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Reggae star for ZAA Awards

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GUESTS to this year’s edition of the Zimbabwe Achievers’ Awards (ZAA) in London will rock and skank to the multilingual, soulful reggae vibes of Mathias “Matty” Julius on May 10 in the United Kingdom.

Tinashe Sibanda

Audiences in Zimbabwe and abroad know him as a dancer and choreographer with the esteemed dance company, Tumbuka.

He is the consummate artiste whose irrepressible talents could not be limited to a single discipline.

At a time when West Africa is sweeping the continent in a Harmattan of the highly infectious Afrobeat rhythms, Matty is helping to shore up reggae music on the continent.

He has been featured extensively in the media and has also performed live on the BBC World Service.

The silky-voiced crooner, who has recorded two albums to date, is fast emerging as one of Africa’ most exciting  and original reggae artistes.

“Being here in the UK has made me raise my game even more. It’s great to see so many other people from all over the world performing to their highest standard and that’s opened up more creativity in me,” Julius said.

He said the Zimbabwean Diaspora in the UK — or at least around London — were starting to get to know his music and believed they would appreciate it because of its different vibe compared  to much of the new music coming out of Zimbabwe today.

Julius added that he now had a fan base coming from the Yorira Ngoma event which he co-founded with Tomson Chauke at the end of 2013 and was very happy about the positive feedback from audiences wherever he performed.

“I am a Lucky Dube fan, he was certainly one of the reggae giants coming out of Africa. In terms of my journey, I started performing for my Zimbabwean people, but I would like to perform more abroad and to get more recognition both at home and overseas,” he said.

Julius said he knew the road could be long, but was, however, happy with the positive reception he was currently getting in the UK and only God knew where his journey would end up.

Guests to the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards gala dinner at the regal Royal Garden Hotel in the fashionable district of Kensington will get to witness Julius’ unfolding journey and rock steadily to his soulful lover’s rock reggae.

Singing in Shona, Ndebele and English, Matty dwells on love, life and the challenges facing many of his compatriots today.

His music draws on a variety of influences, from traditional and popular Zimbabwean music to reggae and dub.

“Around the early 1990s I found myself wearing tights, doing ballet and contemporary dance with Tumbuka Dance Company, and I fell in love with dance and travelling and seeing the world,” he said.

His debut album, Here I Come, was recorded in 2006 and is currently selling online on iTunes, Amazon and other online stores.

In 2011 Matty followed this up with a second album, Don’t Look Back, which received generous airplay on Zimbabwean stations and on international online radio stations in the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa and Australia.

The hit song Twenty-Ten, an innovative collaboration with Zimbabwean star Oliver Mtukudzi, featured in Zimbabwe’s Top 20.  Pahushamwari Hwedu was the Tafara-born Julius’ huge hit single released in March 2012.

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