HomeStandard PeopleIs Morgan Heritage the last foreign act to visit Zimbabwe?

Is Morgan Heritage the last foreign act to visit Zimbabwe?

Since the introduction of multiple currencies in Zimbabwe seven years ago, several Jamaican artists have found performances in this country very attractive.

in the groove with Fred Zindi

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During the years, Zimbabweans have been spoilt for choice from the likes of Cocoa Tea, Beenie Man, Sean Paul, Mavado, Red Rat, Capleton, Mr Vegas, Sizzla, Popcaan, Elephant Man, Sean Kingston and Kalado. This year alone, Busy Signal, Christopher Martin and Romain Virgo have graced this part of the world, presumably in pursuit of the United States dollar, which happens to be the currency of choice in Zimbabwe.

I wonder if the same frequency of Jamaican artists will be prevalent after the introduction of the bond notes. My guess is that, with the drying up of foreign currency (the US dollar in particular), most Jamaican acts will begin to shun Zimbabwe. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is not likely to give music promoters the forex they need in order to import foreign bands as they have in the past viewed this kind of activity as a luxury. In these harsh economic times, priority will be given to those who import what the Reserve Bank considers to be more important non-luxury items.

On October 8, another Jamaican group, Morgan Heritage, will be in Zimbabwe for a performance at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC). In my opinion, this will be the biggest, but last reggae outfit to perform on Zimbabwean soil this year. I am, however, wondering about the wisdom of the promoters in using the HICC — which has a limited capacity — as the venue for the concert, yet smaller artists like Romain Virgo have used the Glamis Arena in order to accommodate more music fans. Busy Signal had close to 12 000 reggae fans at Glamis Arena this year. If he had been hosted at the HICC, there would have been chaos as the venue would have been too small for such a big event.

Now for Morgan Heritage, who have postponed coming to Zimbabwe twice before, to perform at the HICC, would be a joke. Either the promoters are underestimating the pulling power of this group, or they are getting the venue for free. There is no reason why they should choose the HICC to host such a big event. Even if they are afraid that it might rain on the day of the event, all they needed to do was to consult with the meteorological department to get the weather forecast. Seeing climatic changes over the years, the likelihood of October rains this year is zero.
In my opinion, Morgan Heritage are a bigger act than all the acts that have appeared here before.

According to Wikipaedia, Morgan Heritage is a reggae band that was formed in 1994 by five children of reggae artist Denroy Morgan. The children are Peter “Peetah”, Una, Roy “Gramps”, Nakhamyah “Lukes” and Memmalatel “Mr Mojo”. As one can see, Morgan Heritage is a family affair.

Morgan Heritage made their first appearance at the Reggae Sunsplash in Jamaica in 1994 before they were subsequently signed by MCA Records. The group released its debut album, Miracles that same year.

After the release of Miracles, the family moved to Denroy’s homeland of Jamaica. In this period, three family members left the group. Once in Jamaica, Morgan Heritage began working with famed reggae producers Bobby Dixon and Lloyd James, resulting in the release of their critically acclaimed second album Protect Us Jah (1997), followed by One Calling (1998) and the spiritually-inclined Don’t Haffi Dread (1999). They have released three compilation albums by The Morgan Heritage Family and Friends and a live album, Live in Europe, recorded on their 2000 tour.
Following the release of their 2001 album More Teachings. Morgan Heritage toured Europe again and they have returned several times since.

Their sixth studio album, Three in One, came out in 2003. They have released two successful DVDs, Live In London and Live Over Europe in 2003 and their seventh studio album Full Circle was released in 2005. Their next album, Mission In Progress, was released on April 15 2008. It includes the singles Faithful and Raid Rootz Dance.

After several years working on solo projects, they released the single The Return in 2012 and indicated that a new album would be recorded after their 2012 European tour. The album, Here Come the Kings was released in June 2013, followed by a tour of Europe.

As can be seen, Morgan Heritage is a very experienced group. If Busy Signal was a thriller in Zimbabwe, then Morgan Heritage is going to be a double thriller.

l Fred Zindi is a professor at the University of Zimbabwe. He is also a musician and an author of several books on music. He can be contacted via e-mail on: f_zindi@hotmail.com

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