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Friday, 28 October 2011

Local musicians should be supported

By Blessing Vava

During the last few years, more and more international artists have continued to come to do live performances in Zimbabwe. Part of it has been the tourism drive to market Zimbabwe as a tourist friendly destination.

Cocoa Tea vows fans in Bulawayo
Interestingly when they come here most of them get more than they usually get when they perform in their homeland. Imagine a foreign musician getting a whooping $100 000, for an hour performance of playing backtracks without even a backing live band. Usually their expenses, including  accommodation, airfares, would have been catered for, mainly by the sponsors.

  In addition to such a package they have a privilege of visiting the county’s tourist resorts. At most instances we have witnessed some of these great foreign musicians being outclassed by our very own musicians despite the raw deal our local artistes  they usually get from music promoters. 

The treatment given to  our local musicians every time they play  alongside these foreign artists is of great concern. Unlike their foreign counterparts who are  given VIP treatment  when they come, our local artists are not given such an accord.
Winky D doing his Ninja antics at the Beerfest

The much hyped Sean Kingston concert held a few  months back quickly comes to mind, where the young musician produced a mediocre act which irked most music lovers who had parted with their hard earned cash expecting a world class performance. 

Does it mean that our local musicians are of less importance than these foreign guys? I guess it’s high time we support our local musicians so that they also have blossoming careers internationally. The adage that charity begins at home should always be on our minds as Zimbabweans because non but ourselves can lift ourselves from pit holes.

Dendera legends Sulu and Tryson Chimbetu show their guitar skills
Meanwhile last weekend two Jamaican reggae music greats Cocoa Tea and Fantan Moja jetted in the country for the Lion Lager beer festival. I had a chance of attending the Harare show at Glamis arena, which and I must testify that it was an electrifying concert that was also graced by our own local bands who entertained the crowds all night long. However, after enjoying  classic performances from both Dendera musician Sulu Cimbetu and Winky D, I was however disappointed by local reggae musician MiC Inity backed by his Hotta Fire outfit.  

After being given the honours to play just before a great musician like Cocoa T, the Marondera born musician reduced himself to  a mere copycat, playing cover versions one after the other without even dishing out his own compositions. While there is absolutely nothing bad about playing cover versions, I did not expect MiC Inity to  imitate Jamaican artists worse at such an occassion. Obviously when these musicians visit here they would want to have a feel of our beat, and I am quite sure that they will leave Zimbabwe with an impression that we are not a music nation but mere copy cats who  have no identity.  

Copy cat MiC Inity at a show at RedFox Hotel
His lack of originality brewed ire  from most music fans i spoke to during that night expressing dismay at Mic Inity’s performance noting that he had disgraced the music fraternity. Of all the years i have known MiC Inity, since his days with the Transit Crew i had thought by now he would be having at least an album or two with his own compositions. No one doubts that the young man is gifted with a superb voice, but that is not enough if he fails to compose his own music.

Lastly I want to salute Cocoa T for the electric performance that kept fans on their toes. At least he took time to do a rendition Zimbabwe from the late reggae legend Bob Marley, quite a befitting song at such an occasion. A song i had expected to  be played by our local musicians.  Above all the Cocoa T concert was a memorable one despite the absence of Beres Hammond who was also billed to perform but failed to make it.