AUSTRALIAN based Zimbabwean musician Audius Mtawarira has blamed local radio stations for the demise of the local genre urban grooves that rocked the streets in the late 90s and early 2000.
By Tafadzwa Rusike Gondo
Mtawarira is one of the finest pioneers of the genre who produced locally for nearly five years before leaving for his Australian base.
Speaking about his relationship with local DJs he said it’s no longer business as usual as they have shifted goal posts in favour of the current Zimbabwe dancehall (ZimDancehall) genre.
“I tried so hard to revive the genre; I remember being home 2011 to 2016 seeing the genre given little or no airplay. I tried to point out a better approach to some new radio platforms so that a variety of genres would be accommodated; our audience require a variety of music after all”
“I met a lot of fans who were appalled by what they thought was my disregard for my all-time genre only to inform them that I haven’t neglected the genre and I’m still producing, but the airplay has been shut by our local Djs” he said
The silky voiced muso decried the imbalances of airplay in radio stations as favouring only ZimDancehall.
“I don’t want to mock Zimdancehall as a genre but, it will be fair if other genres would enjoy equal airplay too” he added
“In 2014 people were shocked when I received the Zimbabwe Music Award (ZIMA) in the urban category, most people never thought I was in the country and if I was still producing music”
“I think the music industry across all media platforms needs to be centralised and spawn from a common body that is based on preservation of artists; sustainability of their work and protect the various tastes of the audience as fairly as possible” he said.
‘I have had a lot of experience in this industry and in some countries where it has flourished. It is my wish to impart my experience without offending the existing structures. Competition between media platforms should not fragment and drag genres into a tug-of-war’ he added
From the year 2013 when Zimdancehall hit the ground, many people thought it had sent urban grooves to an early surprise grave.