Somerai, Madzibaba join forces

BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI

A TALE of two Nicholases! Forgotten musician and one of the pioneers of urban grooves music Nicholas Somerai has teamed up with sungura musician Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria for a single titled Airtime Yangu (Nema Bundles).

Somerai, who is now based in South Africa, said the single, which was released last month, is an unadulterated sungura beat spiced up with some chanting from Utakataka Express’ Gift “Shiga Shiga” Katulika.

“My collaboration song with the Senior Lecturer Nicholas Zakaria is called Airtime Yangu (Nema Bundles) and it was released on December 11, 2020. It’s available on iTunes and Spotify,” Somerai told NewsDay Life & Style.

“The song is pure sungura instrumentation woven around my style of singing. Shiga Shiga did some very clever work in the song too. Everything works well together and I was ecstatic with the final result.

“I worked with professionals who have been in this game for decades, so excellence was to be expected.”

Although he released the hit Mudiwa Wangu in 1995, Somerai made a mark at the turn of the millennium, thanks to government’s 75% local content policy on radio and television stations which was meant to promote local artistes.

The policy became a turning point for the Zimbabwean music landscape and gave birth to the urban grooves movement, a unique genre which showcased versatile local talent.

Somerai is one such artiste who profited from the policy that gave prominence to his hit song Mudiwa Wangu which had been released in 1995.

He said initially he wanted to do a rendition of the song Mudiwa Wangu with Madzibaba, but his fans simply wanted the song in its original form, hence coming up with the track Airtime Yangu (Nema Bundles).

“Music, like a photograph, has the effect of ‘freezing time’ in one’s life and people associate Mudiwa Wangu with whatever specific things they were going through in their lives at that time,” he said.

“I have decided to give people what they want and so my next project will have the original song Mudiwa Wangu, thus it’s coming on all online music platforms.”
Despite being in South Africa, the song Airtime Yangu (Nema Bundles) was recorded in Zimbabwe.

“We will do a video for this new song once the lockdowns in Zimbabwe and South Africa are over,” he said.

The musician, whose desire is to see local music reclaiming its status as one of the powerhouses on the continent, feels that the mess in which the Zimbabwean music industry finds itself in, is a result of a failed economy.

He said in terms of developing the music industry since independence, the 75% local content policy was among a handful of trumpeted “achievements” of the Zanu PF government.

Somerai last released in February 2017 and these include the track KuDiaspora, which is about Zimbabwean economic migrants in many countries who have been forced to live away from their loved ones and he said the song was a dedication to all in that predicament.

The second song is titled Uri Ruva, which he dedicated to his wife Precious.

“The song is an insight into my heart and expresses my gratitude for her being in my life. She has been extremely good to me over the years,” he said.

Somerai said the third song called Kamoto Kamberevere was born out of his love for the late Paul Matavire’s music. He said he was looking forward to doing live shows with Zakaria and many other artistes once the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

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