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When age, family responsibilities devour fine talent

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THEY came and conquered the music scene with their unique scintillating Afro Shangara music and their name became a household in Europe.

BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA

As a youthful group they were a role model to many upcoming artistes who were inspired by their efforts and success.

They toured the world, won numerous accolades, but few years later their name has gone quiet while their fame has been dissipated.

This is the tale of internationally acclaimed group Club Shanga, a Marondera-based group who has gone off the radar despite being tipped the best ensemble set to conquer the music world in the near future.

However, age, marriages, responsibilities and of course financial constraints have led to the demise of the once popular ensemble, with some members relocating to the capital in search of greener pastures leaving the group dismantled.

NewsDay caught up with one of the group’s key member Farai Beremasimbe who opened up and revealed that his counterparts are pursuing other things none other than music to earn a living.

“Things have changed, and all the other members have responsibilities. Yes we are a talented band, but music is not sustaining our lives. We ditched the guitars to follow other avenues to sustain our families,” said Beremasimbe also the group’s leading vocalist.

In an unprecedented move, Club Shanga’s fall from grace began in 2011 when they rejected the recording of their debut album, The Fullness of Time, citing poor sound quality.

The album was recorded by Gramma Records and launched on July 15, 2011 in Harare, but the final product according to the group was not up to standard. The group barred the album from finding its way onto the retail market in protest.

Gramma Records is one of the country’s oldest studios and used to be the most reputable recording stable in the country.
However, that was the end of Club Shanga.

“We will regroup one day, music is in our blood but financial constraints have affected the group. The promoters are not forth coming such that we haven’t been holding live shows,” said Beremasimbe.

In 2012 the group wanted to release their debut album Shanga Evolution that included songs from the rejected album, but it remained verbal.

The group’s lead vocalist Georginah Mutendi relocated from Marondera to Harare, a major blow as regrouping for rehearsals became a difficulty exercise.

Mutendi is former wife to the late Nickson Sauchi the founder of the group and she was staying in Cherutombo, Marondera, but after the death of her husband she had to move on and fend for Sauchi’s daughter.

Club Shanga is made up of six members and a force to reckon with. They play a lively blend of afro-centric music enhanced by melodious female voices.

The group calls its music “Afro-shangara” as it derives from a traditional music style from their region, which also inspired their name, Shanga.

Founded in 2007 by the late Nixon Sauchi and Trust Mutombo, the ensemble steadily rose to the top of the industry and became a household name in the country.

The group which comprises of young, spirited and skillful artistes, made up of five male and two female musicians, has a distinctly Zimbabwean sound: danceable tunes played on modern and traditional instruments, strong vocals and a pulsating stage performance.

Club Shanga’s road to fame began when they took part in the Chibuku Road to Fame competition in 2007 but raised their bar when they won the Music Crossroads competition in 2010.

Under the banner of Music Crossroads Zimbabwe the group represented the country regionally and internationally where they made a name for themselves.

Music Crossroads Zimbabwe provides young Zimbabwean musicians with the opportunity to grow through music and demonstrate their potential on the world stage. As there are insufficient resources available to young musicians in Zimbabwe, the organisation plays a vital role in developing and nurturing young talent, providing the necessary support to see musicians to build successful careers in the music industry.

If it continues to be like this, Club Shanga will be the most failed ensemble ever to come out of Music Crossroads competitions.
Other artistes and groups that were born out of the talent search competition like Progress Chipfumo, Mokoomba and Gwarimba are still active on the music arena and doing quite well.

“We will bounce back, it is only a matter of time” said Beremasimbe

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