THERE is a wave of relief at least for now as a number of high-profile concerts are on cards for some gospel artistes who felt neglected by music promoters at a time the latter appeared to be focusing on secular musicians to leverage their businesses.
BY WINSTONE ANTONIO
The forthcoming concerts include the Peace and Family Festival set for Wednesday at the National Sports Stadium, that will be graced by Hak Ja Han Moon, the founder of the Sun Hak Peace Prize and the Peace Starts with Me Movement, where President Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to make an address.
For this concert, NewsDay understands, however, that some gospel musicians turned down the offer to perform as they were uncomfortable with some doctrines of the Unification Church which believes, among other things, that although Jesus created the conditions necessary for humanity’s spiritual salvation, he miscarried God’s plan for man’s salvation because he did not marry.
After the peace festival, Sounds Blaze Productions host Nyasha Dzedenga Gospel show on December 1 at Glamis Arena in Harare headlined by the grand dad of gospel music Machanic Manyeruke, Fungisai Zvakavapano–Mashavave, Janet Manyowa, Mathias Mhere and Sabastian Magacha, among others.
From the Nyasha Dzedenga Gospel show, the following day fans will be in for another treat at the Breeze Music Gospel Explosion scheduled for December 2 at Harare International Conference Centre.
This event will be headlined by top South African gospel singer Rebecca Malope as the guest artiste alongside Zimpraise Choir, the Mahendere brothers – Amos and Michael, jazz sensation Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana and Steeve Dee, among others.
The forthcoming gospel concerts come at a time when not much has been done for the genre by way of promoting local artistes, owing to a lack of interest for gospel music by local promoters.
While in the past years, gospel music used to bring lucrative business for music promoters, the tables have turned as secular music has become dominant.
Gospel music promotion has become of an area of little attention as some local music promoters claim that many of these artistes are performing for free or appreciation fees in different churches such that few people are keen to pay to watch them perform at concerts.
“We are committed to promoting all genres, but for gospel, the situation requires artistes to up their game if they are to attract the interest from promoters as it is no longer making business sense to promote the genre,” a promoter, who requested not to be named, said.
“If you look at their productions, they are very few who can bring business, in terms of crowd pulling. Remember, this music promotion business is not all about pumping out money without recompenses. This is business.”
Music promoter and Jibilika founder Plot Mhako believes the country’s economic situation has contributed to the increase in gospel concerts.
“I think the increase in the number of high-profile gospel concerts in Zimbabwe is as a result of several factors. The country is going through a depressing economic situation and that ultimately creates a hunger towards uplifting and healing music instead of the mainstream hype pop music and gospel music provides that,” he said.
“Also some gospel artistes have also shown great effort in improving their music and live performances, if you look at what Janet Manyowa and Zimpraise just did, this stroked interest, belief and renewal of faith in gospel music promotion.”
Apart from the album launches by these gospel artistes, at list there have been a number of concerts to cater for the gospel music fans.
Early this year, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority partnered the Zimbabwe Council for Pentecostal Churches to launch the Zimbabwe Peace Gospel Festival held in Harare under the theme Shout to the Lord that was meant to promote peace and political tolerance ahead of the July 30 harmonised elections.
After this event, Gwanda hosted the three-day Gwanda International Gospel Festival in October, held under the theme, The Walls of Jericho Did Fall while the following month there was another gospel festival in the Harare Gardens, the annual Zimpraise International Gospel and Music Festival that was for the first time hosted for free with thousands of people attending.
With the concerts on cards, the Nyasha Dzedenga Gospel Show and the Breeze Music Gospel Explosion, the Christian community will be in for a treat as all the events feature top artistes who are riding the crest of a wave in their careers and also with traceable records of top-notch performances at their live concerts.