IT appears Zora music maestro Leonard “Karikoga” Zhakata’s approach to his work —where he involves his fans before releasing a new album — is working magic for him as three of his songs off his album Mutungadzese topped the annual Radio Zimbabwe Coca-Cola 2016 Top 50 competition held on New Year’s Eve.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The 48-year-old Zhakata did not only become the first musician to make history by having three songs from the same album in the top three, but he also polled a record 255 981 votes for the songs.
The voting patterns, in which Zimbabwean music followers vote for the songs that inspired them throughout the year, proved Zhakata to be among the country’s top musicians with songs Madam Boss, Zvine Mwaka and Moyo Wekutenda in that order claiming the first, second and third positions, respectively.
Madam Boss, that also topped the National FM Charts, features dendera ace Sulumani Chimbetu and prolific guitarist Progress Chipfumo, garnered 104 046 votes, while Zvine Mwaka gained
89 663 votes to settle for second position and Moyo Wekutenda amassed 62 272 votes to occupy third position.
To show its dominance on the charts, the winning track, Madam Boss, within two months after its release, had broken the Coca-Cola Radio Zimbabwe Top 20 record by pulling 10 845 listener’s votes as it topped the charts for over a month.
The Hupenyu Mutoro hitmaker will pocket a whopping $6 000 prize for all the three songs — Madam Boss, $2 500, Zvine Mwaka, $2 000 and Moyo Wekutenda, $1 500 — courtesy of the competition sponsors beverages manufacturer Delta through their Coca-Cola brand.
A few days before the release and launch of the album Mutungadzese, in July last year, the Zimbabwe Rural Schools Library Trust Goodwill Ambassador said he had widely consulted with his fans in coming up with the album and true to his word, the fans have spoken through their votes.
Speaking to NewsDay yesterday, Zhakata saluted his ardent Zora music fans for their unwavering support crediting them for the achievement and promised to work hard.
He also thanked musicians Sulu and Chipfumo, whom he collaborated with on the hit song Madam Boss, saying without them, the song would not have been what it is.
“Through His people, God has showed His powers as we pray to Him for our needs, He speaks to the people whom he inspires to vote. The voters responded to God’s call to use their resources and inspiration to vote,” Zhakata said.
“Although I knew I had done what I thought was my best, I did not expect three songs from this album to win prizes as has happened, given the competition in the industry. I respect all the musicians who managed to get their songs into the competition as there was a lot of good quality songs offered.”
Zhakata has dismissed critics who say he is riding on the influence of Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United Family International Church masses where he is a member as he has become a regular winner of the competition.
“I know that every time when I win something, some people do not accept it and they talk much. In Zimbabwe, there are many churches and there are some musicians in those churches, let alone in my church we have more than 20 musicians. We have Zora cadres who co-ordinate themselves and encourage each other to vote, it is the people who judge music, and if the majority feel my songs deserve the top positions then let it be,” he said.
He said he would continue consulting closely with his fans in his future projects as Zora music evolves and urged other artistes to be innovative and consider the interests of their loyal fans.
Zhakata’s success follows the highly-successful album Zvangu Zvaita which scooped the first and second prizes in the same competition in 2014 with hit songs Dhonza Makomborero and Dollar Boy respectively.
After Zhakata on the top is sungura king Alick Macheso who also had three winning songs off his 10th studio album Tsoka Dzerwendo with Gungwa occupying fourth position after getting 60 531 votes, Wandirangaridza on position five with 50 010 votes and Mude Mude on sixth position having gathered 48 949 votes.
On position seven was sungura musician Tatenda Pinjisi with the song Saina, gospel musician Blessing Shumba’s song Matatenda occupied eighth position, the track Chihera from Jefta Muchini was on position nine with Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave’s duet with dancehall singer Killer T Vanondibatirana sitting on position 10 making the former the only female musician to be in the top 10 of this year’s competition.
This year’s edition of the competition had 3 420 people who correctly predicted that the song Madam Boss was going to be on pole position with 19 people accurately predicting the top five songs and only one person managed to perfectly predict the top six.
On the television side, local videos dominated the ZBC TV Coke Top 50 Videos with the top 15 videos coming from the local artistes.
Multiple award-winning musician Jah Prayzah’s Watora Mari smashing video, which he featured Tanzanian’s music icon Diamond Platnumz, was voted the best video of the year, while Tytan’s Mukoko video featuring Ammara Brown occupied second position and Bhachura from ExQ featuring Ammara Brown again was sitting on third position.