FOR a long time, musicians have been left crying foul after some prominent businesspeople who would have promised to support them renege on their pledges.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
As Jah Prayzah, born Mukudzei Mukombe, prepares to launch his much-awaited sixth album Jerusarema this Friday at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC), his prayer is probably that history does not repeat itself.
In 2013 when the musician launched Tsviriyo — his fifth album — flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa sprung a surprise when he pledged to buy the album for $12 000.
However, NewsDay is reliably informed that the money was not handed over in cash, but instead the musician got a residential stand in Mabelreign.
We wait to see if Jah Prayzah will again leave the HICC smiling. Below are some musicians who were promised heaven on earth at their album launches:
Dino Mudondo’s album launch in November 2013
When rasta-kwasa musician Dino Mudondo launched his six-track album Ndakupihwa NaMwari at City Sports Bar in the capital, Zimbabwe Union of Musicians secretary Wellington Maruta claimed to be the highest bidder of the night promising to pay
$1 200 for the CD.
He promised Mudondo would be given the money a week after the launch, but the musician never received the cash.
Magacha’s live DVD recording concert in June 2013
At gospel musician Sebastian Magacha’s live DVD recording concert for his album Back To Sender at 7 Arts Theatre in Avondale, Harare, the musician was promised $2 000 by a prominent producer and leader of a popular interdenominational gospel choir Joseph Madziire, that is yet to be delivered to the musician.
Shiga Shiga’s debut album launch in February 2014
When chanter Shiga Shiga, born Gift Katulika, launched his solo career with an album tilted Two Years Later at City Sports Bar in Harare, fellow sungura musician First Farai promised to pay $60 for some of the discs, but Shiga Shiga claims he never received the money.
However, not all of the musicians were presented with fake promises during their album launches as some of the events brought smiles to the faces of the artistes.
Peter Moyo’s album launch in June 2013
When sungura musician Peter Moyo launched his debut six-track album Mushonga Mukuru in 2013 at the Zim Café in the capital, a well-known Harare promoter paid $5 000 for it during an auction.
Another artiste who had to smile at his launch is dancehall chanter Sniper Storm who received $1 000 from Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo.
That happened at the launch of Sniper Storm’s seventh album Silver Bullet at Private Launch in the capital.
Away from the shenanigans of fake promises at album launches, Jah Prayzah’s manager Filda Muchabaiwa said all was moving according to script ahead of the launch.
While some musicians usually organise low-key album launches to minimise costs, for this launch, NewsDay is reliably informed that the Jah Prayzah’s budget is about $75 000.
“All is set for the launch of Jerusarema and we are confident that the album with the effort and time spent on it, will be of a high standard,” Muchabaiwa said.
“The launch is going to be a big event that is why we have returned to HICC to make sure there is enough space for all those interested in attending.”
Muchabaiwa said like they did last year, the Zimbabwe National Army band would lead a procession of the musician’s fans and friends from Copa Cabana bus terminus to the venue.
The musician will be driven in Chiyangwa’s spectacularly designed Hummer H2 Limo Transformer vehicle.
Billboards have been erected in some corners of Harare advertising the event. It seems Jive Zimbabwe — the company that is responsible for the launch — is planning a grand event.
Jive Zimbabwe director Benjamin Nyandoro said exciting activities had been lined for the day.
“We are happy with the preparations for the big event which is going to be a red carpet show. Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be the guest of honour while dendera ace Suluman Chimbetu and Cynthia Mare will perform at the event,” Nyandoro said.
Nyandoro shared the same sentiments with Muchabaiwa that the album would top the charts due to the level of creativity that had been put into the project.
The Uzumba-born musician’s forthcoming album, which was mixed and mastered in South Africa by legendary producer Keith Farquhason, features Jamaican reggae sensation Luciano.
According to the musician’s camp, the album’s title is a tribute to the traditional dance Jerusarema popular in Mashonaland East province.
Songs on the album are title track Jerusarema, Eriza, Roots which feature Luciano, Ndoenda, Daira, Chinamira, Vanorodza Museve, Tiise Maoko, Zama, Zenze and Taura.
In his songs, the tall and lanky musician takes the role of social commentator touching on various themes that have a bearing on day-to-day life.
Jah Prayzah is known for his rich Shona idioms which he attributes to his indepth reading of Shona and Zimbabwean literature.
His rhymes are aided by a commanding vocal base that seems so rigid yet equally flexible, rising from a low to high pitch effortlessly.
Albums under Jah Prayzah’s sleeve include Sungano, Ngwarira Kuparara, Tsviriyo and Kumbumura Mhute