The sound of Tembalami


AWARD-WINNING musician, Temba “Tembalami” Tagwirei is arguably one of the most decorated gospel artistes in Zimbabwe with hordes of fans that have been inspired by his music.

Having started off as a secular pop musician during which time he collaborated with Extra Large, he later had a change of heart and switched to gospel music, a genre in which he has proved to be a force to reckon with.
As one of the founding members of Zimpraise, Tembalami has a rich background in gospel music, with his hit — Tomurumbidza — having taken up an anthem-like status and afforded him a chance to shoot to stardom.

Tomurumbidza is a worship song in which the musician pays homage to the Lord and rallies listeners to worship the Almighty God.

The song carries a very personal thumbprint as it was inspired by some of life’s challenges that Christians experience in the world.

This probably accounts for why it is such a popular track sung during praise and worship segments in different denominations.

It was taken off Tembalami’s fourth studio album, The Fight, which was produced last year.

In 2015, Tembalami released his highly successful 2015 live DVD project, Ministry of Works (underscoring the importance of having one’s works confirm their faith), from which the single Sekerera, was culled.

Sekerera went on to win the hearts of many gospel music lovers.

His unique lyrical content saw him doing collaborations with Kenyan diva Evelyn Wanjiru, on a Swahili track titled Sawa. Sawa is Swahili for “Alright”.

The prolific musician has also used gospel music to break geographical and tribal boundaries.

His video Waweza, which was sung in four different languages: English, Swahili, Shona and Spanish features Costa Rican gospel musician Sofi Mendez.

In the song, Tembalami acknowledges the superiority of God who can do all things as Waweza means “God is able”.

He became one of the country’s gospel musicians whose music has already crossed national borders within a short period of time.

His success saw him nominated for the Kenyan annual Gospel Groove last year and, alongside fellow gospel group, Zimpraise, he was also nominated in the category for Artiste of the Year in Southern Africa which was eventually won by Zambian artiste Pompi.

Tembalami later described the competition as tough, but his participation added another notch to his belt.

The musician recently collaborated with Janet Manyowa on the track Mbiri, which is currently trending on various online platforms as the two musicians are counted among the country’s finest gospel artistes.

It even attracted international attention and was nominated for the Maranatha awards.

Tembalami, who was born in a family of five, started singing in church, just like many gospel artistes, at 11.

His love for music deepened over the years and at 19, he had his debut studio recording as part of a gospel group called The Burning Bush.

It was his time with ZimPraise, however, after leaving The Burning Bush, that propelled him to stardom.

In 2011, Tembalami launched his debut album after going solo, Brighter Day, which included Tomurumbidza.

An instant hit on YouTube, where it attracted half a million views, it became his springboard to the international market.