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Whither thee Kanindo music?

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The country’s musical history cannot be told without including the impact of Kanindo music, a genre that was once a force before sinking into oblivion.

Jairos Saunyama

Those who grew up in the late 1970s and early 90s will always live with the memories of two things, the liberation struggle and Kanindo music, an East African type of rhumba music.

It was not just music but music of the liberation war which was brought by the liberation war fighters who had received their training in East Africa especially in countries like Tanzania and Kenya.

The cadres loved it and they had their own way of dancing where they would raise their feet high and then stamp the ground very hard, a dance later referred to as Mujibha.

Local musicians in the names of Moses Rwizi and Bulawayo-based Obadiah Matulana took over the genre at the dawn of the new millennium but their efforts seem to be in vain as the once beautiful genre dying a natural death.

Kanindo is no longer receiving enough airplay as it used to in the 90s. Music analyst Fred Zindi said Kanindo music was now a thing of the past.

“There is no more Kanindo music, the music is dead and gone,” said Zindi.

In 2006 Chitungwiza-based musician Rwizi seemed to have concluded the existence of the genre as he released few albums before going quite.

Chamunorwa Mashoko, a local arts critic and founder of Sankoka Arts Trust, however, said Kanindo music is not dead but the non-existence of its producers.

He said that the genre is now living through its offshoots like sungura and other sub-genres.

“I personally think that the music is not dead but has not been produced. However, it is living through its offshoots like Sungura which borrows heavily from it.

“Currently I do not know any recording artist playing Kanindo and I remember Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe) a Kanindo programe, and today I suspect there is still a programme on that genre” said Mashoko.

The genre is well known for its unique fast rhythm beat that moves in harmony with a churning lead guitar that often plays the tune of the vocals. With most artists depending on their work for survival, it is clear that Kanindo is no longer bringing food on the table as the number of its listeners continue to fall.

In an interview with this reporter sometime last year, Rwizi who fronts the Kanindo Jazz Band said the genre now needs a strong figure for it is no longer appealing to the current generation.

He however, vowed to continue playing Kanindo saying it was a challenge to be a Kanindo musician, but he had to be strong to be able to deliver.

“It’s not a burden to me thus why I am into it and I promise nothing will stop me from playing Kanindo. The genre was there before many other popular genres including Sungura and Rhumba,” said Rwizi.

Rwizi with his Kanindo Band has been associated with the trend and probably the only Kanindo artiste in the country at the moment.
Rwizi debuted on the music scene in 2006 with his first album Valembe.

The others which followed include Tsika mwana tsika, Jakawiri and Ndatenda hangu.

Kanindo was named after Kenyan musician Oluoch Kanindo who happens to be its founder, before it was borrowed and polished by localmusicians.

Local artists who popularized the music include the Knowledge Kunenyati led Kassongo Band and Marxist Brothers whose songs had a Kanindo influence.

These musicians at one point had been in Tanzania or Kenya during the liberation struggle.

Kanindo gave birth to Sungura in which local artists coined what is called Museve today.

The likes of Khiama Boys, John Chibadura and Job Mashanda had their museve beats influenced by Kanindo music.

Today established musicians like Sulumani Chimbetu still pin their beats on Kanindo and at some points they copy from yesteryear East African musicians.

For example Sulu’s song Kwedu in which he featured Oliver Mtukudzi was derived from the song Kajituliza Kasuku by Les Wanika of the Shauri Yako fame.

Kanindo music will always be imprinted on the minds of those who appreciate it.

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