Urban grooves music slowly fading away?

AT THE turn of the millennium, government instructed that local radio stations play 75 percent local content and  urban grooves became popular among the youthful generation.

Power FM then Radio 3, ZBC’s teen station then, formed a record label that began recording urban grooves music which saturated on all its programmes.

Then Information minister Jonathan Moyo administered the 75 percent content but when he lost his job that 75 percent quota disappeared as well.

While urban grooves songs played on television and all the radio stations, hence dominating all programming, today you can hardly hear them anymore.

The urban grooves singers while famous did not make any money and most of them are now either destitute or doing other things outside music.

With the coming in of ZimDancehall the urban grooves genre has been completely buried and music fans seem to have forgotten them.

Just a few weeks ago rapper Stunner whose fame came during the urban grooves era was exposed as someone who was leeching off his rich wife Olinda.

Olinda posted live pictures on Facebook on Stunner’s wayward ways, and kicked him out of their house.

As Stunner was kicked out it turned out that he had no travelling bag, something which subjected him to ridicule. And he is not new to such kinds of ridicule — when his sex-tape with Pokello leaked people made fun of the fact that he had no headboard at his house.

Other urban groovers seemed to have jumped ship, exploring other things.

Betty Makaya is said to be a waitress at a South African restaurant, revealing that the fame came with little fortune.
Leonard Mapfumo released an album late last year but it never got much attention on the airwaves.

In fact no journalists managed to get hold of a copy which led them to question why he even launched the album in the first place.

While songstress Cindy Munyavi is fighting gallantly to push her music, she is also doing some other things to buttress her musical career.

She has a clothing boutique which supplements her income.

Joe Machingura who was the co-owner of Heshi Mfeshi has relocated to South Africa and revealed that the economy was not making business.

“The studio was an investment and Heshi Mfeshi was a brand that had grown. The economy was frustrating so I decided to move out of the country.”

Machingura explained how the urban grooves movement started.

“The Urban Grooves Movement traces its roots back to the likes of Rozalla Miller believe it or not. What she was singing then at the time was a new sound, different from what people were used to hearing. But the thing is there was not term for the music then.

“Then there were the likes of Fortune Muparutsa, Tendai Mupfurutsa (Prince Tendai) who sang Character, also Kevin and Muzi who sang Ncamu Ncamu.

“The sound was different as people were used to sungura or chimurenga music and this was all too foreign to them. But it was the new sound and it was coming with full force.

“Then came the early 2000s when Moyo at first introduced the 75 percent local content policy which required all radio stations to support local products.

“That was the time that the movement grew but still it did not have any name.  Power FM DJ Innocent Tshuma then coined the term ‘Urban Grooves’ and that name stuck until today.”

Machingura added that despite what people think, Urban Grooves is made up of different music genres.

“Urban Grooves is made up of different genres. There is hip-hop, R ‘n’ B, Soul, Dancehall. In the early 2000s artistes like Sniper, ExQ, Decibel, Roki, Plaxedes, Leonard Mapfumo, Alexio, Pastor G, Pauline and many others all benefitted from the 75 percent local content policy.

“They are the ones that had the name stuck on them. And people often think dancehall is not urban grooves, it is and it’s a movement that encompasses many music genres.” —Sharon Muguwu

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