more people to appreciate his music. “Fans have embraced our music and even the sky is not the limit for Orchestra Mangoma,” he said.