Shingai Shoniwa, a little-known yet successful United Kingdom-based Zimbabwean musician, has colourfully represented the country at top drawer international assignments.
REPORT BY SILENCE CHARUMBIRA
Shoniwa is the lead singer of the Noisettes, arguably one of the most sought after rock bands in that country, but so little is known of her back home.
She is strikingly visible with her funky hairstyles that could suggest a wayward character although she is actually down to earth.
She is open-minded with no predictable characteristics. The talented musician is in the country and Standardlife&style had a chance to chat with her on Thursday.
“I am not here to show off but to network and learn about my people. Shona is not just a language, but a culture,” she said.
According to the vivacious artist, music is part of her diet.
She feels her music should not be classified as rock or under any other genre in the same way one cannot live on only one particular type of food.
“My music derives inspiration from jazz, rock, a bit of soul and any other genre you can think of and calling it one particular genre would be like feeding on pasta alone, which will probably clog the digestive system,” said Shoniwa.
“I love music so much and I find the beauty in the variety.”
Shoniwa lamented the amount of foreign music that the local audience was consuming.
“There is so little Zimbabwean art that we see in the UK but there is a lot of talent locally that is not being harvested.
“I think there is a lot that still needs to be done. Let the seeds grow so that we can begin exporting more than we import. We have to encourage and nourish the young talent that we have locally.
“The Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) is one of the platforms that have been doing very well in nurturing local arts. We have to be proud of our own. Art tells the story of a people and who else can tell our own story better than ourselves? That is our identity and if we feed on music by foreign artists, are we learning about ourselves?”
She said parents should not force careers on their children but support them in whatever they show passion and talent in.
Shonhiwa said she had been privileged by the balanced school system that her parents made her go through.
She said she benefitted immensely from the structure of the education especially that she learnt the different kinds of economics.
The Don’t Upset the Rhythm hit maker said she has been gathering inspiration from her experience during the three weeks that she has been in the country.
“I see art everywhere and what I have seen so far will culminate in an album inspired by the sounds of Africa.
“I am hoping to get together with other local artists having worked with Tuku alone so far at the Victoria Falls Carnival and earlier in the UK during his tour.”
Shoniwa has appeared in a few commercial works with the most recent one being for Ford Fiesta.
In the video on You Tube she appears driving a sleek blue Fiesta automobile with maximum convenience.
She said she anticipates moving to Zimbabwe permanently in future and she hopes to be in the country for Hifa this year.