THE local music scene has witnessed the collapse of many bands that sang their way to fame and into the hearts of fans and after parting ways, most of the music outfits’ frontmen never reach the same peak as they pursue solo careers.
BY PROBLEM MASAU
Such bands include Afrika Revenge, Mafriq, 2BG and R&K Africa Sounds who, after making people dance all night long at the turn of the millennium, sank into oblivion after the members decided to play solitaire.
Who would forget Afrika Revenge’s Wanga, Mafriq’s Ndomuudza Sei, and R&K Africa Sounds’ all-time classic Tina? When these groups were still together, it was always hit–after–hit with their popularity continuing to surge.
Later on, the groups were to split – largely as a result of royalties and money sharing.
Music critic Blessing Vava said it was unfortunate that most bands split because of selfishness, citing that most break-ups were money-related.
“The music industry is one tale (where) what drives most splits usually is the issue of money. There is always that feeling among the members that one of them is more superior to the others,” Vava said.
“So, most of them become big-headed, thinking that going solo is better. Little do they know that fans preferred the group to an individual artiste.”
After the split of Afrika Revenge, its frontmen Willis Wattafi and Mehluli “Taz” Moyo tried to purse solo careers, but found the going tough.
Having struggled to strike a rich vein alone, they decided to rejoin forces and are now set to stage a comeback that may see the good old days roll in again.
R&K Africa Sounds, which comprised Rangarirai Sagombeto and Kelvin Chikowore, split at their peak when the nation was still dancing to the Tina sequel, Question Mark.
Sagombeto also tried to go it alone but found the demands of a solo career punishing. He failed to make an impact while Chikowore vanished into thin air.
The Frontline Kids – made up of Emmanuel Thomas and Noel Zembe – suffered the same fate. They are now just a distant memory.
Portia Gwanzura and Progress Chipfumo led Hohodza Band at their peak, belting out tunes that stunned their followers but after their ill-fated decision to go separate ways, their music careers virtually collapse.
Gwanzura left for England just after the turn of the millennium, while Chipfumo tried to stand some ground, but is now finding the going tough.
Zimbabwe Chachacha Kings, which gave the country an all-time hit Vimbiso among many others, are now just part of the country’s music history.
Mitchell Jambo tried a solo career, but after one song Ndini Uyo, his popularity waned, while the other singer, David Ziome, collapsed under the rigours of pulling it alone.
Jambo formed Marumbe Express, but nothing tangible materialised, forcing him to relocate to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he is selling CDs.
Njerama Boys also split after Paradzai Mesi imposed himself as the leader of the group. The other group members went on to form their group, Njerepamwe Boys, which died in its infancy.
Mesi is struggling in Muzarabani where he is into farming, which after all is not paying much for him.
After Transit Crew split, Mannex went on to form Mofamille, but failed to make an impact and has now returned to Transit Crew.
However, it is not always the case that every time a group splits, members will always find the going tough.
It must be noted that there are some groups that split and the members went on to be successful.
Kasongo Band, which had Mukoma Ketai, Marko Sibanda and Knowledge Kunenyati, is one such an example of a group whose individuals went on to be successful after their split.
Group members of Ilanga Band — Busi Ncube, Cde Chinx, Andy Brown and Keith Farquarson — also went on to have successful solo careers.
“The difference between Ilanga and Kasongo from other groups is that they were made of super-talented individuals. Other groups had average artistes who complemented each other,” said Faith Hove, a music lecturer at a college in the capital.