Abandoned jam session stifles untapped talent

Winstone Antonio

THE collapse of the once popular weekly jam session that was commonly known as KaMonday Kanenge Friday, held at City Sports Bar in Harare, appears to have further stifled the country’s untapped music talent.

The jam session used to provide emerging talents a platform to hone and showcase their skills on stage. Female artistes, including Ammie Jamanda and Diana Samkange, at one time, performed at the Jam Session.

Award-winning music promoter Biggie Chinoperekwei of Devine Assignment had come up with the noble idea for budding musicians across genres to showcase their talent, while giving a new lease of life to many “forgotten” musicians at a time some music promoters and venue owners had been targeting seasoned and established artistes to leverage their businesses.

The jam session had become popular on the showbiz scene, with music fanatics gracing the weekly event to see their favourite artistes on stage.

Apart from the performing artistes, the event would also attract arts promoters and stakeholders in the creative sector, according them the opportunity to spot talents.

The music industry has always been considered not to be rosy for upcoming artistes, because they perpetually struggle to get the much-needed exposure that comes with performing at live concerts, and sharing the stage with seasoned performers.

The event had become a “perfect” rendezvous for those arts enthusiasts. There is no doubt the platform would definitely be missed, not only by artistes, but many others.

While it must be appreciated that music promoters are also feeling the heat of the economic meltdown, it is however, a bitter pill to swallow for those artistes who used to perform at the jam session as they struggle to find a “new home” to showcase their talents.

There are suggestions that this could be the right time for the upcoming artistes and female artistes to join hands and take the ball out of the promoters’ hands and try something else on their own.

Many artistes are on record complaining that they are getting peanuts from music promoters, but there is very little they have done to come up with their own initiatives that would wean them from the promoter dependent syndrome.

But if they are to start something, they should come up with initiatives that really market their brands, a total shift from how some used to do business at the jam session.

Also, at the back of their minds, they must remember to really shine when given the opportunity. They must present their potential to the people and not blow away the opportunity by performing cover versions of either departed or surviving music legends or popular international artistes.

Yes, it’s understandable that some rising artistes might not have a catalogue of songs that can last their accorded time at a concert, however, with the few songs they have, they must try at least to sell their own brands to the potential investors and promoters.

Sadly, last year at the Only the Divas Concert organised by music promotions and marketing organisation Jive at Padziva in Harare, both the seasoned and rising female artistes instead of promoting their own music they resorted to cover versions.

This was a great and exclusive opportunity for the female artistes to prove their prowess at a show, where everything was put at their disposal so that they could shine at a time music promoters were being accused of discriminating against female musicians.

Most local female musicians, if not all, have expressed unhappiness over what they termed discriminatory tendencies by male promoters and their bias towards male performers. But sadly, when accorded the opportunity some female musicians decide not to impress and leave footprints for further engagements.

As a recommendation, musicians should try to be pro-active and move from the traditional way of doing business whereby they wait to be paid by the promoter.

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