From New Zimbabwe
WHAT a started as a simple idea of a group of colleagues of similar ilk and interests has seen the birth of Yorira Ngoma & Let’s Dance To The Music, a feast that sees a musical explosion of varied genres and artists mainly from Zimbabwe.
And the movement is picking up pace with the inaugural concert held at the glitzy Mama Jumbe’s Bar in East London on Saturday. Headlining on the night was Zee Guveya & the Heritage Survival Band.
Guveya fronts the exceptionally talented traditional rhythm exponents hailing from Harare. Popularly known as Zee, the versatile guitarist has developed his own brand of Afro-fusion drawing from his wealth of experience having worked for a number of years with the Chimurenga guru Thomas Mapfumo’s Blacks Unlimited. To this very day Mapfumo calls on Zee to add his inimitable licking of the rhythm guitar on live shows. His early stint with Mapfumo saw him record five albums and touring Africa, Europe and North America.
Adding a different dimension in terms of Yorira Ngoma’s live event repertoire on the night was Mathias “Matty” Julius, a reggae singer hailing from Zimbabwe. Those who have witnessed the locks man in action will bear testimony to a star on the ascendancy. His sweet vocals have often been compared to the likes of Jah Cure in terms of how his melodious range is. Matty has three albums under his fledgling career.
To date the highlight of his career was recording a duet with Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi in a composition in memory of Tuku’s son who perished in a car accident a few years ago. For Mtukudzi to allow him to work on something that’s so personal and deep bears testimony to Matty’s proficiency behind the mic. Matty who performs many a times in Zimbabwe, while based in London, to keep himself relevant has almost been a big secret on the UK music scene among never mind the Zimbabwean community, but Africans at large. His set at Mama Jumbe’s is not one to miss.
Tendai Nelson is an international singer and songwriter. She currently resides in United Kingdom, although she was born in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 8th of November 1984. Tendai spent part of her childhood between boarding schools and rural Zimbabwe where she developed a lot of creativity skills. Her first name, Tendai meaning give thanks, which explains her gentle and humble characteristics.
Tendai was brought up in a very musical family and hence started singing and performing from childhood. Tendai’s sound has been described by many as a mixture of soul, jazz and rhythm and blues. She was exposed to gospel music, jazz, African music and country music in her young years. Tendai has been lined up on various shows in the UK and internationally, the recent one being Yorira Ngoma Live Music Event at Mama Jumbe’s.
The other act, is Malawi-born, Dan Lu whose music career spans over 11 years. Lu adds another musical sphere to Yorira Ngoma in making it a regional event. Described as an Afro-pop artist by Malawi’s Nyimbo magazine, Dan’s fan base is estimated, by the Daily Times, a national tabloid, to be at 1.1 million in a country of a population of 13 million. Dan Lu, who has over 40 000 followers on face book, has four albums to his title. He has over 40 songs playing in radio stations in his country, and over 15 videos on television stations.
Dan Lu has worked with the top most band in Malawi, Zembani Music Company, where he was band leader before founding his own band, Rockers band, which has been making headlines for the past two years.
An award winner of the 2011 Best Afro pop music that was organized by Malawi Music Awards, Dan Lu has collaborated with other African artists including The third, K-Millan both from Zambia, Nameless from Kenya, Dizzy Don from Zimbabwe and Tay Grin from Malawi, and Bongani, the late Brenda Fassie’s son from South Africa. Dan Lu has also worked with the Award winning Zambian producer Ben Blezer and Malawi’s top urban producer Taps Bandawe. The artist, whose anthemic hit song, ‘part of life’ was a feature at one of Malawi president’s rallies, plays keyboards and has experience in studio arrangement.
According to Zororo Mubaya, the production manager and Tomson Chauke the production coordinator, Yorira Ngoma & Let’s Dance To The Music will be an every other month event. And plans are afoot to take the event nationally.