Edith is a female bassist, lead singer and songwriter for the band she leads, Utonga. Her music fuses the influences of Jiti, Chimurenga and Traditional Shona folklore. She has performed in many festivals in Zimbabwe including Intwasa Festival in Bulawayo and the Winter jazz Festival. She has also championed the ‘Women’s cause’ with her formation of the concept called “WOMAN OF NOTE’’ together with Kudzai Sevenzo which seeks to give prominence and recognition to women who have excelled in all areas of life i.e. business, sport, entertainment, education etc. This initiative was launched in September 2011 at Harare International School through a music concert headlined by Edith herself and Kudzai Sevenzo. This is a cause that she is particularly passionate about because of the personal experiences she draws concerning the struggles with family, society and fellow colleagues she had to go through to be able to pursue her dream as a female playing a ‘taboo’ instrument, the bass which is largely considered for males in Zimbabwe. In 2010, Edith released her debut album called UTONGA. The album got a five star in most local music reviews and opened many opportunities for Edith including an acting part in a one-woman-music-inspired theatre play for which role she got National award at the local National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA). The highlight of Edith’s local performances has been the closing concert at the 2012 Harare International Festival of the Arts where she played the bass for Oliver Mtukudzi in a show that also featured Senegalese superstar, Ismael Lo. Recently she has broken into the African circuit with performances in Kenya and Uganda in September 2012.
Coming from the dusty walkways of Hwedza rural settlement, Victor is the symbol of the new generation of the Zimbabwean music man. Kunonga, the masterful story-teller and lyricist weaves a musical carpet that exudes the echoes’ of the Mbira (thumb Piano), the Mbakumba and Katekwe drumbeats fused with guitars. He started emerging at school where he captained the Northlea High school’s Marimba Band. He pursued acting, painting and drawing and graduated from Art school with a diploma in Commercial Design and Graphics. He extended his touring program with a major concert at Johannesburg’s Bassline Jazz Club alongside jazz master Steve Dyer and his son Bokani, Tuku, and outstanding New York based jazz saxophonist Max Wild (performing with Sam Mtukudzi). He was later invited back to Johannesburg to perform at the Arts Alive ‘African Connections’ concert. Victor Kunonga has previously recorded two albums; Ndanyengetedzwa, a six-track album and most recently UYO. Kunonga has launched his latest album called ‘Hatinete’ (taken from the song of the same name) which says we will persevere; the more you suppress us, the stronger we will emerge. His songs and their popularity derive from a profound sense of dignity and social awareness; songs that address and confront issues of poverty, dispossession, and the rights and needs of ordinary people. The music that Victor creates conveys universal messages: child, marital abuse, hunger, poverty and the need for peace, sung in Shona, Ndebele and in English.
Adam Chisvo is one of the most recognizable faces on the mbira fusion music scene in Zimbabwe. Adam has been at the forefront of mbira experimentation through a lengthy career. He is also an accomplished percussionist. He has played a part in expanding the versility of the mbira beyond its traditional ceremonial home place, Zimbabwean’s greatest hits, from his early experiences with Ilanga, through to his long term association with Andy Brown and leading into his successful partnership with Chiwoniso Maraire. Adam has provided this essential backbone to these progressive music groups and remained an icon of the Mbira circuit. He died on the 11th of July 2011
Josh Meck was born in 1983 in Harare, the capital city of Zimbabwe. He developed an interest in the instrument that saw him playing in church at the age of 12. Soon after High school he started performing in Jazz clubs doing session work for Zimbabwean Jazz musicians. He is bass guitarist, acoustic guitarist, Mbira and Kora player. He has toured Europe, America and Africa doing collaborations with international artists. He started touring as a sideman in 2006 with different artists like Chiwoniso and comrade Fasto. He recorded his debut album entitled Wanetsa in 2008 with the hit song Wanetsa that topped the local charts in Zimbabwe. In 2010 he did collaboration with USA based saxophonist Max Wild at the Africa festival Held in Wurzburg Germany. He then went on to do collaboration tour of Germany, Estonia, United Kingdom, Netherlands and Czech Republic with Max Wild in 2011. In 2012 Josh released the album entitled TIME.
G56 is an afro-jazz/pop group consisting of Dzikamai Machingura and Farai Chieza, two friends who had the dream of becoming recording artists from their university days. It is from the name of the dorm they shared at the University of Zimbabwe, room 56 on the ground floor, that the name G56 comes from. With Farai on the acoustic guitar and Dzikamai playing flute and leading the vocals, the group’s music is a reflection of their backgrounds and delves into various social and cultural themes.
Alexio started his music career in 1999 and released his debut album called ‘Usazondisiya’ in 2001. His second album called ‘Rwiyo Rwangu’ was released in 2003. In 2005, Alexio released his 3rd album entitled ‘Pfimbi Yangu’ (My Secret Place). For this album, he got four awards; two National Arts Merit Awards (N.A.M.A) and two Zimbabwe Music Awards (Z.I.M.A) for best album and song of the year, ‘Tinodanana’. Alexio released his 4th album, Kana in 2008. In 2011, at the first edition of the Victors Awards, Alexio scooped the most promising musician award. His latest offering entitled ‘Tose’ is a 13 track album encouraging love and unity amongst people of different backgrounds. He has shared the stage with artist such as Eric Wainaina (Kenya), Ntando (South Africa), Handsome Poets (Netherlands), Drake (Germany).
PRUDENCE KATOMENI-MBOFANA is a singer and a songwriter from a musical Christian background. Prudence’s passion for music stems from childhood. She began singing in public at the age of eight and throughout her primary and high school life she was involved in choirs. After completing her ‘A’ levels she joined a band called The Vice. She then joined Jazz Invitation, and stayed with them for a decade, touring with Tanga wekwaSando in the UK and South Africa. She toured with the band in Namibia after the release of their album ‘The Rehearsal Room’. Prudence also featured on the Cool Crooners’ album, ‘Isatilo’. They toured extensively together, going to countries in the French territory and to Namibia. She has also shared the stage with the legendary Miriam Makeba and Take Six. “Dzidza” is a song from her debut album with a message to the privileged youth that have access to education not to take education for granted.
Taku was known among the Shona people of Zimbabwe as a talented and well known player of the Mbira, (an African music instrument). He has been teaching the mbira to individuals, local schools and colleges and has held numerous workshops and performances in Zimbabwe, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland and Namibia. As the founder of the band called Tru Bantu, he recorded the album called Dzimwe Nguva that has sold both locally and internationally. He had been working with many well known Zimbabwean artists like Willom Tight, Chiwoniso, Alexio, Mafriq, Sebede, Sam & Selmor Mtukudzi, among others. Through his music and activities he often addressed social issues in Zimbabwe. He died on the 12th of October 2011.
Rute Mbangwa is an energetic vocalist and a songwriter. She specialises in Afro-contemporary music with a spice of jazz elements. Her Music and Performance are original, unique, professional and intimate. She likes performances where she can connect people with the deep spiritual energy of her songs playing. Rute’s songs are mostly humanitarian and they echo society’s different voices and experiences on various subjects such as gender, relationships, environmental issues. She also thrives to persevere the African music culture through fusing African Music elements with other music elements from different music cultures of the world. In 2007, she made a breakthrough into the international scene when she was invited to perform at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa In 2008 she was chosen to share the stage with Nigerian Jazz artist Kunle Ayo and Zimbabwean superstar, Oliver Mtukudzi at the jazz 105, winter jazz festival held in Harare.
DUDU MANHENGA is a singer and songwriter who leads the group ‘Color Blu’. Her style is influenced by great African and jazz singers, and the dignity of her delivery is a credit to herself and her country, wherever she goes. Her music has been accurately described as ‘an afro jazz adventure’ – a fusion of genres: afro, contemporary, Zimbabwe traditional, township, jazz, Latino, and a cultural cross-breed of Zimbabwe’s Manica, Mashona and Matabele rhythms and melodies, with energetic stage work, and sizzling vocals. Performing professionally since the age of 16, Dudu has emerged as a leader on the Zimbabwean music scene after long stints as backing vocalist for several top artists of Zimbabwe, while studying at the Zimbabwe College of Music in Harare. In 2001 she formed the group called Color Blu, along with her husband and partner drummer Blessing Muparutsa. They’ve recorded their debut album called ‘OUT OF THE BLU’ in 2003 which was followed in 2007 by ‘JULA’ – a Ndebele word meaning ‘depth’. Her third album, ‘TOWARDS ALIGNMENT’ (2009) was recorded in front of a live audience at Reps Theatre in Harare. Her most recent album ‘NGANGIWE’ was released in 2011. Dudu has performed at local clubs, corporate events and festivals in Zimbabwe often sharing the stage or actively collaborating with artists such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Dorothy Masuku, The Cool Crooners, Tanga Wekwa Sando (Zimbabwe); Judith Sephuma, Ray Phiri, Jimmy Dludlu, the late Jabu Khanyile, Ernie Smith, Ringo, Eric Paliani, Gang of Instrumentals, Kwani Experience, Mpumie Twala, Ndithini Mbali (South Africa); and Kunle Ayo.
Anderson Mamimine was born on 16th of March 1985 in Chinhoyi mining town of Mashonaland West Province, Zimbabwe. In 2003 he bought two keyboards and a guitar. He later sold one of his keyboards and guitar to Victor Kunonga who was a close friend and was showing great passion to learn how to play guitar. Less than a year later, Victor released his 1st album and that triggered Anderson’s professional Music Career. He started working with AY Band which was fronted by the late Samson Munyaradzi Mtukudzi (Sam Mtukudzi) who later died. On the 26thJuly 2011, his album called Hell on Earth was launched. It was later released on the 1st of June 2012 to the public.
Since 2001, Bongo Love has risen fast in popularity. In March 2006 they won the national prize of the Music Crossroads Festival in Zimbabwe and were selected to participate in the Interregional Festival of Music Crossroads that took place in Maputo, Mozambique. Here they won the Ethno Music Prize. As a result, they were invited to perform in Sweden and the Dominican Republic, leading to their first major tour of the United States in 2007. Since that time they have travelled extensively in the United States as well as several African countries playing on a variety of stages including festivals, camps, clubs, and private social functions. Bongo Love, have been playing together since 2001. “Afrocoustics”,as they call their genre, is a fusion of guitar and traditional African acoustic instruments, the mbira (thumb piano from Zimbabwe), the marimba (Mozambique) the djembe/bongo (West Africa) and the congas. Bongo Love is a unique blend of Afro beat fused with traditional Zimbabwean style music performed by musicians immersed in a globally influenced musical perspective. Their original songs and vibrant
Norman Masamba is a young man already considered among some of the greatest guitarists in Zimbabwe. His career begun at a very tender age and this has enabled him to perform and record with some of Zimbabwe’s well known musicians such as, Bob Nyabinde and Victor Kunonga. He is also a member of Victor Kunonga band (Peace) as a backing vocalist and guitarist. Lately he has collaborated with a well re-nouned South African Maskandi and Jazz guitarist, Bheki Khoza.
Filbert Marova is an experienced songwriter, musician and producer who brings a wealth of knowledge to any music project he puts his hands on. He has discovered his talent at the age of 11. His passion for music has evolved into a love for guitar and keyboard. His musical skill landed him a role with the Frontline Kids; one of Zimbabwe’s highly acclaimed music acts which dominated the Zimbabwe music scene from 1987 to 1991. As a founding member of Jazz Invitation, Filbert wrote and produced the formidable hit single “BP Yangu Yakwira”, sung by Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana off their “Rehearsal Room” album which was released in 2004. He released his debut album called “Kariba Bream” which brought together a number of different artists from various music backgrounds to ultimately earn him the coveted Zimbabwe Music Award of Best Jazz Album in 2006. Filbert wrote, composed, produced and arranged all the songs on this album. He has worked with a number of local and international artists, having played with Jazz greats such as Dorothy Masuku, Simangaliso Tutani, Cool Crooners and Jazz Invitation. He has also played with soul/funk artists, Chris Berry and his band Panjea. On the local front, he has shared the stage with the likes of Brian Paul, Willis Watafi, Bob Nyabinde, Outspoken, among others.
Mathias Julius is emerging as one of Zimbabwe’s most exciting original reggae artists. Singing in Shona, Ndebele and English he writes about love, life and the challenges facing many Zimbabweans today. His music draws on a variety of influences from traditional and popular Zimbabwean music to reggae and dub, and represents the very best of Zimbabwe’s young, urban music scene. His second album, “DON’T LOOK BACK” released in December 2011, is making waves across Zimbabwean radio as well as getting regular airplay on international internet radio stations in the UK, the States, Canada, South Africa and Australia. The hit song “Twenty-Ten”, an innovative collaboration with Zimbabwean star Oliver Mtukudzi, featured in Zimbabwe’s top twenty. Pahushamwar i hwedu is Mathias’ latest single released in March 2012. Collaboration between well known artists in Zimbabwe’s reggae scene, it features Mathias “matty” Julius, Mannex Motsi, Thanda Richardson, Kalabash, Cello Culture, Mary Motsi, Chaza, J.Farai, and Lady Squanda. Produced by Mathias Julius with instrumentation by Killa Flow, bass by Abundance Mutori, it is mixed and mastered by Taps. The track is about reggae artists in Zimbabwe coming together as one, about togetherness as a nation, about peace and loving one another. The track and video have proved a hit on ZBC radio and TV. Since arriving in the UK in June 2012, Mathias has been focusing on his new album, due for release in 2013, working with artists from Denmark, Ireland, the UK and South Africa. It will bring a fresh reggae sound while staying true to his Zimbabwean roots. Mathias is also performing live, supporting one of Oliver Mtukudzi’s shows during his August 2012 UK tour and in November 2012 will be teaming up with Vic Falls’ Mokoomba during their UK tour.
PASTOR G, information to follow…