SOUNDTRACK: Winstone Antonio
WHEN former Jah Prayzah’s backing vocalist and lead guitarist, Braveman “Baba Harare” Chizvino Mawanza weaned himself from the Third Generation band after an eight-year stint to form his own ensemble, The City Vibration band, it appeared like a leap into the dark.
The multi-award-winning Jah Prayzah had discovered Baba Harare when he was working with Sigma Boys, a virtually unknown musical outfit in the backwaters of Bikita.
Baba Harare’s move out of The Third Generation band about two years ago, which he claims was not a bitter separation, came as a surprise to many considering that Jah Prayzah has established himself as a brand with which many fans, corporates and promoters sought to be associated with.
On many occasions, we have heard complaints from several band members in both seasoned and rising groups that they are being financially short-changed by the band leaders — something that even comes out strongly in top producer Clive “Mono” Mukundu’s blockbuster publication, Poor & Famous. But surprisingly, for the fear of the unknown, some have remained in the “abusive” working environment and continue being cry-babies.
It is only “brave men” like Baba Harare, who can make that leap into the dark to chart their own course, rather than remain cry-babies in someone’s shadow. It was not an easy feat to desert the Third Generation band just like how sungura king pin Alick Macheso did when he left the once vibrant Khiama Boys to form his Orchestra Mberikwazvo.
Undeniably, such decisions are tough, but somehow they are to be made and for Baba Harare it appears he has managed to push his career into the limelight with his own band proving to the world that he can stand on his own in the cut-throat music industry.
Abandoning the steady ships, for some, has proved hard. It needs one to be sure of their capabilities, especially those core principles that are absolutely required to build, grow and sustain a career in music. Some who decided to take the same route have struggled or are struggling as evidenced by former Macheso’s band member Franco “Slomo” Dhaka who found himself in the cold after his departure from Ochestra Mberikwazvo.
For abandoning the Third Generation ship, Baba Harare could have faced a lot of criticism, but two years down the line, he is slowly positioning himself as a force to reckon with when it comes to adding flare to jiti music.
At one point, he was bestowed with the “man-of-the-moment” tag because of his track The Reason Why that is popularly known as Hat Dzemurara. The song became an anthem at most public gatherings and watering holes.
Although he might not be receiving much airplay, when it come to live shows he is getting decent earnings, given that the radio royalties come after ages.
For Baba Harare, it appears the music gods are smiling on him as he is also getting that much-yearned for recognition to perform at corporate-sponsored gigs. He recently performed at the annual Chibuku Road to Fame as a guest artiste alongside his former paymaster Jah Prayzah.
As he soldiers on, Baba Harare is set to add another album Generator to his discography. The album that will be his third production is set to be launched on November 7 at Food Nest, located at LongCheng Plaza in Harare.
It remains to be seen what ingredients makes up Generator at a time some people have expressed mixed feelings over some lyrics on his songs Guzuzu and Automatically, but the singer has defended the songs saying there was nothing mischievous because jiti songs are meant to provoke certain connotations.
Whether or not Baba Harare will be able to maintain his momentum, time will tell.