Winners of Mashonaland East Chibuku Road to Fame provincial finals, Little Swallows, have been disqualified from the talent search competition after it emerged they have recorded an album.
Rules for the annual competition do not allow groups that have recorded any material to participate.
Following an outcry from some losers at the provincial finals, National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) carried out an investigation that unearthed Little Swallows recorded an album titled Haashandike Naye with Metro Studios last year.
Marondera-based Afro-jazz group Quad Afro which came second at the provincial finals will now represent Mashonaland East Province in the Chibuku Road to Fame national finals set for Saturday at Glamis Arena.
Oliver Chauke, NACZ provincial programmes officer confirmed Little Swallows’ disqualification.
“Little Swallows is no longer representing Mashonaland East in Chibuku Road to Fame national finals after we found out the group recorded an album, Haashandike Naye. Instead, second-positioned group Quad Afro will take over as the province’s representatives,” he said.
Donald Chidoori, communications manager for NACZ, said the investigation, involving various players in the music industry, had been thorough.
“We got a letter from Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (Zimura) confirming the group recorded an album and we don’t have any option, but to disqualify them,” said Chidoori.
“This came up after a thorough investigation of the whole issue and it’s our pleasure to announce that second runners-up, Quad Afro, will represent Mashonaland East Province in the national finals.”
The NACZ Mashonaland East Province was on August 29 told by Metro Studios official Avoid Chibanda that Little Swallows recorded a third-party album and the group signed a third-party contract with the studios.
Roselyn Chirume of Zimura also confirmed they have a copy of the group’s contract signed by Chibanda they received on May 13 this year.
The album Haashandike Naye (code CD-TP-LSI) was produced by Clancy Mbirimi.
Quad Afro, under the stewardship of Paul Chimusuwo, expressed their gratitude at the decision made by NACZ.
“We are very happy about the stance taken by NACZ. It’s not that we have anything against Little Swallows, but the truth is that they have already recorded and they must give others a chance,” said Chimusuwo.
Last year’s national final was won by Club Shanga which hails from Marondera.
This year’s edition promises fireworks with an entertainment segment featuring musicians
Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick Macheso, Tongai Moyo and Allan Chimbetu.