ONE of the golden finds of the urban grooves music genre of the early 2000s Leonard Mapfumo, is among the few still standing.
SoundTrack with Chelsea Musafare
The genre owes its lift off to former Information minister Jonathan Moyo’s controversial 75% local content policy on local radio stations.
Although many of the youngsters that emerged during that golden era — including Roy and Royce Gomo, David Chifunyise, Betty Makaya, Balt and Beit, Shame and Nathan appeared to have gone off the radar, others have seen their music metamorphose following the emergence of Zimdancehall.
For the likes of Rockford “Roki” Josphat, ExQ, Stunner and Maskiri, innovation was the key that kept them afloat.
This has seen the burden of fighting for pure urban grooves thrust on the shoulders of Mapfumo and a few others, who have continued to release music in the genre.
The Dreamstar Zimbabwe Talent Show artistic director shot to fame in 2002 with his single, Seiko, and has continued on course, with his most recent tracks, Huwii and Nhodo, cementing his place in the annals of urban grooves history.
In 2005, Mapfumo produced an album with Roki, titled R & L with the song Maidei, which reached the number one spot on ZBC top 10 singles charts and stayed on the charts for 42 weeks, a feat that is yet to be achieved ever since by any other musician.
His tracks, Two Chete, Chiuya, Shevedza and Shamwari were also dominant.
Inspired by real life events, the hit-maker has been releasing love songs that resonate with many of his mainly youthful fans and if online music platforms records are anything to go by, the musician has reinvented himself to remain relevant.
Last year, Mapfumo released two music videos which have garnered 12 million views on YouTube.
Mapfumo’s sound evolved to Afro-pop at the launch of Trevor Dongo’s music video, Hazvidi Nharo, in which he is featured.
He makes music that resonates with mature people and mainly dwells on love and the struggles that are faced by ordinary citizens living in the ghettos like the song, Hazvidi Nharo, which narrates a ghetto love story.
The album, NaMapfumo, had every song featuring at least one artiste to spice up the tracks with their sweet harmonious voices. The love song, Two Chete, featuring Trevor Dongo and Rutendo had fans in their feel.
Maidei, a favourite for many themed around an unfaithful ex-lover, features ExQ. Mvura, featuring Sani Makhalima, impressed quite a lot of music lovers since Sani is a guru when it comes to choruses with a sweet accord. Usazoputsa is blessed with some lovely vocals by Trevor and Shingie and the same goes for Sherrie, featuring Cindy Raw.
Mapfumo’s music has driven relationships with the words crafted by the talented artiste always conveying messages between love birds.
In the days gone by in the absence of digital technology and before people could send songs to each other via WhatsApp or such other share links, his songs were used as dedication love songs in good or bad relationship situations.
When it comes to video production, the singer has been releasing some of the best music videos ever since he returned from sabbatical. His choice when it comes to locations, cameras makes him produce top notch videos.
When it comes to creativity, he is one of the highly-rated artistes in the country. His sonorous voice is unique in the music circles, especially when compared to his urban grooves peers.
Mapfumo has shown how flexible he is by releasing hard-hitting verses with entertaining word plays and punchlines. Working with different producers, new artistes, creative people, exchanging ideas and the willingness to learn has helped him remain strong and creative.
As he soldiers on, Mapfumo is currently working on more projects this year to add to his discography. In a bid to expand his brand, the singer is yet to venture into new avenues and explore more in his roles as talent scout, manager and artistic director.
Since his 2020 resolution is to target the international market as it promotes local music, Mapfumo will next month release a track titled No Lie in which he will feature DRC’s talented young artiste, Novy Kays. If Mapfumo strives to be consistent with his music, he will soon regain his former glory.