Faith keeps Chabvonga going

CHIMURENGA artiste Jairos Chabvonga is not worried about packing venues at the moment as his focus is to give loyal fans value for money.

The Thomas Mapfumo-inspired artiste has faith that one day in future he will find a breakthrough.

“I have learnt to perfect my act over the years and I am convinced that I am almost there. At the moment, my focus is on delivering a polished act to give value to my loyal fans.

“I have got faith that one day things will shape up; for this reason, I have invested heavily in music,” he told the WeekendPost at the side-lines of his Jazz 24/7 weekly slot.

He performs at Jazz 24/7 in the capital on Tuesdays and the slot is slowly yielding desired results.

“Chimurenga music took a back seat when Mapfumo relocated to the United States of America and it is now a mammoth task to revive it here in Zimbabwe. There is a lot to be done but I am encouraged by the positive response I am getting from my fans.

“The genre has been dented by politics; some of the fans feared to associate with the genre because the majority of chimurenga artistes used it to pursue political agendas.

“However, I strongly believe with time, the genre will reclaim its top position in the country as fans and artistes are here,” he said.

Chabvonga said the chimurenga genre is the backbone of Zimbabwean culture; hence it should not be neglected at all.
“I believe the genre defines us as Zimbabweans. It started here so Zimbabweans should be proud of it, they should not leave it dying,” Chabvonga said.

Chabvonga’s sentiments on chimurenga were backed by veteran artiste Leonard Zhakata who said sungura and chimurenga music genres must not be escorted to graveyards as they carry national history and identity.

“Sungura and chimurenga music genres are part of our identity as Zimbabweans hence it is fatal to celebrate its death.
“Country music is among the oldest genres in Europe but fans unlike here they do not want to let it go and they are proud of it.

“Our major problem is that we have misinterpreted the idea of preserving identity as a sign of primitiveness or backwardness,” he said.

Chabvonga and Zhakata’s sentiments come at a time when local fans seem to be turning deaf ears to traditional music genres while promoting modern and foreign ones.

“More radio stations have come on board unlike back in the day when I joined the music industry but the stations are doing less on protecting traditional genres which distinguishes us as Zimbabweans.

“Virtually all new radio stations are competing to promote modern genres such as Zimdancehall at the expense of traditional music. Radio stations should be the custodians of our identity, the death of sungura will leave us Zimbabweans culturally naked,” said the Mugove hit-maker.

Chabvonga has three albums under his belt, namely Nevanji, Chimurenga Highway and Chimurenga Heritage.
Apart from the albums, he has collaborated with other artistes, including Andy Muridzo and Soul Jah Love among others.—Vasco Chaya

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