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Transit Crew’s reggae journey

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Transit Crew (TC) is one of the renowned local groups that have a fine touch of reggae music. The group familiarised itself through hit singles like Rozi and Tsamba.

On Saturday the reggae outfit staged an exciting show at The Mannenberg and NewsDay’s Simbarashe Manhango (ND) caught up with the crew after the gig to get more light on its endeavours.

ND: What is in the name Transit Crew?

TC: The name Transit Crew is deeply rooted in the Rastafarian ideology that we are not here at (Mount Zion) to stay forever, but we always in transit (Rastafarian movement). The pioneers of the crew came from various countries such as the United Kingdom, the States, Norway and South Africa, hence that is where the concept Transit was derived. The band was formed in 1988.

SM: A band formed in 1988! Where have you been hiding, people don’t know a lot about you?

TC: After producing our debut album, Sounds Playing in 1988 we began our 10 years of touring the world. In 1991 we were in Japan for two years and attended the World Music Festival; we spent six months in South Africa and the rest of our eight years in the United Kingdom and the States. So you can actually see that we are in transit and not here to stay.

SM: Whose initiative was it to come up with such the crew?

TC: The idea came from the late Culture T (Tendai Gamure) and Joseph “Munya” Brown, who is now based in the UK, Jerry Emmanuel (Mozambique) who is also late and Emmanuel Jacobs (now in South Africa).

SM: The names of the band members and who does what?

TC: The crew is composed of eight members. On vocals, Mannex (Emmanuel Motsi), J Farai (Jeffrey Sithole), Mann Chaza (Rungano Zinyengere), Josh (Joshua Penga) the drummer, on the keyboards we have Liber (Antony Amony), Jairos Hambahamba, Nicholas Zindi (lead guitar) and Bassy (Munyaradzi Nyemba) on bass guitar.

SM: What is unique about your sound and how do you classify your music?

TC: Transit Crew is a sound infusing the cream of Jamaican music into Zimbabwe reggae and our outfit plays strictly conscious reggae and not hard-core.

SM: Transit Crew has gained a huge fan base through live performances, how has this helped you as a crew and influenced your projects?

TC: Most importantly, we have gained exposure and have managed to make money to elevate the band, as well as meeting famous personalities in reggae circles. Audience maturity is also a benefit.

SM: What change would you want to see in reggae music in Zimbabwe?

TC: We want to see reggae music grow in Zimbabwe and see how collaborative we can be with other musicians. We are working on doing more songs in vernacular languages so that reggae music is accepted.

SM: Any artists that you have worked with locally and internationally?

TC: Internationally we have worked with so many artists here in Zim; we backed Luciano and Sizzla Kalonji; we played with Eric Donaldson and Joseph Hill. That kind of endorsement is great. Imagine Luciano travelling all the way from Kingston without his band knowing that we could back him.

SM: What should your fans look out for in the year 2011?

TC: Definitely we have our fifth album coming up. Hopefully by mid-June or July it should be intact. We always want to do the best we can so we take our time.

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