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‘Maranatha opened avenues for me’


AFTER releasing a gem of an album Ebenezer-Tiri Munyasha a few years ago, many thought Reverend Togarepi Chivaviro had reached his peak and that he would not by any chance match those standards.

BY Jairos Saunyama

The hit song, Ebenezer-Tiri Munyasha, became a national anthem such that his following album Mhepo Inoperekedza was overshadowed despite being laden with equally powerful tracks.

Recently, the South Africa-based musician, who has won a number of accolades, released another gem Maranatha-Come Lord Jesus, an album that has seen him reclaiming the top position on local gospel music charts again.

Our Correspondent Jairos Saunyama (JS) caught up with Chivaviro (TC) who said his latest album had opened great avenues for him as compared to Ebenezer and below are the excerpts from the interview.

JS: You posted that your latest album Maranatha is the best so far, how is that so given the popularity of the hit song Ebenezer?

TC: The album Maranatha has really opened great avenues for us. The reception has been massive, it’s the best reception we have had of all our albums so far. Our challenge is definitely to meet the demand, not only of copies, but of concerts to meet our fans not only in Zimbabwe, but worldwide. I think with Ebenezer most people thought we had just been lucky, and when we did Mhepo Inoperekedza a few still doubted, but after Maranatha fans are convinced perhaps that we have something to offer to the gospel fraternity.

There has been a sudden rise in bookings and invitations especially by promoters and mainly churches that have conferences and revivals.

During the Easter Holiday alone we had six engagements in two days both in Zimbabwe and South Africa. The challenge is now to balance between running activities for our own ministry APM and singing at other ministries events, by God’s grace we are managing so far.

Ebenezer remains etched in the thoughts and minds of many people as it became like a ground paver. It gave what I may call the first cut and that’s usually the deepest. Mhepo Inoperekedza was actually a better album for me, though it may not have had that striking hit song mainly due to overshadowing by Ebenezer the song. However, Maranatha for me remains our best album yet, it has a number of potential hits and already the song Maranatha has cut through much ground for a track that is less than a year. Its impact has been so sudden for us, compared to all our previous releases.

JS: During an event in Germiston (SA) your manager said that you will take a break after this album, when are you going to release the 14th album?

TC: I should have ended with the single Maranatha had I managed to complete my academic registrations on time. However,l I should be commencing those further studies from September this year and that’s when we will slow down in essence. This should take me through the whole of 2018, meaning the next album may come 2019 or 2020. That’s the reason for putting into this album 13 tracks instead of our usual eight.

JS: Do you think you have reached your peak?

TC: I know not the plans that God has for me, but music wise I am really very satisfied with what I have achieved and accomplished so far, it may actually be many an artiste’s dream. I believe it’s also time to groom others too, the fields are vast, but the labourers are few.

JS: You successfully invited Mzansi’s greatest ever gospel artiste Derrick Ndzimande and five local cabinet ministers at your album launch, .how did you do that?

TC: I now believe God has given me the grace of association. It’s never difficult for me to request those who we may need at any given function, perhaps that’s why we can be able to bring together musicians for the collaborations. I don’t even do it through any personal assistants or helpers, I just directly look for those I need and do my own direct invitations. We thank God for such grace.

JS: You are going to perform at Methodist Church of Zimbabwe (MCZ) 40th autonomy celebrations in August, does this mean you still have a heart with your former paymasters?

TC: Like I have always said, the MCZ is my home and certainly Methodism is in my blood. Yes I have answered a call to a slightly different kind of Methodism, but I’m still family and a son of the MCZ. So when an opportunity comes I always grab it to give back to the church that groomed me to be where I am even musically even composed a song that I sang for the event with Baba Manyeruke called Chechi Yoenda Sehondo. My parents who taught me the basics of music did so within the MCZ, so that is my home and come August 17 we will be singing Ebenezer during the celebrations.

JS: Thank you, for your time, what is your last words to other local musicians?

TC: Thanks you as well. I urge other local artists to face challenges associated with their careers as well as exploiting technological advantages like marketing their music on various social media platforms.

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