Afro-jazz singer Rute Mbangwa recently released a single with an authentic Zimbabwean township jazz feel. Entitled Harare, the Afro-jazz tune is a striking fusion of a Latino jazz intro and township jazz baseline.
The track brings a spark of nostalgia and uses the storytelling technique; mentioning all places where Zimbabwe township music was originally performed a long time ago.
The song is reminiscent of the good old days and makes mention of entertainment places where Africans were allowed to perform and enjoy live music without restrictions during the colonial era.
The song Harare is a celebration of the sunshine city and what the city has given birth to artistically. A lot of developments worthy celebrating have taken place, said Mbangwa.
The song seeks to inculcate a culture of responsibility, a sense of belonging and for people to appreciate the beauty of the city and all that it has brought to the nation.
Mbangwa said artists are cultural custodians, whose role is to educate, inform and provide consciousness to the nation on all facets of life gender issues, keeping the environment clean and social justice.
A lot has been happening in our country and the capital. However, little has been done and said to show our appreciation of Harare, a city that defines us as a nation, she said.
The song Harare was released together with another single Circle of Love and it is part of Mbangwas new double album which is set to be released by the end of April. It features Mbangwa (vocals), Pablo Nakapa (acoustic guitar and electric guitars) and Spencer Masango (producer and keyboards).
Mbangwa specialises in African music with strong jazz influences. Her multi-themed upcoming double album will carry six tracks with a gospel message and ten secular tracks.
About her upcoming album, she said: It is a departure from what I have done before as I have tried to cater for a wide age group and different tastes in music . . . It is a mixed bag with different moods and messages.
The Afro-jazz singer has so far released two albums If My Heart Had a Voice (2004) and Rute Goes Kumanginde (2007). She also holds as national certificate in music from the Zimbabwe College of Music.
At only 26, the singer-songwriter has shown she is a true African woman with a passion for music and the arts. Her music is mature jazz fusion with a fantastic Afro-centric feel. Her music and performance are original, unique and deep.
Mbangwa enjoys energetic performances where she can connect with audiences at a deep spiritual level through her music.
She formally trained as jazz vocalist and worked with Tanga wekwaSando as backing vocalist and performed on the same stage with Kunle Ayo, Oliver Mtukudzi, Judith Sephuma, Ringo Madhlingozi and Jimmy Dludlu at several jazz festivals.
Her international career highlight is when she performed at the Standard Bank National Youth Jazz Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa, in 2007.
Mbangwa is also the founding lead singer of the band Jazz Sensation. She is a Childrens Performing Arts Workshop graduate and is currently teaching at the Zimbabwe College of Music.