Matamba getting better with age


SUNGURA musician Liversy Matamba’s newly-released album Ndozvireva is a must-have disc as it is a potpourri.The Chivaraidze Express frontman’s six-track album carries the songs Rudo Harumanikidzwe, Marwisa, Manga Musingavazive, Rongekai, Kuitiswa and Vana Gumi.

Admire Jamu-Mlambo

Having listened to the album over and over again since its release in March this year, I have placed stars on the tracks Rongekai and Rudo Harumanikidzwe, which are a cut above the rest and Matamba’s unique craftsmanship.

The familiar metaphors that come out as Matamba sings about his daily experiences and those of the people around him make music relatable to listeners. This makes the album relevant.
In the title track — Rongekai — Matamba urges people not to get carried away when life is moving smoothly, but utilise the opportunity to plan ahead. It is all about being organised and orderly to ensure that one does not drown when they suffer a stroke of misfortune.

All too often in life, love relationships and marriages have messy endings characterised by a lot of fighting and blame games.
In Rudo Harumanikidzwe, the musician shares some nuggets of wisdom, encouraging couples to peacefully go their separate ways if they feel their love has run its full course.
He warns that remaining stuck in broken relationships can be toxic. The song’s instrumentation is well-organised as the sungura beat is beautifully fused with some kanindo flavour.
Themes for the songs Vana Gumi, Kuitiswa, Marwisa and Manga Musingavazive are culled from daily life experiences of the common man. The handling of the sound in these songs justifies why it took two years to produce this album — in Matamba’s own words.

The veteran musician has 15 albums under his belt and the investment made into this latest offering confirms that Matamba has slowly matured with age like wine to become a force to reckon with in sungura music.

I believe the new offering surpasses by far his previous albums Rairo and Hupenyu Hwedu while catapulting the soft-spoken musician to the dizzy heights he scaled with the hit songs Samere Samere and Hazvina Mhosva. He has made social commentary through music his forte over the years.

However, there is a song that I would single out — Vana Gumi. This song is loaded with meaning. The message here is directed at people that fail to look after their parents after having been raised well through the sacrifices of those parents. The persona in the song, who is the parent, reminds his children about the pains he endured while raising them.
The songs carry a rhumba beat which enables Matamba’s fans to get down on the dance floor as was the case with an earlier song, Rongekai.

As usual, Matamba is known for producing music with a meaning and which is a direct reflection of one’s life. Kuitiswa is one song that is loaded with meaning. To his credit, he plays to the gallery, fully attuned to the needs of sungura lovers who, despite the sombre message that leaves track marks in their hearts, will still demand a beat that lure them onto the dance floor.

The Chivaraidze Express frontman’s latest offering, Ndozvireva, deserves thumbs up. Having listened to Matamba’s album on a 368km drive from Bikita to Harare, I was left in no doubt that he is one of a kind.

To his credit, Matamba has brought a new dimension to the genre, slowly moving away from the traditional sungura beat, but he must be careful not to completely change his style because he might end up distorting his identity.

With this new album, Matamba might make a major breakthrough in the sungura circles if he goes on a massive countrywide tour, including sungura hotbeds such as Murambinda, Bhasera and Nyika growth points.

Matamba is well-known for churning out hits such as Hazvina Mhosva, Mbimbindoga, Ndipowo Rudo and Samere Samere.