HomeLife & StyleAll that jazz: Still Alive review

All that jazz: Still Alive review

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Popular jazz and ragga-Manyika outfit Too Open recently released their second album Still Alive.

The ten-track album carries this title because the band’s last release (Zororo) was in 2004 and this release is a signal to fans that the talented group is still around and going strong.

Still Alive is full of laid-back Zimbabwean adult contemporary music that the mature listener will certainly enjoy. It explores a variety of themes including love, gospel and society’s challenges.

Most of the songs on the album were composed and arranged by band members Brian Nhanhanga (Chenjera, Dzimurai, Nanga Nanga, Kubva Kare and Separation of Thoughts), Owen Shamu (Birds of the Feather) and Thomas Marimbita (Mudiwa Wangu).

The track Chenjera encourages the listener to be careful, work hard and persevere as life is full of hardships. It features a tight drum and bass combination that makes for pleasant listening.

Birds of the feather is a cool tune that is well arranged. It is a wholesome love song that describes a strong and intimate relationship between lovers.

The music arrangement on this track combines a fantastic lead guitar with bass and well-timed drumming.

Dzimurai features band leader Brian Nhanhanga’s exceptional guitar skills. It has a gospel theme and it is an appeal to God to intervene and solve society’s problems.

Sang by keyboard player Moses Mwale, Mhondoro (Dzinomwa Muna Zambezi) is inspirational rendition of the popular folk song.

Nanga Nanga admonishes those who are always spreading rumours and going on about other peoples’ business and lives. Mudiwa Wangu and Here Rudo are love songs that would bring joy to any listener.

Here Rudo was written by the late Assegai Crew front man Stobart Chidikano and is performed here by his nephew drummer Lloyd Chidikano.

Nhanhanga showcases the richness of the Shona language on the track Kubva Kare, an abstract piece that combines a number of Shona sayings.

Separation of Thoughts has an authentic Ragga-Manyika feel and it encourages unity of purpose in our communities. Hamuzofari/Nyari Here?

(Kumuona Achiuya Arimumakore) is a remake of the popular gospel song and it was performed by Moses Mwale on Still Alive.

The album Still Alive was produced by Too Open with Peter Muparutsa as co-producer, engineer and mixer.

Too Open was formed by lead guitarist Brian Nhanhanga in 1998. It is a group of talented and experienced musicians including Lloyd Chidikano (drums), Owen Shamu (bass), Thomas Marimbita (vocals) and Moses Mwale (keyboards).

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