Gospel music sermon with The Master
WORSHIPPER Larry Gunda’s childhood preference of international gospel music is now bearing fruit, with his music gaining recognition beyond the country’s borders, as evidenced by his recent victory at the prestigious Maranatha Awards held in Kenya.
The song Taura Mweya, which Pastor Gunda did with the United Family International Church (Ufic) Choir, won the Surrender Song gong at the Maranatha Global Worship Music Awards 2019 ceremony held in Kenya recently.
Pastor Gunda told Standard Style that the organisers of the Maranatha awards had nominated Taura Mweya under the Surrender Song or the Invocation Song category.
“We were welcomed very well and surprised when we won the award, it was a tough competition, but they told us that Zimbabwe voted like never before,” Gunda said.
“It was a tight competition… there was Ghanaian musician Nathaniel Bassy, and the Psalmist Jimmy D the Nigerian, but God helped us and we took the award back to Zimbabwe.”
This was not all, as another nomination was waiting, last week Gunda received a message from South Africa informing him that Taura Mweya was under the Best African Artiste of the Year 2019 at the Ingoma Awards.
The ceremony is going to be held in August, but no date has been set yet.
God had been giving a lot to Pastor Gunda, who now has over 1 000 songs and this has led him to form a new group called J424 Worshippers, because Gospel Power cannot sing them all.
“The name J424 simply means worshipping according to John Chapter 4:24, which says God is spirit and those that worship Him should worship Him in spirit and in truth,” he said.
Worshipper Larry and the J424 Worshippers are going to release a 10-track album soon.
“Very soon we will be doing a live DVD recording in Harare, we are busy talking with a marketing company in South Africa, they are Ndebele and English songs, we want to attract the international market,” he said.
He has plans to own a studio and a grooming school, for those who want to do praise and worship in their churches.
The vocal coach and band and music director is also a pastor at the UFIC Mainway Meadows zone in Waterfalls, Harare.
Pastor Gunda said he would be celebrating his 10th wedding anniversary next month with his beautiful wife Talent.
The couple, who met in Chitungwiza and got married in July 2009, is blessed with four children — Emmanuel (8), Ruth (6), Rejoice (4) and Joyline (3).
Born in 1979 in Rusape, Pastor Gunda grew up at Inyati Mine before the family relocated to How Mine.
“As I grew up, I had passion so much for the Word of God I just fell in love with music. I used to listen to a lot of international artistes like Alvin Slaughter and Doen Moen, among others,” he said.
He did not know why he did not like to listen local music, but appreciated South African artistes.
Gunda was appointed praise and worship leader at AFM Church at How Mine in 1998 and began to compose songs.
“During that time we then formed a musical group called Salt and Light, but later changed the name to Gospel Power after finding that another group had the same name,” he said.
“Our fans implored us to go into the studio and in 2004 we did our debut album Akubheke Umusa in Zulu and Ndebele, and one English song because we were living in Matabeleland.
“It was very successful and was marketed very well, a door just opened and by the grace of God a company called Ingwe Studios in Bulawayo began marketing the music, we were all over the radio.”
The turning point in his calling came in 2004 when the group was introduced to Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa when he came to How Mine.
“God connected us to him and he started to nurture us and mentor us in the music area and he was praying for us and all of sudden we just started to receive and write more songs and that’s the time we did our second album Kana Zvamubata,” he said.
“The album was so awesome and it was an instant hit, I still remember another day when we took the music to the radio, I do not know what got into the DJ, but he almost played the whole album because he was so amazed by our gift.”
“We had to move from Bulawayo in 2006 to Chitungwiza because Prophet Makandiwa was transferred from Harare to Chitungwiza by AFM Church.”
Prophet Makandiwa kept on nurturing them and they later joined him when he formed Ufic church.