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Macheso: A ‘freeman’ in two music worlds

Life & Style
THERE has been debate on the showbiz scene that sungura music appears to be slowly sliding into oblivion as emerging genres like dancehall rule the roost.

SOUNDTRACK: Winstone Antonio

THERE has been debate on the showbiz scene that sungura music appears to be slowly sliding into oblivion as emerging genres like dancehall rule the roost.

This conversation further wades into the narrative that there is no longer competition in the sungura genre after the death of legendary singer Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo in 2011 that left sungura ace Alick Macheso without a competitor such that he can afford to sleep for a year and still wake up as the king of the genre.

Perhaps Macheso was also feeling the same heat as far back as 2016 when he made it public that he wanted to fuse his sungura with dancehall, yearning for a collaboration with dancehall badboy Soul Jah Love, who was riding the crest of a wave as he released hits after hits. He appeared to have realised the need to maintain his legion of followers, largely the mature, while attracting the youths.

However, Macheso was reportedly made to wait forever and the badboy of Zimdancehall would not turn up in the studio as planned — like the characters Vladimir and Estragon, who were Waiting for Godot in the play of the same title.

The project consequently suffered a stillbirth, until dancehall musician Freeman presented himself and fulfilled Macheso’s desire through their duet, Ngaibake, that has won the hearts of many across generations since the launch of Freeman’s latest 10-track offering, Gango. The album is a product of diverse producers that resonates well with the title which in street lingo means a meal made up of an assortment of meats.

The Madhawu and Joina City hitmakers’ combination produced magic as the song has gained traction, with the accompanying video also getting thumbs up as it continues to attract more views on YouTube.

Through the song, Freeman has drawn Macheso to the young followers, allowing him to become the king of both music genres. Baba Sharo, as Macheso is known to his legions of fans, blended well in dressing and style.

The music video also features comedians Madam Boss and Mai Titi, who have been in the news more for their fights. Ironically, the song, which also features another talented comedian Enock Chisale, calls for an end to unnecessary fights and urges people to be merry.

John Cole is also part of the act on choreography and there is also a cameo appearance by Macheso’s nimble-footed dancer Majuice performing the famous Borrowdale dance, moves popularised by the former Khiama Boys keyman.

Music lovers have also given credit to Nash Paints director Tinashe Mutarisi for the video’s concept where people solely enjoy themselves in a party set up and Blaqs’s midas touch as the video director that also harmonised well with the artistes’ immense talents.

Interestingly, through the song and the video, Macheso was “re-united” with his former paymasters, Nash Paints, who are said to have financed its production. The Charakupa hitmaker was once the Nash Paints’ brand ambassador before he ended their marriage after three years when Jah Prayzah took over as the new face of the company’s campaigns.

The song seems to be an early Christmas present as it has ignited excitement among both the dancehall and sungura fans. It is already being touted as a top contender of the best song of 2019 on radio charts judging by the on-going conversations and comments on various social media platforms.

Not disputing that Macheso is a humble singer, who has a well-documented history of helping and mentoring a lot of musicians both seasoned and upcoming in the past, but on this one it appears the sungura musician has been “resurrected” through the duet.

Unexpectedly, the collaboration appears to have revived Macheso’s fame unlike Freeman as of late the sungura singer’s songs have not been getting massive air play on local radio and even in watering halls.

Macheso’s songs have also been overshadowed by some songs from the dancehall and hip hop genres that are making the waves. It must however, be mentioned that although Macheso might not be receiving much attention on air, the veteran singer is far ahead when it comes to live concerts which he always cashes on.

Macheso and Freeman’s collaboration comes against the backdrop of another production that merged sungura and dancehall voices when sungura kingpin Nicholas “Senior Lecturer” Zakaria was featured on rising dancehall chanter Jah Signal’s Unovashungurudza off his recently released album Jaya.

The growing relationship between Macheso and Freeman could soon become one of the best combinations from the two genres. It appears promoters will also soon be stampeding for both Macheso and Freeman’s signatures for live concerts, basking in the glory of the trending song as witnessed last week when they shared the stage at Pamuzinda Highway X-scape along Bulawayo Road.