In the groove: Major league promoters vindicated

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The DJs had promised to come back to Zimbabwe on December 22, 2021 but failed to do so.

By Fred Zindi

On November 7 last year, I wrote an article titled: Major League Disappointed Harare Fans. This was after the shut-down of the show by the police at Palm Estate in Stonechat Lane, Borrowdale. In the article I also said that “the twin brothers promised Zimbabweans that they will come back next month for a free performance as a token of appreciation and to make it up to their Harare fans”.

I added: “How they are going to do this is beyond me as they are not the promoters. It costs air tickets to get them on the plane. It costs money to find a suitable venue and to hire a PA system, stage and lighting.  Is this mere talk?  We will wait and see.”

The DJs had promised to come back to Zimbabwe on December 22, 2021 but failed to do so.

I tried to talk to the promoters of the flopped Harare show in October last year.

My effort did not bear any fruit. Efforts to speak to DJ Rimo, aka Tinotenda Marimo and his partner, Collin, two of the organisers of the Major League concert did not go down well as they were not happy to talk to the press at that time.

DJ Rimo stated that he was at the airport busy getting the guys on the plane back to South Africa and did not have time to talk to me. When I spoke to Collin, he said: “You know there was a problem, so right now I can’t comment”.

That was it.

A statement later posted by DJ Rimo, one of the botched show organisers read: “The organisers of the Major League show sincerely apologise for the failure of the djs to perform as advertised. The djs had been billed to start performing at 9pm. An oversight was made on our part regarding the actual time which the performance could take place under current curfew protocols.”  Major League DJs were already at the venue at the time of the stoppage. Contrary to various claims circulating on social media, there was no deliberate plot to defraud patrons and as the djs themselves can confirm they were indeed paid for all the 3 performances they were supposed to do.”

That is all in the past. Major League eventually came back to Zimbabwe on the March 5, 2022 and managed to fulfil last year’s promise. The events of Saturday, March 5 absolved the promoters from any blame on what happened last October. In their statement, they also indicated that all those who had paid for the Palm Estate show will get free access to the said show if they come between 1 and 4 O’clock p.m. Indeed, hundreds of ghetto youths, some of whom had not attended the Palm Estate show flocked into the venue and claimed without any proof, that they had been to the show.

The promoters could not turn them back. Thousands of them went in for free.

There is no doubt in my mind that a great deal of money was lost by the promoters in a bid to fulfil their promise.

Anyway, that is all too technical, let’s go to the show itself:

Starved of entertainment, thousands of music fans thronged Borrowdale Race Course on Saturday 5 March.

Enzo Ishall along with his Chillspot Crew consisting of Levels, Ribe and Fantan, in an opening act, thrilled the thousands of fans as they warmed up the stage for the South African duo. In his act, Enzo sang most of his popular tunes such as  Kanjiwa and Siki .  He also included some Souljah Love tracks in honour of the late singer’s memory.

Enzo Ishall thrilled the crowds and gave an electric performance.

Young lovers, who had come to remove their appetite for music after 24 months of non-activity in this sphere due to the Covid-19 pandemic, at last found satisfaction.

The Enzo Ishall act was livened up by this skimpily- dressed girl who went to spice up the stage by doing her 180 degree splits and strut dance which left her revealing her white underwear to the crowd. She carried herself with a certain swagger which showed that she was enjoying an escape from the hardships of life, giving herself the freedom to be who she wants to be and not what society demands.

Now let’s move to the twin brothers whom the crowd was really there for.

The Major League twin brothers, Bandile and Banele Mbere, later came onto the stage after Enzo’s act. With their uncanny resemblance, one could be forgiven for thinking that Banele and Bandile Mbere, who make up Major League DJz, are the same person.  One could also be forgiven for thinking that Major League is a group full of instrumentalists. There were no guitars or drums to show. It is a live deejay group that consists of twin brothers that go by the name of Bandile and Banele. One is a deejay and the other a percussionist.  They spin mostly Amapiano music.That’s all.

I enjoy and listen to variety of music from classical music, reggae, Zimdancehall, jazz, hip hop, rhumba to rap music.

I have attended many concerts in my life, mostly live band concerts. However, interestingly, throughout my whole life, I have never experienced an Amapiano concert and I had never been to a DJz Amapiano concert before. I am not even sure that I understand this music genre.

Therefore, it was hard for me to decide whether or not the concert would give me most pleasure and exciting experience. I, however, decided that if my music experience should grow, then this experience is a must. So Borrowdale Racecourse became my venue for this new experience.

I am still no sure that I have caught on to this music. The music fans at Borrowdale Racecourse who had come to attend the show did not care. They just wanted fun after enduring a period of Covid-19 restrictions. With bottles of their best drinks in their hands, they couldn’t go wrong.  I am still yet to discover which dancing style is associated with Amapiano as I saw a variety of them. I noticed that some punters were doing the Kwasa Kwasa Dance. Others were into Hip Hop dancing styles while yet others were into contemporary dancing styles. I was confused.

I tried hard to follow the music, but failed to fully appreciate what was coming out. This might be due to the fact that I did not know the songs the DJz were spinning except for one which I recognised straight away, Careless Whisper which was done by George Michael many years ago. I managed to get hold of the song list afterwards and there were titles such as Bakwa Lah, Amanzi, Kusha Ipiano, Le Plane Elandile, and Ayeyeye which I am going to eventually hunt for on You Tube so that I can become more familiar with Amapiano songs.

Locked down with nowhere to go and nothing to do, this music came to  Zimbabweans in a fever dream of viral Amapiano sounds and  vibes, where scenes of ghetto youths  inundated our feeds, halted many a lockdown doom scroll, and captured the hearts and minds of a people.

I had never heard of Major League until their first concert in Zimbabwe had been advertised last year in September, but I became curious. I am told by my friends that its popularity came through social media and word of mouth before even coming into the real world. I think it has been the biggest thing to come out in this manner. It goes to show the power of social media.

As soon as the lockdown hit, people started waking up to various musical shows. Amapiano was no exception.

More people had time on their hands, and were in front of their screens. Amapiano shouted so loud that people in the void of lockdown had no choice but to sit up and listen.

Rising to the challenge of an increasingly voracious appetite for the sound, new tracks were piling out of the continent’s southern pocket almost every other day, with the genre becoming progressively more sophisticated in style and energy. South African DJs and artists were like, ‘OK guys, this is our time,’ Guys like Major League had Instagram and TikTok in a steady chokehold, due in part to its riotous feel, punchy vocals and spate of viral dances inspired by the infectious sound of Amapiano. More DJs came on the scene, with names such as D.J. Maphorisa, Samthing Soweto, Casper Nyovest, Kabza De Small, Shasha and Josiah De Disciple becoming prominent in Amapiano circles.

Judging from what went on at Borrowdale Race course, the duo left the crowd wanting more.

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