Bongani Ndlovu/ Mkhululi Ncube, Showbiz Reporters
THE popularity of Mas’kandi music of South Africa is now also charming local artistes with Maz’velela Khabo being the latest to release an album Ben 10 ungenzani.
Boasting of 13 tracks, the album is testimony that local artistes can compete with their South African counterparts if given enough support.
If one doesn’t know that Maz’velela grew up in Bulawayo’s Old Lobengula suburb, they would mistake him for one of South Africa’s many Mas’kandi musicians.
For an artiste born and bred in Lupane, Maz’velela did not take the familiar sound of many artistes from the Matabeleland provinces such as Ndolwane Super Sounds, Ndux Junior, Chase Skuza and Allen Ndoda.
Maz’velela said singing was his passion and money was secondary.
“I sing to promote culture, that’s why most of my songs have a social message. I sing about what I see in everyday life and from the stories that people tell me. Making money isn’t at the top of my priorities although I make enough,” he said.
Maz’velela said the number of Zimbabwean Mas’kandi musicians with a huge following in South Africa is high.
“There’re quite a number of people who do Mas’kandi music from Zimbabwe particularly from Tsholotsho, Lupane, Matobo and Filabusi. We play in halls in Johannesburg’s high density suburbs,” he said.
The former Isizukulwane singer, who left the group in 1999 to seek greener pastures in South Africa, said he was inspired by people like Jeys Marabini and Albert Nyathi.
“Jeys and Albert shaped the way I sing. The emphasis in their songs is on promoting culture and this is what I enjoy about their music,” said Maz’velela.
In his title track, Maz’velela bemoans a Ben 10, a colloquial word for a young man dating older women, who has snatched his wife. It is punctuated by a strong bass guitar which dominates all the tracks on the album.
Highlanders Football club fans should have this album as Maz’velela has two songs dedicated to the popular Bulawayo giants, Bayethe Highlanders and Babethi mayibulawe.
On Babethi mayibulawe, the musician decries cheating that he claims is perpetrated against Bosso saying football must be played on the pitch not in the offices.
To show that he is an avid football fan, the artiste dedicated a song to the late Adam “Adamski” Ndlovu which is the last track on the album.
Maz’velela, like his South African Mas’kandi counterparts who also sing gospel Maskandi, has two gospel tracks Ngithethelele Baba and Ngiyamazi uJesu .The latter, if given enough airplay, can be a song of choice for many.
The artiste’s versatility is shown on track seven, Sanibonani Mandebele which has a kwaito beat fused with the Maskandi sound.
Another track to look out for is Siyathandana, which has a Kwela music feel for those who want to reminisce of the good old days of the Mahlathini and Mahotela Queens era.
Other tracks on the album include Asidleni Bangane, Simunye, Killer Disease, Zabulawa Zaphela and Mali Mali.
The album can be found at Lifeview Record Bar in Bulawayo.