Sunday, July 11, 2010

Shamie - The Journey (2010)


Shamie Mabvudzi is one of the pioneer urbanites after engraving his name in Urban Grooves history as one half of the Shame and Nathan duo which gave us hits like Aripo, Hazvinei and featured on ExQ's single Pandakakuona. Years later and Shamie (changed from Shame) comes back to the forefront with a solo album entitled 'The Journey' (self explanatory!).

From the first listen it is without a doubt that Shamie comes through with a new dose of maturity and engages in live instruments to enhance his new sound. Usandisiye opens up this album and as the title suggests he is begging a current flame to stay with him at all costs because his heart simply cannot take the heartache that comes with it. There is slight use of the autotune effect which many might not even pick up on, good thing is it does not disrupt the flow of the song at all. One of my favourite tunes from this offering is Huya which we played on the Radio Kunakirwa Edition in May. It received mixed reviews from the listeners, most being positive so Shamie is definitely on the right path. This is a song about forgiveness (or at least asking for it) and touches on relationship shortcomings. Huya showcases Shamie's strength in catchy lyrics that many can relate to.

Uhambo is a slow tempo duet with Linda Mali and the lady is very talented to say the least. Her vocals were so smooth and they married the beat to perfection. In it's own way it's the track that carries the title for this album and centres on trials and tribulations faced in the quest for success in life. Iwewe for me is the stand out tune on this album, the beat is a catchy fusion of different styles and the chorus is an easy sing along. Given the option to choose, this is my pick for a potential hit on this album. Mid-way through the song Shamie uses a very well worked saxophone and it elevates the song to new heights. Kudos for the good singing as well. The depth of Torai really left me thinking about how delicate life is. the refrain goes something like this:

"Torai zvenyu, torai zvenyu nguva yangu yakwana"

It is so simple but he gives a perspective to life that we often overlook on a day to day basis. It's a well worked song to top that off.

The Journey shows the many sides to Shamie as a musician. He shows his versatility in experimenting with different genres like Jazz, RnB, House and AfroPop while maintaining the mood of the whole album. Vocally, Shamie is no TK Paradza, Trevor Dongo or Sanii Makhalima but uses his voice to his strengths so you will hardly catch him out of the zone he knows which is good. All else being constant, the disappointment of this album is in the mixing and mastering. Some instances provided muffled sound, slightly noisy clashes and the overall vocal mixing was not quite uniform. This is the one let down of this album and it being potentially the most important technical aspect of the final product it leaves a lot to be desired. It limits the potential of the album greatly in a competitive market where quality is becoming more and more prevalent. I hope that on the next release Shamie can switch gears concerning that. All in all, this is a decent offering that can grow on you.

Cover Art - 7/10
Music - 6/10
Technical Sound - 5/10
'I Like' Factor - 6/10

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cherish Bryce - The Birth (2009)


I haven't written a review on a female artist in a few months and nothing better than an exciting new voice that has the potential to blow up beyond expectation. Cherish Bryce is potentially the most exciting female artist on the Radio Kunakirwa podcasts right now and at the writing of this review she sits at a healthy Number 2 on the Kunakirwa Top 12 with Ndiwe featuring Gregory & Tpie. The Birth of Cherish Bryce is the debut from this 20 year old rising star.

The Cherish Bryce journey to success began outside Zimbabwe and she is already a household name in countries like Malawi and Tanzania despite being 100% Zimbo. I will open up with the song that is currently doing the damage, Ndiwe. This song had a solid RnB sound that is so undeniably Zimbabwean with the use of ethic instruments to bring it closer to home. Cherish, Gregory and Tpie effectively use Shona, Ndebele and English to give us one of the best love songs we have come across this year. I won't give much on it, refer to the podcasts and have a listen for yourselves. Dreams ranks as one song that is a favourite with all of us at Radio Kunakirwa. It is an amazing RnB love song that could make any man cringe with some seriously inviting lyrics sung by a very sweet voice. She claims she can make dreams come true and though the lyrics are 'subtly' sexually inclined i still enjoyed the song. I nominate it for the best song she has done, ever.

I was surprised by the song Voku which took a completely different tangent from what i thought she was all about. She sings about what makes Africa what it is and this is a very mature track that crosses many barriers with an excellent execution and delivery. Come to think of it this song really deserves to be among one of the World Cup songs. The young lady can switch the tempo right up to songs like On the Dancefloor featuring Gadjet and Cuz as well as the dancehall banger We Go Hard. These guys at Bryce Music are going hard for sure. On We Go Hard, Cherish sings about how they are the new defition of what the word hard is and if there ever was a dancehall song to light up a dull party this one is it. I can imagine it being played in a club setting with the crowd singing along. I also liked the experiment with the kizomba zouk style on Crush which i reckon would get a lot of teens going crazy especially at the stage where infatuation is prevalent. I would like to hear the reception of this song in countries like Mozambique, Angola and Cape Verde Islands where this style of music is truly appreciated. Haunting Me is a song about heartbreak when a couple has broken up and the party responsible for the outcome is now realising the depth of their mistake. The social commentary on a cheating partner will strike a chord with many people out there given that infidelity is a hot topic in our day to day.

I really could go on about all the tracks on this album but i will save it for you to get yourselves copies. Other songs to look out for are Searching and Fire In The Freezer. I will will definitely make it known that this is the best RnB album i have heard from Zim this year. I listened to it from start to finish without as much as a second skipped and it rates highly as an amazing debut from a talented young lady. I usually have low points to point out and concerning Cherish, the sexual nature of some of her lyrics leaves you wondering since she is only but 20 years old. The maturiy of those lyrics doesn't quite fit her voice at times giving it a rather ironic incline. This girl holds her own be it collabos or solo on a track she has what it takes to make hits and be a star. Other than that, producer, Ahsyan the Beatmaker is one of the very best in Zimbabwe right now and he brings out the best in Cherish. One word: Impressive!

Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 8/10
'I Like' factor - 8/10

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cee Jay Besa - Ndangariro (2010)


2 years after the surprisingly refreshing One Ariega and a year after One Ariega Reloaded, Cee Jay Besa is showing why he is one of the hardest Zimbabwean musicians right now with a brand new album entitled Ndangariro.

Munaye opens up this CD and Cee Jay picks up from where he left off last time with a newer and improved version of the short song dedicated to his son. Ndini Here left a lasting impression on me. This is a song where every reason to thank God is put forward and makes one realise that there is a lot we can be thankful for yet many a time we choose not to give Him thanks. The joys of divine favour are explored through music with a jazzy appeal. Mafaro left me feeling very nostalgic. Cee Jays makes reference to things we used to enjoy as family and friends back home in Zimbabwe pachiurawa mombe, nekubikwa sadza vana vasanotumwa kunotsvaka tsotso dzekuvesa moto nadzo. It then hit me in how he titled his album Ndangariro as a dedication to his late father but in actuality he covers a broader sense of it all without so knowing. The man has a way of expressing himself which makes his music heartfelt and honest. The title track justifies this and it is one of the most meaningful and heart stopping songs dedicated to a parent i have heard in a while. Chokwadi ngatikudze vabereki vachiri vapenyu.

Vahombe is more mid tempo and faster than most cuts off this album. He traces back to days of tales and folklore to give a narration of how we embrace the beauty of success. I saw a live performance of Famba Zvakanaka and this song has become a favourite at Cee Jay's live shows. It is a mature take on relationships where he wishes a former love well as they part ways to focus on their individual lives. My favourite line is: 'Nyangwe taparadzana ndichafambisa zita rako mune zvakanaka.' For those old school music lovers, the song Chikoro will rate highly and is one that shall stand the test of time. You would mistake it for a song made in the early 90s and not taking anything away from it at all. Cee Jay is simply that good and his social commentary makes this song even better. I would recommend that any father who wants to encourage his son to do the best he can in life should play this song for him. I guess as a young guy my stand out track is undoubtedly the bonus tracks Mutare featuring talented brothers Bkay n Kazz and rapper Just Lyphe. This one is an up tempo track that drips of Zimbabweaness and Tony G did justice on the production. Cee Jay does his thing to perfection, the brothers from Masvingo prove why they are Zimbabwe's most talented duo, Just Lyphe gives us the best verse we have ever heard from him (ever!) and Tony G reminds us why he is one of the most sought after producers = A TIGHT TRACK. Period.

Ndangariro is the best album from Cee Jay Besa. In writing this review i am thinking of sending a copy back home to my family (that's how good it is). This is a refreshing and improved Cee Jay who comes back stronger than before with a brilliant emphasis on pentatonic scales for the bass guitar. The backing vocalists were simply outstanding throughout the album, everything was well rehearsed. I think there was a lot of preparation into the making of this album. At this rate, i see this man becoming one of the biggest Zimbabwean acts in Africa and beyond. Highly recommended, get yourself a copy!

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8.5/10
Technical Sound - 8/10
'I Like' Factor - 9/10

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Xtra Large - Xtraordinary (2010)


I mentioned in previous reviews that 2010 is 'one of those great years' and without a doubt, with most albums coming to my attention serving as testimony to that. 'Maroja' continue on their path of Xtra hard work with another release. Dare i say we were not even over One Drop yet and they come back with 'Xtraordinary' to increase their tally to 6.

Super producer MacDee does his magic throughout this brand new offering. Muti Wemusango has done the rounds on PowerFM and it made it's debut on the podcasts with a bang. The song is pure genius. It borders on Afro-pop with some infectious ethnic sounds and a well sung hook by MacDee. Did i mention the song concept? Well they say muti wemusango haungautore kuita muchero wepamba which literally means you can not take a wild fruit and make it cultivated fruit at home. Expanded: You can never domesticate a wild animal. Further expanded: If you marry a woman of loose morals, do not expect her to uphold marital values over her own urges. They take a comic side to a real issue and give great advice to single guys out there, be careful who you walk down that isle with. They continue to give advice on Zvarova which again is the work of masterminds with MacDee blessing the track with vocal magic on the hook. On this one Jimmy and Normara are ghosts who are complaining about how they were taken for granted when they were alive but now their family and friends want to constantly bring flowers to the grave as if they cared to begin with. It's a well worked take on how we should appreciate our parents for who they are to us. I enjoy the social commentary even though the issue at hand is quite serious and worth a moment of consideration.

The hit single High Rate makes an appearance on Xtraordinary and it touches on people who have made a fortune from forex deals on the street. There was a time when police back home were hunting down vanaChange Money (forex dealers) who were dealing in 'high rates'. I love the melody to the song, you could well dance your feet off! One of the hottest cuts off this album is Ndoshamisika featuring Nembo Bwoy, Sizara and musala wemuZimbabwe uyu ExQue. This one is a banger of all sorts on a love tip. The line up is massive and the beat is thumping. I was rolling on the floor with laughter after the Mbiradzakondo Season II skit which is a continuation of the one from the Still At Large album. These guys are creative i tell you!

Xtraordinary is Maroja at their finest and even though we might think we know what to expect, they still manage to reinvent themselves year in year out. They thrive on killer collabos and their ability to turn any situation into a light-hearted affair. I will mention this (not sure if i have already done so concerning Xtra Large), an album every year is great to keep the skills sharp but they are not giving us time to let their material grow on us. We are OD'ing infact. Zimbos generally take time to follow up on songs/albums and with us in the diaspora almost always picking the fruit from the ground you wonder why they don't take more time to push their albums so that they reach a wider audience. I would like to see the Muti Wemusangos and Zvarovas become household hits like the classic Uri Roja, that people of all ages can sing along to. We were hardly over songs like Tsano and Kukura Hakutane. Other tracks to watch out for are Kuzokutora and Madzibaba featuring Sniper. All in all, thumbs up Maroja, this is brilliant work. Easily one of the best albums this year.

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 8.5/10

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Shastro - Ndini Ndakora (2010)


The year has already come up with some classics in terms of the Urban genres that are topping the Zimbabwean charts. There are more new artists than we even thought possible and things are really happening. We bring you a review for yet another new artist who is really riding a wave of success at the moment featuring on ExQue's first single from his latest album. A big thanx to Tha Godfatha in Pretoria for the hook up!!! His name is Shastro (a.k.a Payce a.k.a Shadreck Mburayi) and he is Stunner's protege at Glen Norah based Tazzoita Ca$h Records.

Ndini Ndakora is the title track that opens up this review. It's more than evident that this song took a page from Team Hombe sounding so unmistakeably similar. But then again, with the song produced by Dr Clarence who produced Team Hombe and featuring Toby who sang the hook on the song, there is no need for surprise. Besides that the song is a good listen. Shastro talks up his 'swag' as well as the ability to attract money easily (a page from his manager Stunner i'm sure). He might not possess an extraordinary flow but he is so confident on the mic and this more than makes up for it all. Shastro tones it down on songs like Searching which featured the Ngonie sounding (but potentially better) voice of Larkie Mangezi. This is one of the best songs on the album and as the title suggests the man is looking for that one girl who could occupy his heart. Larkie also features on the beautiful Unbreakable. Stunner adds a verse that will rate as one of his finest showcasing that lyrical dexterity which has won him so many fans.

Jnr Brown blesses this album with a Hip Hop production called Cash. The hook has a line that goes something like, "Cash iri tii neBrick remaObama." Infectious i tell you! The only let down for me was the Lil' John vocal sample which might not have been a necessary inclusion. Chero is a very interesting track which touches on the topic of undying love and Shastro says "Chero ukauya nemwana asiri wangu ini ndobvuma hangu ini, chero ukandidhumhanisa." My favourite track from this 21 year old is Tazzoita Ca$h which is a straight banger from the beat to the lyrics. A straight party starter this. This track is a must for every party this year! Some of you might have heard Zvinyowani. It's a very laid back song yekungobatisa maStatement. Nothing much to it but everything to the lyrics. Stunner simply rips this track apart.

It's without a doubt Shastro is a young man with great potential. I believe he has room for improvement especially as he is under the wings of the current King of Urban Grooves. Iri ialbum reJoy and if you want music that is young, fun and vibrant look no further. This one is recommended if you like artists like Stunner, Maskiri and and Nasty Trix. A great debut and looking forward to more material from the man!

Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 6/10
'I Like' Factor - 6/10

Saturday, May 8, 2010

TapiwaBatsirai - The Heartstrings: Mota Yemawaya (2010)


This year has been really exciting when it comes to the youthful Zimbabwean genres with the usual suspects putting in some great work to release albums and singles. Amid the competitiveness, there some new names worth talking about and we received this album from one such artist. His name is TapiwaBatsirai. The Heartstrings: Mota Yemawaya is his solid debut offering.

The album opens up with the title track Mota Yemawaya which features the smooth voice of Mr Noxxa. TapiwaBatsirai introduces himself with a comfortable rapping style in Shona. The song is about the need for a life of fulfilment and he equates the failure to succeed as having a toy car compared to the real thing. He tells the world that we have to strive for the finest of what we can get and live life to the best we can. On Kuterera, he works a toned down but well done beat and shows his versatility in rapping. The song touches on love and how relationships require a lot of patience and peace in the heart. I liked the formula for successful relationships here! Some inspiring positive messages always do the job. Definitely a good track.

The album contains some seriously 'dope' tracks for the hip hop heads as well like the cut titled Hip Hop. The cast claims their love for Hip Hop as a culture. Mzansi was a surprise for me and i was totally blown away by the Ndebele spits that graced the upbeat instrumental. Given a chance this track is one of those club/party hits. Arguably the best track on the album is Aona Kunaka which again features the vocal prowess of Mr Noxxa. It recently featured on the podcasts and is a favourite already. It's a gospel track that explains how people can live a life of sin and be converted by the beauty of God and his love. It has a bouncy mid-tempo kizomba-zouk beat. The concept is intelligent and i personally feel that this dimension to gospel music is welcome. I am tired of the hymn recycling bla bla bla, i believe music fans deserve exciting gospel music as well and TapiwaBatsirai brings that on this beautifully sung tune. He also does the 'Shonglish' thing quite well i must say.

TapiwaBatsirai labels himself as Holy Hip Hop. Fair and fine but to me he is clean and largely morally correct Urban Grooves. Why i feel that way is because the tag Holy Hip Hop carries a lot of weight and if your album carries lyrics like "What the .... ? ... illuminate the dark, girls sucking on the sweets that we keep in the trunk." , well, you could find people asking a lot of questions especially in our judgemental society. This album is actually quite good especially for a debut and with direction i see TapiwaBatsirai becoming a force to reckon with. From the 11 tracks only 1 or 2 that i feel should have either been reworked or not included at all like Handidiba. Besides that i am not so sure he should have included Mota Yemawaya accapella. On a production level, some tracks were very well done and others not so much. Let the lows not deter you because this album is worth buying. I definitely look forward to hearing more from this man and i can say he is one of the finds of 2010!

Music - 6.5/10
Technical Sound - 6/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Soosh. . . the baddest boy in 2010


Soosh(Tendai Maswiswi) is a man who needs no introduction to the XBC audience having graced our 2009 Top 30 jams with the heartfelt You Gone Now featuring Dee. You might remember him from the Zim Hip Hop duo DS & Soosh who gave you the album Clueless. 2010 is that kind of year where 'The baddest boy' (as he is known) is not holding back. He sent us 2 singles that are straight off the Richter Scale and we will get to those freebies in a moment....


What has Soosh been up to of late? Soosh (27) was based in Lusaka, Zambia and was working Hot 87.7 fm which is a private radio station as a radio deejay and as a club deejay and emcee at Zenon Night Club. Since the beginning of 2009 he has moved onto the Copperbelt (Kitwe to be exact) in Zambia and was working for YAR 89.8 fm, another private radio station. At the moment he is freelancing in the private sector of the entertainment world in 3 different countries. Rapper, DJ, maybe next he gon get into acting.

Check out the hot new singles, top notch and still mahara!

Move Back - Now this track is my personal favourite. Why? Coz it shows u exactly why Soosh is actually the baddest on the mic. Comparing with his previous work and taking nothing away from it, there is unmistakeable maturity and confidence. Lyrically, just so you know, you cannot afford to miss a word he says. I found myself laughing at the 'dig' at a long time rival of his (you know who he is, infact listen to the song if you don't). For the record Soosh my friend, i did rewind that part myself. I remember telling him how impressed i was with the overall production and in terms of quality this song is just about faultless. That is how WhereItsAt Records does things (shout out to DS!)
Download Move Back here (mp3):

Close Your Eyes - There are some songs that go beyond a simple listening experience and Close Your Eyes is one such song. The emotional connection of the song had me in thought patterns i don't experience often. The realistic take on life here is one i appreciate and this defines an impressive touch of versatility in the new material. I have no doubts that if you don't know who Soosh is by now, your eyes are definitely closed.
Download Close Your Eyes here (mp3):

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Wreckless - Riddim & Bassline (2010)


The name Wreckless dates back to the years when the urban genre started getting recognition with Chamhembe (That Squad) heading the whole thing. This man's CV is deep with the most popular of his collaborations being the song Kuchamhembe with the beautiful Tererai Mugwadi. Besides that he has done songs with the likes of Roki (Mazuva), James Adam(Chikondi) & the very sexy Cindy (Dhindindi).

Riddim & Bassline kicks off with an intro that gets you up on your feet, no holds barred. Reload carries the tempo of the intro with some seriously deep basslines and if there was anything like feel good dancehall this could just be it! It's a great way to start a CD with the positive vibes. One of the lead singles from this album is 4 Always featuring Rue. This is a mid tempo love song which would light up any party or gig without a doubt. Rue does a great job on this piece. I quite like the brand of dancehall that Wreckless brings to the table because it is unique and shows how much variety Zim dancehall has come to offer especially with the huge success of artists like King Shaddy, Winky D and Sniper Storm who mix English/patois with Shona.... And here comes Wreckless with a different style altogether!

Voodoo (loving the title in connection with the song!) is one of my favourite jams on a hip hop kind of beat. It features one of the first ever female vocalists on the urban scene, Sarah and i have to say whenever Wreckless collaborates with a female it always comes out wicked. Believe it or not given the song title, its a love song but cleverly expressed. The greatness extends to Love and Happiness featuring Nesu (this lady needs to drop an album, real talk). For a song about love given the style Wreckless delivers and how calm the song felt, i was nothing short of impressed. Undoubtedly one of the bangers on this album is Breeze featuring Cindy and Roki. The beat itself certifies this song as a hit. All three artists on this song make it such a great song and when we played it on the podcasts the response was quite encouraging. i loved Cindy's verse because it was so unexpected to take that 'patois' inclination. Another favourite of mine is Badman Territory and i would love to shake the hand of whoever produced that song. The beat is sick sick sick. The lead single, Evacuate, is right from the top drawer and it sums up much of this album for me.

After the listening experience i can say this 18 track album has more highs than lows. With a heavy production line up as well as collabos i found it pleasant to have so many different styles compiled into one. As i always say an 18 track album is a bit too much nowadays where an artist generally needs to try and captivate his audience in as few songs as possible. Other songs to look out for are Gimme Some More feat Kevie, From The Heart and Rub a dub. This is your 'Friday night at the club' and 'Saturday party after the bbq' kind of offering and if you are looking to have a good time with banging beats, look no further.

Cover Art - 7/10
Music - 7.5/10
Technical Sound - 7/10
'I Like Factor - 7/10

Monday, April 5, 2010

Winky D - Come 2 Tek Ova/Chatsva (2009)


It is without a doubt that Winky D is one of the most respected and possibly the hardest working dancehall artist in Zimbabwe at the moment. This comes after the smashing success of his 2008 full length debut, Vanhu Vakuru (though he claims to have 2 albums prior to that). Come 2 Tek Ova/Chatsva is the surprise double disc with 34 tracks released late last year. Chatsva is done mostly in Shona and Come 2 Tek Ova in English/patois.

Come 2 Tek Ova
Some fans will have seen the video for the song Mi Nah on youtube or wherever else (which isn't really anything to write home about, i liked the Luckspin Medley video a lot more). I like the melody and Winky proclaims that there are things he will never do which would otherwise taint his image and make him more of a hypocrite than anything. He heavily uses the auto-tune effect popularised by T-Pain. Education is The Key (as the title suggests) is self explanatory and its more for the young ones who he encourages to take school seriously. The song Moma is a dedication to his mother who he always mentions in regards to his success. The message is great but the execution left a lot to be desired, the beat was a huge let down like many others on this double CD.

She Loves Me takes a sample from Vybz Kartel's worldwide hit Virginity but is nowhere near as good. Disappointing to say the least. Bigger Size is a very sexually suggestive song about the done and dusted topic of 'does size matter'. It's actually quite hilarious and Winky D has a lot of humour in his lyrics which often makes his songs well worth a listen. Same goes for the song Yogueta (whatever that means). Love Magician explores the sexual side of things yet again and is a very well done piece. The riddim is straight from the top shelf, no questions asked. Haul & Pull Op is a favourite of mine and reminds me of the dancehall tracks of the early 2000s. I think Tell Her is is definitely the top cut from this CD considering the overall production. I am definitely feeling the riddim there which sounded solid and complete.

It came as a surpise that song of the moment 'Green Like Mi Garden' which could well be an international hit does not appear on this double disc. The song has a hip hop influenced beat with 'Di Big Man' coming in with some great flow and energy. It would have been a great inclusion.

Many tracks from this CD were previewed in 2009 on Winky D's facebook and reverbnation pages including favourites Zvimoko Zvevanhu & Mabhebhi Ekusabhabha. These 2 songs have some of Winky D's finest lyrics though the production was not really good he makes up for it in his witty choice of words. Zvimoko Zvevanhu iSong inokonzeresa and Winky refers to taking other peoples women with no regrets about it. I thought the versions we heard then were demo versions to be properly done and to my disappointment they seem to have been the final versions. On this CD Winky D picks up from where he left off on Vanhu Vakuru.

The title track is one of those typical Winky D certified hits. It comes with a great tempo and Winky lets all his haters know that he knows that they do not like him but that will not stop him. Great song. Bhasopo is in the same light as Chatsva and talks about how rumours surfaced that he 'disappeared' in London after his live shows. Ndimba Ndimba is one song that is a likely hit and takes after his previous hits like Vanofamba Vachitaura. Again it is a song about how Winky D has haters and those are the type of people his people know how to deal with. It seems a lot of his lyrics are riddled with violent subjects evidenced by songs like PaGaza, MaNinja and the hit song Iwewe.

The overall production on this double album is poor. There is hardly any decent mixing done here, so you might as well forget mastering at that. It's not something i would ever want to write about Winky D as he is one of my favourite artists in recent years but this project was rushed and nowhere near as well done as his previous offering. It seems to be a quickly put together, 'meant to be testimony of his hard work' kind of album but for me this does not fly. I would rather take 12 very well done songs with a decent effort put towards realising a high standard of music.

I know he has been getting rave reviews about this album from the local press but after taking a listen a lot of questions are raised.
Lyrically, it does not seem like the man has grown much at all since his last release. Not that his lyrics aren't good, but he seems to be in the same zone as over a year ago which brings doubt to his versatility (of which he definitely has). I write all this simply because i know an artist of Winky D's calibre can do much better and with the standard he set on Vanhu Vakuru this is more of a backward step than forward. In comparison with Sniper Storm's The Voice album (one of Winky D's direct competitors in the dancehall game) i realise how unfair the music industry can be, because comparing the 2 it's very easy to tell where significant time and effort were put in yet hardly anyone speaks of Sniper's album besides it being very good. All in all Come 2 Tek Ova/Chatsva is a huge let down for me. Having written all this i can still bet my bottom dollar that he has already received enough 'big ups' for a job well done and his fans of old will love the album anyway.

Buy the album here:

Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 5/10
Technical Sound - 3/10
'I Like Factor' - 4/10

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Danayi Murapa - Munerudo (2010)


The Zimbabwean gospel music scene is awash with talent and i have always stated that fact time and again. Last year i was tuned in to one of the Zim internet radio stations and heard a song that simply blew me away. It prompted me to look for it and just my luck because i found it and at the same time discovered a brilliant artist at that. The name 'Danayi Murapa' may not ring a bell to most of you but let that not deter you from taking a listen to what she has to offer.

The intro is beautiful with lovely instrumentation as well as the singing. It is an invitation for everyone to call on to the Lord through all situations. I wish it was a longer into though, being only a minute. Ndichengetei is a mellow gospel groove with that distinct gospel sound we have come to expect over the years. The formula simply works and it will sit well with many a gospel fan or music fan in general. She asks for God's guidance in this journey of life as there are many hurdles along the way. Munerudo, the title track is stuff legends are made of. This is the song that prompted me to try and find out who Danayi Murapa is. Sabastian Magacha makes an appearance on this beautiful piece and the 2 artists complement each other with such conviction. Mukoma Saba vanomira mira hama dzangu! To tell you the truth i have no idea why this song has not yet made the charts in Zimbabwe because it is excellent. I like how it is listenable across all ages at the same time carrying a relevant message. This is as good as gospel music gets! I noted that the final album version is slightly different from the initial version that circulated a few months back. It still sounds great regardless.

Another lovely cut from this album is Zorora featuring Tembalami. This is pure 'feel good' gospel music and i found myself singing along and dancing. Munerudo is still my favourite but Zorora is a close second. The artists sing of God's goodness and his deliverance from those tiresome tribulations. Well done to Tembalami, i would like to hear what his music sounds like. This one is joining Munerudo on my iPod, no questions asked. Upon giving this album a listen one thing stood out, the uniform quality from start to finish. Kudos to you Danayi, this is top notch stuff. It was great to listen and connect with the effort put into this album. The other 2 songs, Ndapererwa featuring the very beautiful Petronella Gobvu and Zarura are quite good. Danayi's voice is unique and she uses it well, she knows her vocal abilities which is essential for success as an artist.

The only downside to this album for me was the fact that of the 7 tracks, one is a minute long intro and another an instrumental which leaves it down to 5 songs. I am not a fan of albums that are either too short or too long. Next time i would love to hear 8-12 tracks, i really think that is something artists need to consider for their fans and in Danayi's case she has already proved she can be versatile so why not give us more? All in all this album is brilliant, a must hear especially for those inclined to gospel music. Recommended if you are into artists like Sabastian Magacha, Taurai Gorden Nzira and Bethan Pasinawako. Please do not hesitate to get a copy!

You can buy the album here:

Cover Art - 7/10 (beautiful)
Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 7.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 8/10 (really love her work)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rest In Peace Sam Mtukudzi (1988 - 2010)


Rest In Peace to a remarkable young man with an abundance of talent. Your passing still comes as a shock and a great loss for the Zimbabwe music industry.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Stunner - Team Hombe (2009)


I've witnessed Stunner rise steadily from the days of Rudo Rwemari, experimenting as a dancehall artist and blossoming into one of Zimbabwe's most respected urban rappers. His 6 year career has seen him release the albums Hameno, KaLife and the latest one, Team Hombe. I finally managed to get my hands on the CD copy of the album that is available in stores which is quite different from the initial one which was to be titled Tambai Ngoma.

The album title was changed from Tambai Ngoma after the huge success of the single Team Hombe which graced the Power FM charts since mid - 2009. The song is about Stunner's rise in the music industry, from the days when people gave him no chance at all. It boasts of an American influenced southern beat with some clever imagery from Stunner. I can tell that he is enjoying his success to the fullest.
The album opens up with an intro then Handimbokusiye produced by MacDee. This track is a great opener for the album and i reckon it has the potential to become an anthem this year. It has that distinct Urban Grooves feel and is rather danceable. Paushamwari Hwedu has a clever concept where the chorus is an old nursery school rhyme. ExQue features on this one, i've heard better verses from him. Shamwari neshamwari adopts a kizomba rhythm and surprisingly features Diana Samkange. Since the release of Hameno, it was rumoured that Diana and Stunner did not see eye to eye. Seems like they have patched up now and on this song they sing about just being friends even though people believe they are lovers.

Madziya Sister reminds me of a 50 Cent song and as i write this i am looking for the song in my library even though i have my doubts that i have it (before i even got to searching i remembered the song, I Get Money). I do like the Stunner song, it's DRIPPING of swagger with some nice energy to his flow. The freestyle by Jnr Brown will have you laughing and is enjoyable, the man anenharo paFlow hama dzangu. Kana Usipo really tickled my fancy. It borrows the melody in the chorus from somewhere but i just cannot seem to put my finger on it. Anyhoo... Cash features a heavy line up with B.G, Yoz, Johnny K and Jnr Brown (they are the ones i could figure out given the album back cover does not include features). It's one for the Hip Hop heads out there and for me this is the direction Zim Hip Hop should take.
The whole line up does a great job on this song. I am against what has characterised Zim Hip Hop of late where only 'English spitting' Emcees are recognised as 'hip hop'. Takoresa is a remix to Live Your Life by T.I and i'm not so sure that it should have been part of this album. I enjoy the lyrics and surely Stunner made the most of it but more of his original work would have been more appreciated here. Rihanna's chopped up vocals are cool and stuff but for an official release? I don't think so Mr Stunner!

One thing i do not understand is why Ex Girlfriend, Dai and Tambai Ngoma are missing from this CD. These were possibly the best songs on the previous copy and they really elevated Stunner into a different class. I really need to understand his reasoning behind the ommission. There are a couple of songs that the album can do without as well. I get the feeling that on this album he was trying to mould his image towards 'Zimbabwean Rap' incline. He gets the tick from me. All in all, Stunner maintains his tried and tested formula of catchy lyrics and banging beats. It works and Team Hombe will rate as one of the hottest albums getting into 2010.
Stunner fans of old will definitely like this one and it comes recommended for a taste of some of Urban Grooves best music.

Get the album here:

Cover Art - 7/10 (great work and resurrection from the KaLife cover)
Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 6.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10

Saturday, January 9, 2010

BKay & Kazz - Boomslang (2009)


BKay and Kazz have been on this musical journey for a while now. These 2 brothers have grown from strength to strength. I remember seeing their video for Ndikati Hello on Channel O 4 years ago without a clue who they were. Now they reign as ambassadors for Zimbabwe through their brilliant work. They released their debut album, In The Beginning, 5 years ago and it was more for the Zimbabwean and Malawian markets where their roots lie. Boomslang is their first international release and their approach is different from last time around.

Don't Stop opens up the 16 track Boomslang album with an infectious rhythm that will have you dancing. It is a dancehall track with a very commercially acceptable aspect about it such that you don't have to be a dancehall fan to enjoy it. These guys sing real music and the song relates to their will to succeed. I Wanna Get Loved is impressive. The vocal abilities that these guys have will surprise you and it is also part of what makes them so versatile. The inclusion of Ndikati Hello is one i did not expect but given that among Zimbabweans it is their most popular track and this being an international release they wanted to show that they have come a long way. Despite the track being old it by no means compromises the quality of this album and it rates highly. Decibel did his thing very well here! The same goes for Senorita concerning it being on their debut but it sounds so good i thought i was hearing it for the first time.

There are quite a few songs with videos here and i am hoping these guys come out with a DVD album as well. You Know It's Right is one of the songs with a video. This song is great, well composed, well sung and well put together. The video? Awesome! Whatever formula these guys are using it is definitely working. You Know It's Right has 2 versions here and they are both good. We played The Music Drive on our podcasts and the reception speaks for itself. The track is just massive. A definite banger and the dancehall baseline that accompanies the powerful vocals led me to have this song on repeat. It features Decibel and the man has not lost his touch at all. Of the whole album Amina Kadeya is my favourite. The way they took an old nursery school game and made it into a dance track is genius. VanaWezhira from Masvingo are talented, jealous down hama dzangu! I tip this to be one of the party regulars in 2010.

BKay & Kazz are some of the hardest working artists around and their album proves it. A lot of the songs on this offering were released as singles. Other songs to look out for include Wynd With Me, Leave Me Alone and Crazy Baby. I really liked this album from start to finish and i could change with the mood of the album without feeling robbed of any quality and so forth. There is something in there for everyone. I found very little fault to this album, it leaves you satisfied with your purchase.

Get the album here: (mp3 album) and iTunes

Cover Art - 8/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7/10
'I Like Factor' - 8/10

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shumba DJs - Tambayi Funky Anthems (2009)


Zimbabwean house music hasn't quite established itself compared to the other youthful genres. Having noted that, the genre is experiencing an exciting time after the success of the Native Flash and Zim DJ albums with hits such as Jobho (Remix) and House of Stone. Shumba DJs are relatively new to the scene 'by name' but with years of experience as DJs on the local and international stage. For this debut offering they have teamed up with Beatovenz on a 5 album deal.

The album opens up with One of These Days which is a dance classic. The song adopts a sound that house lovers would instantly connect with and would light up dancefloors across the world without fail. The song maintains the same tempo throughout with some excellent use of the bongo which makes the song very catchy. Zvamauya Zvanaka is a feel good song about how our relations with friends and family mean a lot to us. It explores the euphoria of seeing loved ones after a long time and the joys of rediscovering that closeness. The song is well sung as well. Tambai made me think of the days when kwaito was still the real deal when artists like M'du, Arthur, Abashante and B.O.P were churning out hits on a regular basis. It has that 'old school' feel to it. I felt the same way listening to Happy Birthday where Primrose Gwata sang her lungs out! I am guessing these guys must have been kwaito/digong fans at some point.

Wynd For Me by BKay and Kazz is the first song from this album that came out some time back. The song is a straight banger and BKay and Kazz (anaWezhira, Masvingo Massive!) are definitely among some of Zimbabwe's best exports within the diaspora. They prove this without a doubt on this tracks singing about the beauty of a girl who is on the dancefloor who is looking lonely. These guys surely know how to hype up a track and with the Shumba DJs producing a well worked beat this is a collaboration at its best. On My Way sounded experimental and leans more to the techno side of music. It's not really my taste but the composition is still good. Mandela The Great was a very meaningful contribution highlighting that even when we have fun there are sons and daughters who have helped Africa to become what it is today. Their call for Africa to unite is one that many artists should consider. Loved the female vocals on this song.

All in all this 17 track offering is a testimony of what talent, hard work and experience can give you. Besides the songs already mentioned i greatly enjoyed the song Kumusha. Many of us outside Zimbabwe can relate to this song. I believe the number of tracks on this album could have been cut down to a good 12 - 14. That way they would have taken the very best tracks as one or two cuts are rather luke warm. For a debut these guys did well regardless and it's a worthy purchase. I believe Zimbabwean House is truly taking shape and any house music lovers this one is for you. Great work guys!

Get the album here: and

Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 6.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zimbabwe Today - Various Artists (2009)


It has been a while since i have come across a compilation of contemporary artists from Zimbabwe. The recently released Zimbabwe Today compilation includes 11 great artists from Zimbabwe, singing within different genres and languages.

This sizzling album opens up with a song by Hope Masike entitled The Land. The mbira leads this composition with some well controlled vocals sung in the Shona language. She delves into the origins of 'Africa' asking what it means and where it came from. It is a very mellow song which boasts of having a highly ethnic sound, a true gem. The popular Shaina by Alexio Kawara is a fitting inclusion with its positive message which should definitely inspire many generations to come. Andy Brown plays the guitar with a passion that connects through the song. Of all the Alexio songs released to date, this one is definitely his stand out track.

Prior to this release i had never heard of Mathius Julius before and i was at a loss. His song struck a chord with me. On a reggae vibe with a delivery i have not quite heard in ages. Coming from a Zimbabwean artist the song Der Pon raised the bar to a standard which many artists will find hard to reach. I marvelled at the backing vocals. Mathius relates to the bonds of slavery which led to forced migration of Africans to far away lands. He asks God to guide him in his walk of life. Selmor Mtukudzi has an undeniable Oliver Mtukudzi influence in her music characterised by the afro-jazz cum pop sound in her songs. Her mature approach holds much weight for her social commentary. The legendary Victor Kunonga graces this album with Mamurega. He maintains his formula of music that is easy on the ears which sounds like a mixture of 'chimurenga' music and jazz. Zimbabwe reggae's finest, Transit Crew also make an appearance with Lord If I Cry.

This album is easily the best compilation i have heard in the last few years. The level of quality, maturity and depth is a rare find on the Zimbabwean and even international scene.
Other tracks on the album that tickled my fancy were Handishore by guitar legend Clive 'Mono' Mukundu, Arumwa by Willis Wataffi and Mubvunzo by Sebede. To top it all off it is all for a good cause with a portion of proceeds going to Tariro - Hope & Health for Zimbabwe's Orphans. It is a non-profit organisation located in Glen Norah, Zimbabwe, working to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS by educating young women. Grab a copy, high recommendation here!

Get the album here:

Visit Tariro - Hope & Health for Zimbabwe's Orphans website:

Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 9/10
Technical Sound - 9/10
'I Like' Factor - 8/10

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Bethen Pasinawako - Anotida (2009)


It always excites me to find relatively new artists doing well other than the usual so and sos we have come to know over the years. The gospel music scene in Zimbabwe is probably the most vibrant and talent nurturing compared to any other genre. Bethen Pasinawako's debut album, Aripo, a couple of years back ranks as one of the best gospel albums ever produced in Zimbabwe and she gives us her sophomore offering, Anotida.

We played the title track, Anotida, a few weeks back on the XBC podcasts and the reception was quite overwhelming among gospel fans and others alike. The song is quite laid back and will be familiar with many people as one of the songs we used to sing in church from long back. The instrumentantion is commendable, definitely one of my favourites cuts off the album. Donhodzo is a bit more uptempo mixing many elements of gospel, rhumba and so forth. It got me on my feet and she is singing about how the time has come for us to wipe our tears and be happy again. Gundawakunda is on a similar tip and it is a celebratory piece about God's victory in His actions. It adopts a popular sound from South African gospel of the late 90s. Mamuri is a dance track and would be great for gatherings. It reminds me of the late 80s and early 90s. It could pass for a kwaito track and i loved hearing Bethen sing in Ndebele, English and Shona on the same track.

Namatwai was an absolute surprise on this album. There is a sound i had grown to expect as i listened through the songs and this one was nowhere near that! It starts with an old school RnB flavour and a piano that is as sweet as it can get. It got me wondering how Bethen would fair singing Shona RnB then the beat changed and became much more 'Zimbabweanised'. Anti-climax! Well to be fair the song is still great but i would like to see her explore that RnB side which sounded so great on a song or two. Pfugama Unamate is an old church hymn with a personal Bethen touch that and i think this one will be a favourite of many, young and old. It testifies to Bethen's ability to make her music appeal to various age groups. I love the mbira on this song and the lead guitar is also well worked with an undeniable Zimbabwean sound. Nditungamirei variates between a subtle reggae sound and a familiar Rebecca Malope/Lundi kind of sound. Another good song and as the title suggests it is a track about asking for God's guidance through life days.

I believe we have another gospel star made in Bethen Pasinawako. This brilliant album shows that she has a lot more to give with such an exciting voice. A perfect example of a great comeback. Other tracks to look out for are the sad Famba Zvakanaka and Andidana (which sounds a lot like her song Jehovah Jireh from her previous offering). I am highly impressed. Get yourself a copy!

Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Eloi Manjoro - In God's Love (2007)


The name 'Eloi' might not ring a bell but i am sure that is set to change. I really do feel that gospel music is so vibrant at the moment and the talent Zimbabwe possesses is something we all ought to be proud of. It's not all about the 'household' names either. The debut from Eloi Manjoro is called In God's Love and it reveals some amazing versatility in our gospel music industry. Despite the fact that it came to our attention nearly 2 years after it was produced, it is timeless.

The album opens up with a very interesting intro. You can tell the quality straight away, a lot of work was put into this project. The Stream is a lovely piece with some interesting backing vocals that would strike a chord with most church goers. I could not help but notice the way the singers compliment each other which made me think that they must have been singing together for a while. Eloi leads the song and does it so well. It is about thanking God for his blessings. The song If JC Ain't in The House featuring Soosh and Priestly has a mid tempo dancehall vibe. The vocal team just does wonders here from the singing to the rapping. Besides the uplifting message this kind of music is well worth marketing internationally and would represent us so very well.

As i listened i began to connect with Eloi's music being more of a fusion between mainly RnB and dancehall. It sits very well with a young, vibrant listener who finds pride in the good word. You will find yourself vibing to songs like Amen. The melody is really groovy and picks up the tempo and the female lead does justice to this track. Add to that, the chorus is very much an easy sing along. One of the best tracks on this album. In that category of some of the finest music on this album is Everlasting Love. I would not be far off by saying this tracks calms your heart. It is beautifully contsructed.

This album is one that should not be overlooked. From start to finish all the tracks are well worth listening and over different aspects of good musical composition. Other songs to watch out for are Hey Wena and Jesu Ndewangu. I would recommend this album to you all. Get your self a copy!

Get the album here:

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 8/10
'I Like' factor - 7/10

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sniper Storm - The Voice (2009)


Sniper Storm is one of Zimbabwean dancehalls best acts and he has proved it time and again from the days of Gede Mwana through to the hit songs Kubhinya and One Room. Of late, the man had been doing mostly shows between his debut album, Ndakabata Mic 2009 and now. Many thought the man was out of the business but he is back with a brand new album, The Voice.

This piece opens up with Joy where Sniper proclaims that 'tauya kuzofara' (we have come to have a good time). It is an uptempo track that will get you dancing in no time. He gives his respect to other artists like King Labash and Winky D who many consider his rivals (im sure that squashes any beef rumours). The Buju Banton (Boom Bye Bye) inspired Soddom hit me from nowhere. The song is controversial considering the subject; gays and lesbians. He sings that 'vakadzi pavarume ndozvatinoda' (we want women to be with men). You have to hear this song for yourself. The truth is it is a touchy subject and the song will definitely be more appreciated in Zimbabwe. Having said his lyrics are quite funny though. As soon as Soddom was done, Chirungu just gave me a low blow yet again. At first when i listened to the track i thought, is this guy serious? Then i listened CAREFULLY.

Ini handidadi nechirungu
Handiite zvechirungu
Handifarire chirungu nokuti handisi murungu
Chikafu chechirungu
Tsika dzechirungu
Mwari wechirungu
Manamatiro echirungu
Handisi kuti ini ndakamaka varungu
Handivenge murungu kana kushora chirungu
Chandingatoda pamwe mukadzi wechirungu
Kudanana nemurungu zvekusvotesa varungu

I do not take pride in westernised culture
I do not do western things
I do not like the western culture because i am not a white man
I do not like the white man's food
Nor his culture
I do not like the white man's god
Or his ways of religion
I am not saying i dislike white people
I do not hate whites or their culture
I would not mind dating a white woman
To be in love with her just to annoy white people

It's simple, this song can be taken the wrong way yet what he really is saying is that as a black Zimbabwean he finds many things wrong with our society disregarding our own culture to do things that otherwise originated from foreign countries. The man speaks his mind, no holds barred! Well worth a listen.

Madhara Madhara has a video (youtube) done by video guru Enqore. On this song he is saying he is back and some people thought he was dead. Self praise really (enjoyable at that!). Paradise featuring songstress Cindy Raw is a great track and i'm sure it will blaze many a dancehall! Cindy Raw is doing a great job in the industry and besides Plaxedes Wenyika is probably the most consistant lady in Urban Grooves. The collaboration between Diana and Sniper, Ndoda, is definitely a song to watch out for. I think it has the potential to be a big hit and is produced by hot Urban producer Russo. It is a love song where Diana is looking for love and Sniper is telling her how much love he can give. Dhanda Head is a hilarious track about 'not so clever' people who do things that leave you wondering where their common sense lies. Handimude is another track with lyrics that will leave you in stitches;

'Ndiani angade musikana anoshorwa nevamwe?
Anonzi hure, pfambi nevamwe
Pese paari anongozezwa nevanhu
Kutukwa kunyeyiwa kutyiwa
Anehunhu hwechibhanditi
Hapana chake chechokwadi
Anodanana nevamwe 50
Apa ndiwe unoitwa bhambi
Anoita kuti vanhu vakunzwire tsitsi
Kwauri akakosha ingirozi
Apa mumwe achingoti kachoki
Anonzi rubbish, marara, marutsi nevanhu'

Msoja is one of the best tracks this album has to offer. Sniper highlights the fearsome nature of soldiers and the high levels of respect they command wherever they are. He attributes this aspect to factors like the vigorous training they receive hence their potential to injure or even kill if need be. This song will win him many fans i am sure. Handife is the track doing well on the charts at the writing of this review. It is probably on the charts more because of its gospel inclination but does not compare to other songs on this album. It so happens to be a good track regardless just that i would pick at least 5 other songs as the lead single before it.

For 21 tracks, this album is worth every cent you spend on it packed with heat from start to finish. As a sophomore offering it definitely has a very high rating on all fronts. I reckon this album has more hit singles compared to Ndakabata Mic 2009 (taking nothing away from the latter!). I was hoping that his dance song Mai Chisamba which he performs at shows would be on this album but unfortunately he seems to save it only for the live performances. This is one of the best dancehall albums to come out of Zimbabwe and get yourself a copy!

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 7/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Josphat Somanje - This Time (Haulume)


I was very expectant upon receiving this album. Josphat Somanje has been around for a very long time and knows how it is to ride the wave of success. I had heard lots about this album from friends and acquintances especially the song everyone calls 'Haulume'. Last time i heard such a hype about a song was 'Idya Banana' by Joseph Garakara.

The track where the album is named is called 'Handibvume' (Haulume). It opens up this album and pretty much sets the pace. We all know museve songs are usually very long and Josphat maintains that. Handibvume is about a couple going through marital problems and are on the verge of breaking up. When the husband decides that it is time his wife left the marriage she insists on having him return the child they have to where ever it came from and go back to when he was courting her. It is a hilarious track and very well penned and by my take it is one of those classic sungura songs that will live on and on. The song is infectious! Eniya is about a woman who does not understand the values of relationships and looks for all the wrong things in her marriage. The husband insists that having a home comes first and then money etc

Another hit song from this album is Mukaranga (otherwise better known as Maggie Mukaranga). The lead guitar on this song is beautiful! The song is about a man stating his intention to marry a 'mukaranga' woman called Maggie expressing how beautiful she is and that he would want to marry her as soon as possible. Vintage museve! Other tracks on the album include Kwete Kuvatendera and Jorijo.

Now i must admit that sungura is not quite my forte but This Time is absolutely fantastic. It is my pick for Sungura album of the year and Josphat equally deserving on artist of the year. Handibvume remains the best track on this album and has seen many days on my CD Player, i suggest you find this album a.s.a.p especially if you like sungura, it is simply brilliant! Recommended if you are into the likes of Alick Macheso, Chamunorwa Nebeta, Tongai Moyo, Somandle Ndebele and R & K African Sounds.

Cover Art - 0/10 (The only bad thing about this album if you consider it)
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 8/10

Monday, August 10, 2009

Farai "Pharaye" M - Beautifully Learnt (2009)


I appreciate it when i manage to come across talented youngsters because it reminds me that we have much to give in world music. Pharaye is a fairly young gospel artist who is set to do big things. This 21 year old young man is one to watch out for. I thought Beautifully Learnt was his debut but he actually has a previous album released in 2006 called I Take A Moment.

The title track, Beautifully Learnt, is amazing, from the production right through to the singing. It features another talented artists, a lady called Sharon Rose. Props to the E-Monie on production because this work is phenomenal. The song is about how God is always there, at ALL times. It really reminds me of how i was taught how to count on God no matter the situation. It is truly something that is beautifuly learnt when you know you can depend unconditionally. A very fitting title track. Point of View features E-Monie and Sharon Rose and the instrumental just makes you want to get up and dance. Having said that, the man talks about some heartbreaking things like losing his mother and living a difficult life. This is where Jesus came in and changed his point of view on life so he is celebrating that. It's a fresh sounding song but with such a mature topic. One of my favourite on this EP.

For Your Love is a gem. It is an RnB sounding track about how His love shines every day. Pharaye focuses on how our imperfections are no reason for God to disown us. In knowing that noone is perfect, we still have a chance to be better people and strive for perfection. I think this one can be a sing along for years to come. I like Rydmptn as well and again the production is top notch. That bouncy RnB flavour makes his brand of gospel so much better. I can relate to it on many levels. Every song is worth a listen. I really would have hoped he included more tracks but that takes nothing away from the amazing quality and high standard of professionalism on this offering. Also watch out for Shower Down... the song is phenomenal!

This is gospel music with a difference. This album is highly recommended if you like RnB and especially the younger Christians out there, this will get you going and that is a promise! Pharaye, you are a star, keep it up!

Cover Art - 5/10

Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10

Friday, August 7, 2009

Nasty Trixx - Vapamhe (2008)

Trust Dojiwe better known in the music circles as Nasty Trixx is back with a new album and Maskiri's so called sound alike has his chance to prove that he has what it takes to stay on top. I am sure many of you out there remember the smash hit 'ChiDanger (Chimoko)' from his 2004 debut Kupinda Newe. I can confirm every song on that album was a certified hit and it put this young man on the map.

A song from the new offering that made rave reviews in 2006 is DDF (which was also on the Bhodho Size One compilation by Tony G). The song is produced by Tony G and is a comical piece about a girl who wished for Nasty Trixx to become her lover. Apparently in the song, Nasty Trixx overhears the girl at church praying for divine intervention in her quest for love. On the other hand, Nasty confirms that the young lady is so beautiful he is already in love with her after having met her on the bus the previous day. The concept just makes me laugh! Great stuff! It is also the only Tony G production there as the two parted ways over unspecified differences. This new album also contains the hit song Kukakika which made an impressive position on the 2008 Power FM charts. The title is a descriptive word about how beautiful a woman is and the song is a testimony of how clever Nasty Trixx can be. When it comes to women, it seems like that is his area of choice lyrically.

Unfortunately the 2 songs mentioned above are as good as this album gets and the other tracks are a complete waste of time. I hate to say it like that but if you compare Nasty Trixx on his tracks produced by Tony G and the ones by the producer he is working with now, you can tell that there is no contest. The music is horrible and amateurish to say the least. I reckon my 15 year old brother can do better on productions. My colleague upon hearing this album asked me, "Is this a demo album by Nasty Trixx from 10 years ago?" That is simply how bad it is. I would have written about the tracks in detail as i usually do but this time i do not see the point. The only other song i could mention is Ndopisa Musoro in which he blasts former friends Tony G and Madiz who had a major part in his first album. He claims Tony G shortchanged him from his album royalties and when he left Baseline Studios, Tony G was stranded and other artists left. The same producer he is dissing so happens to have, by far, the best track on this album. On the same page, comparing with Kupinda Newe, this new album has not as much as a good chorus which Madiz was mostly responsible for first time around. Sadly, truth be told, Tony G and Madiz are having the last laugh on this one enjoying enough success in the past 2 years.

Enough said, this ranks as one of the most disappointing sophomore albums i have heard in a long time. By this showing, i think Nasty Trixx will be a nobody in the industry within the next 2 years unless he rejoins Tony G's camp or finds a producer who is just as good or better. Kukakika just so happens to be the single that is a glimmer of hope in an otherwise dwindling career. Nasty you can do much better!

Music - 2/10
Technical Sound - 1/10
'I Like Factor' - 2/10

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Sabastian Magacha - Ndinokutendai (2009)


The Zimbabwe gospel scene is as exciting as ever with the rise of the younger gospel artists. The genre has undergone a lot of changes but still continues to excite and holds its place in popularity. The name Sabastian Magacha may ring a bell to a few but be assured the young man is a born star. Full of talent and blessed with a powerful voice, this is a name we will remember for a long time. His 2007 album Shekinah Glory shot Sabastian to fame with the massive hit, Tinomudana. In 2009 he is back with Ndinokutendai.

I had the pleasure of hearing the title track early on in the year courtesy of a friend and it was the first time i had ever heard of Sabastian Magacha. His brand of gospel music wowed me on the spot and have been trying to source his music ever since. Ndinokutendai is an uplifting number about thanking God for all he has done especially when people try to pull you down. The production on this song is nothing short of impressive and definitely puts Sabastian on a different level. I really like the way these youthful guys are making the music less predictable. Ndoenda Mberi is equally as enjoyable and it is a song about persistence. He sings about kusadzokera shure (not giving up/going back). I really enjoy the fact that he sings with such conviction and he is not the usual 'recycle-the-most-popular-bible-verse-i-know' type of Zimbabwean gospel artist.

Nemunamato sounds a bit like a reggae song (with a Zimbabwean twist of course!). I think this song relates to so many Zimbabweans who pray everyday for better opportunities. It is a song of encouragement that shows how the Zimbabwean population largely turns to religion for answers. Shaura proclaims God's glory and is a testimony of what God does in our lives. It is a slow, mellow song which touches your heart upon listening. The singing was superb. The back up singers on this track did an excellent job that deserves an applause at the very least. I like the lyrics and they struck a chord with me about how we as people hardly ever thank God but find ourselves complaining a whole lot. Nyarara is also another great track with amazing singing.

Also watch out for Anouya and Ngiaykubonga. Sabastian Magacha is the most exciting gospel prospect yet and i have no doubts about that. If he keeps producing such good music he is definitely set for a very bright and prosperous career. Of those who have already heard his stuff, you can testify. If you like a good word of God, this gem of an album will not disappoint. Recommended if you like artists like Fungisai, Taurai Gorden Nzira, Bethan Pasinawako, Alexio Kawara, Kudzai Nyakudya. Simply breathtaking!

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8/10
Technical Sound - 7/10
'I Like Factor' - 8/10


XBC Jumpoff Boyz Remusikanzwa 2008