I HAVE always believed Charles Charamba’s track, Mhinduro Iripo, to be a timeless classic, and that it would only take a miracle to surpass it.
Sound track: PHILLIP CHIDAVAENZI
The song, off the album Muzita raJeso Vol 1, continues to minister hope to people in a world groping for elusive answers in the dark.
And over the years, as Charamba released one album after another, it appeared like the magic of the earlier years faded into the new music in which he did several experiments with sound.
Against this backdrop, Charamba’s latest release, Abba Father, can pass as a rite of passage, a return to the source, and is likely to surpass his recent efforts which have felt rather lukewarm.
One of the enduring values of his music, which is evident even in Abba Father, is that biblical wisdom, lessons and insights still constitute the bankable authority of scripture in Charamba’s music. And this comes out strongly, too.
In the title track, Abba Father, Charamba explores the reality of a life of faith, which does not provide quick-fix solutions that have become synonymous with this generation of “instants”— instant porridge, instant coffee and instant sex. But prayer is work. And sometimes heaven seems unyielding as you beseech God for answers. These are moments of pain and weakness as you wait on the Lord. In moments of homelessness, moments when the bank account and pantry are empty, the musician brings the assurance that God is sufficient.
In the song Ndiregerere, the persona presents a petition for forgiveness of sins committed. This is a definitely a song that will stir something in the listener. The track is based on Proverbs 14:12 and here Charamba warns that many of the paths that we choose in life, which seem to lead to the right destination, are traps to disaster.
The Christian faith affirms the Lordship of Jesus. Jesu Garai, the third offering on the album, becomes an invitation for Jesus to preside and rule over a family, a household. He appeals to the listener to respect the hierarchy of a home, with Christ as the head, followed by the parents and then the children.
Vakanga Vakaita Sei? is a yearning of the power and glory in which biblical figures walked. Here, both men and women, provided leadership during the war, attracted the attention of heaven and walked in amazing favour. The singer asks: What manner of people were they? And, between the lines, the persona here seems to be asking where did modern believers lose the plot?
Some of the songs on the album explore a wide range of issues including wisdom for marriage based on biblical principles, love for others, visiting the sick, disputes in marriage, forgiveness and practising the word of God.
Indeed, Charamba’s fans have something to smile about, especially so because his wife Olivia also launched her third album, Miriam, alongside her husband.
The musician is one of the best gospel artistes in the country, and has dominated the gospel music arena for many years, releasing several gospel hits including Machira Chete, Buruka, Nyika, and Nyika YeZimbabwe.
He came to the fore in 1995 with the album, Tinashe Akatendeka, but it was the 1999 offering, Johane 3:16, which saw his star in music rise like a meteor.
He has toured the world, taking his music to countries including South Africa, Australia, United States of America and United Kingdom.
To his credit, Charamba refused to be content with his ability to play music, but decided to study it, graduating with a National Certificate in Music from the Zimbabwe College of Music in 2011. Two years later, he graduated with a Bachelor of Music Degree in Ethnomusicology from Africa University.
Charamba has become a master craftsman in his genre of music to the point that sometime in 2012 and 2013 pirated albums by upcoming gospel artistes —Trymore Bande and Raymond Chakanyukwa — were sold in the streets under Charamba’s name.
The musician has bagged several awards including Most Popular Gospel Artiste, Best Gospel Artiste — Zimbabwe Music Awards, Best Gospel Artiste, Song and Video of the Year (National Arts Merit Awards) and Life Time Achievement as a credit to his gifting as a musician.
His discography is made up of Tinashe Akatendeka (1997), Johane 3:16 (1999), Vhuserere (2000), Exodus (2001), Sunday Service (2003), Chapters and Verses (2004), Muzita RaJesu vol. 1 (Compilation), New Testament (2007), Pashoko Pangoma (2010), WeNazareta (2014) and the latest, Abba Father (2017).