ARTISTES have been traditionally recognised as role models in society, with a critical role to play not only in entertainment, but also in spreading awareness beyond the stage in times of emergencies and disasters.
SOUNDTRACK with Winstone Antonio
There is no doubt that the world is going through a lot of stress, despair and hopelessness as billions of people are under lockdown as part of measures to help flatten the curve and curb the spread of COVID-19.
Indeed, in trying times, music has long been used as a tool of communication, a means to spread awareness, heals distressed souls and serves as social glue.
As people are stuck and isolated in homes, music can bring them together.
In realising their role in society, local artistes across genres such as dancehall, sungura and gospel have joined hands in raising awareness in the fight against the coronavirus through their different COVID-19-themed melodies.
For such a timely reaction in this current gloomy atmosphere, those artistes who have used their talents and voices in raising awareness and giving people hope in the fight against the pandemic surely deserve a standing ovation. Kudos to you all.
No doubt, COVID-19 has hit hard almost every sector and the creative sector is no exception.
Sadly, but well-commended especially in line with the World Heath Organisation (WHO), a number of concerts featuring both home-grown and international performers have been postponed while some local artistes have also put their album launches on hold.
This has given birth to the new way of doing business. Online platforms have become the solution for performances as well as album releases and launches.
Afro-jazz musician Dereck Mpofu, poet-cum-singer Albert Nyathi, sungura singer Romeo Gasa, Mbeu, songstress Gemma Griffiths and gospel singer Flata Maungwe are among the artistes who have composed COVID-19-related songs.
Award-winning Afro-fusion musician Ashton “Mbeu” Nyahora released an emotional single titled Totangira Payi produced by Russo, seeking God’s intervention in the midst of this deadly coronavirus.
Through the song, Mbeu pleads with the Lord, calling for His intervention. The song also reflects on how people are hurt after losing their loved ones.
Musician-cum-comedian Mdlela Skhobokhobo recently dropped a new version of an old track titled Khumbule Khaya which carries a message of hope for Zimbabweans in the diaspora during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Music producer-cum-singer Lazarus “Lazzie T” Chapo combined his voice with songstress Vicky Vee on the song Corona, which has an accompanying video which calls for unity in fighting the coronavirus and also gives hope that through God’s divine intervention it will be conquered.
Songbird Gemma Griffiths dropped Titungamire on Mbare’s record label Chillspot’s Matare Riddim which is a divine call for protection in those disturbing times.
Founder of Glorious Family Choir, an interdenominational choral group, Flata Maungwe released a single track titled Rapai Matenda Anetsa that was produced by Carbon Productions in Norton.
The song is a global prayer where she is reminding people that there is that doctor, God, who has never failed before and if they look up to Him they will get an answer.
Dancehall singer Jah Signal dropped Kudzivirira Corona, where he raises awareness on health authorities’ guidelines, urging people to practise social distancing, washing hands with soap and avoiding public gatherings.
Sungura singer Romeo Gasa composed the song Coronavirus that has an accompanying video which is a call to God for protection against the disease. The musician also encourages people to adhere to the guidelines such as staying at home as a way to curb the spread of the disease.
Up-and-coming Afro-jazz singer Thabani “Jah Tee” released Zvirwere Zvinongonyuka Nyuka in which he implores God to protect Zimbabwe and Africa from the pandemic.
Singer Jah Master released the track Corona which touches on the controversial issue of church leaders who had prophesied of the near end of the deadly virus and also highlights the effects it has induced such as the national lockdown.
Dancehall chanter Tocky Vibes features Jah Bob on a track titled COVID-19 also spreading the message to stay safe against contracting the virus.
Away from the studio, a number of arts promoters have also joined hands organising online live concerts that have seen many artistes across genres sharing the stage and in the process spreading the gospel of social distancing and hygiene.