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Local artists not cutting it

MUSIC is an art. Art is an expression. Expression can mean joy, sorrow, troubles or unresolved issues of life. With the government’s 75% local content policy on music, many thought the music industry was poised for growth, especially in t

erms of relevance. But the opposite seems to have been the case.


To be a good musician one has to be good at:

*Songwriting/composing;

*Arranging and mixing (tunes);

*Instruments (guitars, keyboards, mbira, etc);

*Voice projection and modulation;

*Stagework, ie live shows;

*Producing good videos.


A glance at our so-called upcoming stars reveals that they fail on most such criteria. For this reason I call them “trialists” except for a few like Wilom Tight, Plaxedes, Decibel, Roy & Royce. Most cannot compose a meaningful song, only bubble gum lyrics which fade after about two weeks. The instrumentation is just a bassline with a stinging keyboard. They can’t stage shows because they do not have bands of their own. Most of the instrumentation is done by their stable’s producers/mixers or by studio session guitarists.


In their overzealousness, they rush to produce mediocre videos parading their loved ones and relatives/friends. On the market their music is not available. It is like they produce it for their 3FM salad DJs, not for the public.


Music now is a vibrant industry just like soccer. It needs professional, talented and committed artists not “trialists”. If 3FM is the home of local content, then it must be for the urban youths only. Uri Roja or Kabhasikoro have no meaning for a youth herding cattle in Watsomba, Chikwarakwara, Plumtree or Zhombe.


I suggest there be full-time songwriters who can write meaningful songs for these bunch of pretenders. We need timeless songs like Chitekete, Jemedza, Mudiwa Janet, Mugove, Amai Rhubi to name a few. I think most Zimbabweans prefer the guitar to the key board, especially on secular music. The latter is good for soft or gospel music.


Songs sung by one person from start to finish without a chorus in the middle are not enjoyable especially from our ladies. Ladies should sing with their natural voices rather than trying to sing through the nose or the computer.


It is a fact that most of Bob Marley’s songs were written for him by someone else. So it is the case with Michael Jackson. Please let us put our act together otherwise our “local but borrowed” foreign content is going down the drain. Long live the Zimbabwean music industry.


Cee Tee Go,

Harare.

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