BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
RISING contemporary musician Jah Prayzah might be the happiest man after launching his much-awaited sixth album Jerusarema at Harare International Conference Centre on Friday night if flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa honours his $27 000 pledge to him.
Chiyangwa, who boasts about being one of the richest businessmen and philanthropist in the country, pledged two residential stands, one in the capital and another in the resort town of Kariba worth $12 000 and $15 000 respectively as payment for Jah Prayzah’s first CD during its auctioning time.
Indeed the night was a reiteration of year 2013 when the Gochi Gochi singer launched his fifth album Tsviriyo with Chiyangwa springing a surprise and pledging $12 000.
The money was, however, not handed over in cash, but the musician, born Mukudzei Mukombe, got a residential stand in Mabelreign, Harare.
Is it a publicity stunt by Chiyangwa who has proved to be a serial guest of honour at many album and DVD launches? Only time will tell.
Launching the album
Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa — who was the guest of honour at the glamorous function — applauded local artistes for promoting Zimbabwean culture through music. He urged Jah Prayzah to keep working hard to emulate the likes of music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi whom he described a legend in southern Africa.
“I have never been to a concert or anything of this nature in the past. Today I feel greatly honoured to officiate at the launch of this young man’s six album. I am so happy to see the guru Oliver Mtukudzi here to celebrate with you. I congratulate you, young man,” Mnangagwa said.
The Vice-President said Jah Prayzah had done great work as the country’s ambassador.
Mtukudzi urged Jah Prayzah to keep on working hard to develop his career.
“I witnessed the song Jerusarema being composed and I am happy it has become the title track of the album,” Mtukudzi said.
“As musicians, we should not look backwards despite a lot of things that can be said which can degrade us. You have to be strong, do not lose hope.”
The event organisers, Jive Zimbabwe, managed to put together a classic event despite the launch delaying by three hours as Mnangagwa was yet to arrive.
Before the launch, business came to a standstill in the city centre as thousands of people stampeded to catch a glimpse of the Kumbumura Mhute hit-maker who was escorted by the police as he marched from Jameson Hotel to Africa Unity Square with the Zimbabwe National Army band leading the procession.
At the launch, Jah Prayzah was joined by several promoters, business partners and artistes from different genres, among them Sulumani Chimbetu, Cynthia Mare, Tehn Diamond, Trevor Dongo, Albert Nyathi and Mudiwa.
Also in attendance was National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Elvas Mari and his deputy Nicholas Moyo, Dynamos chairman Keni Mubaiwa, War Veterans minister Christopher Mutsvangwa and his wife Monica who is the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services deputy minister.
Musicians took turns to entertain fans, but it was dendera ace Sulumani Chimbetu who kept the crowd on their feet with a sterling performance when he was joined by Jah Prayzah to perform their duet .
People screamed and cheered to the musicians’ well-choreographed dance routines.
Jah Prayzah and his band, donning their army regalia, later thrilled fans belting out some of the tracks off their latest album like title track Jerusarema and Chinamira. The musician was later joined on the stage by fellow artistes in a show of solidarity.
“We are happy that we have finally released new stuff on the market for our loyal fans. We believe we have done our best to cater for almost everyone considering songs that constitute the album,” Jah Prayzah’s manager Filda Muchabaiwa said.
“The support was great and the turnout was massive. We would like to thank all the fans and partners who stood by us for this to happen. Special mention goes to Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa for gracing the launch.”
Muchabaiwa said they were going to stage several shows across the country as a way of marketing and taking the album to the people.
Jive Zimbabwe director Benjamin Nyandoro said the launch was a great success with 1 000 VIP and 500 VVIP seats sold out while 2 460 were at the upper stairs.
“I want to thank all those who were involved in making Jah Prayzah’s launch a success. As a way of supporting our artistes and the industry at large, I urge people to buy original CDs and enjoy the value of money,” Nyandoro said.
Songs on the 11-track album which was mixed and mastered in South Africa by legendary producer Keith Farquhason are title track Jerusarema, Eriza, Roots (featuring Jamaican reggae sensation Luciano), Ndoenda, Daira, Chinamira, Vanorodza Museve, Tiise Maoko, Zama, Zenze and Taura.