Debate over the recently released Mdhara Vachauya album by multi award-winning musician Jah Prayzah is ragging on different social media platforms, with some critics condemning the quality of the product.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
Other music followers said the only outstanding thing about the album was its colourful launch, but the songs appear mundane and of no substance as compared to his previous productions.
Despite many not disputing the prowess of the Uzumba-bred musician who continues to raise the bar high both on the locally and international showbiz scene, the album has been received with mixed feelings, with some describing it as shoddy.
Some fans have coined theories that Jah Prayzah could have bought the rights of the song Watora Mari where he collaborated with Tanzanian heavyweight Diamond Platnumz as a way of mending relations after he was accused of plagiarising the East African’s Mdogo Mdogo video for his Jerusarema project.
The musician was under fire from critics on different social media platforms as he was earlier accused of copying the beat of the song Mwanasikana, off his Tsviriyo album from Ghanaian musician Emmanuel Samini’s 2007 hit track titled Samini.
Jah Prayzah, however, dismissed the allegations, saying on Watora Mari they both composed the song that was later produced by Laizer of Diamond’s record label, Wasafi Records.
Some have even made sensational claims suggesting that, the title track Mdhara Vachauya was dedication to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa who is said to be angling to take over from President Robert Mugabe.
The irony is that on the lyrics that say… Dai wambotarisa nguva nekuti zvimwe pamwe mhepo ichauya, asi rambauchingopenya kunge zuva, vakanetsa unoti mdhara vachauya, aha mdhara vacho ishumba inoruma, the musician is alleged to be making reference to Mnangangwa’s Shumba totem
It is the song, Watora Mari, that has a smashing video which was shot and produced in South Africa by Molotovcoctail that seems to have been well-received by many and it has broken into the international arena, playing on South Africa’s top television channel, MTV Base.
In interviews, music followers who spoke to The Standard Style said the latest album did not match the musician’s creativity he showed on Jerusarema.
Stuart Gondo of Hatfield said; “I am an avid follow of Jah Prayzah, but on his latest offering he rushed to release it while it was not necessary to do so at a time when songs from his previous albums were doing well.
“This album lacks variation in terms of beat. When you play some of the tracks you will hear similarities from previous recordings or from other musicians.”
Sibongile Ncube said the album was a cocktail of genres that can be a testimony of how versatile Jah Prayzah was as an artist, but it has brought a new artist.
“On this album, Jah Prayzah should have maintained the type of music that moulded him to be whom he is today,” she said.
“He is known for his deep Shona lyrics that have become his trade mark on songs like Machembere, Jerusarema and Tiise Mawoko, but on this production there is danger that it could confuse his loyal fans.”
The debate has also spread to social media platforms.
Writing on his Facebook page, Elder Gerald MaziGerry-Musekiwa said Jah Prayzahreleased a half baked album.
“Jah Prayzah, the Mdhara that never came. After all the hype and noise, it turned out the mdhara never came or should I say came ‘too little too early’. Of cause lately he enjoyed dominance as [Alick] Macheso was hibernating,” he wrote.
Maxwell Saungweme wrote: “After attending a couple of Jah Prayzah’s shows, I admit the guy is good with instruments, choreography and he dresses his troupe well. However, after sampling the 11 tracks on his latest offering and juxtaposing the songs with the latest offerings from Leonard Zhakata and Hosiah Chipanga, it is my opinion that the young man needs to learn more on lyrics from these two greats.”
“He can also learn a bit if he spends some time with Charles Charamba or Progress Chipfumo. Sometimes as listeners we need to take some bit of message from songs. Apart from one or two love songs on that album, I failed to figure out any message from the rest of the album that speaks to any of the issues the country is facing,” he added.
Cecelia Chivhunga wrote “…. this might not be one of his (Jah Prayzah) best works ….but you cannot deny that Mudhara vasvika…..The boy has reached superstar status…..#legendinthemaking …..” (sic)
Speaking through his manager Keen Mushapaidze, Jah Prayzah said the album was well-received.
“The album is doing well and the reception so far has been OK. Everywhere you go, you can hear the album playing with the only difference being that people will be playing different tracks and at clubs the tracks are being played on repeat,” Jah Prayzah said.
“We don’t know what the future holds, but for now the album is a success.”
Speaking on the collaboration with Diamond Platnumz, Jah Prayzah said: “Music is about blending vocals and styles that can mix and match even if its different genres or languages as long as we can produce something that people can listen to and enjoy,” he said.
“If we can be in sync, we can definitely do the project provided we have the opportunity or the chance and in this case, Diamond Platnumz listened to Jah Prayzah’s songs and fell in love with them the same way we did with his music and thus how the project came about.
“People will always talk and they have the right to express their own opinion they would want to bring up, but that will not stop us from doing our work just because of criticism as we are there to entertain people. We compose songs to make people happy and not to prove anything beyond that as it is not our duty. We cannot hold anyone against whatever they might think of the current project or what we did in the past.”
He said it was his first time to hear about claims that Mdhara Vachauya was a dedication to Mnangwagwa.
“We are not surprised as some of our previous songs have been interpreted differently,” he said.
“The purpose of music apart from entertainment is to make people relate to whatever situations they are in and as a musician you might not even know of how people are going to relate the song to their different aspects of life, but normally songs suit each and everyone and they can interpret it differently,” he said.
Theories of Mnangagwa being Mdhara Vachauya emanate from the musician’s role as Zimbabwe Defence Forces’s goodwill ambassador. Last year Mnangagwa was the guest of honour when Jah Prayzah launched his sixth album Jerusarema.
While the album Mdhara Vachauya might have been received with mixed feelingS, Jah Prayzah is riding the crest of a wave in his music career. His creative prowess has never been in doubt and this has been confirmed by the several awards he bagged over the years as well as endorsement deals struck with big corporates