Melissa Mpofu in Harare
Jah Prayzah may want to consider launching his next album at the National Sport’s Stadium as his recent launch of Chitubu at the HICC last weekend was oversubscribed.
Filling the 5 000 capacity auditorium at about 11PM on Friday, Jah Prayzah, a much-sought-after artiste proved that he had outgrown the HICC just like he has done with the Amphitheatre in Bulawayo. Revellers had made their way to the venue at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in their numbers from about 6PM.
And by 11PM, the place was full to the brim with hundreds still outside.
With a lineup of talented artistes, ExQ, Enzo Ishal of the Kanjiva fame, Killer T, Nutty O, Freeman and Mbeu among others, the event was certainly worth attending as the artistes did not disappoint. To top it all off was the worldclass stage, lighting and sound that was all provided by local company Events Evolution.
Taking to the stage just after 11PM, Jah Prayzah was introduced to the crowd by his Military Touch Movement stablemate ExQ when they performed their Pahukama track. The hyped up audience was so ecstatic when they saw their star as this signalled the beginning of the launch. Before unveiling the new album, a visibly overwhelmed Jah Prayzah who was shocked by the attendance thanked the crowd for supporting him by packing the HICC. He then began his set with a performance of Chitubu followed by a mellow track, Chikomo.
The title track of the album was well received because it had been released a week before so people were now acquainted to it. Up-tempo tunes like Dangerous, Dzamutsana and Tuachira will likely be hits during this summer season as they all got the crowd in a celebratory mood.
With experience from last year’s launch where Jah Prayzah had difficulties performing the new tracks because the crowd was not so responsive, the artiste this year was clever about it as he fused the new tracks with his old hits. He however performed less than six tracks from the 13-track album.
At one point, it felt like a Zumba session as Jah Prayzah’s energy on stage was so infectious and really got the crowd in the mood to have fun. Like a Zimdancehall concert, there were times, especially during the performance of Hosanna, when the crowd was seen jumping up and down just like their artiste was doing on stage. Sadly, thieves who were on high alert, would strike at such times.
Listening to the new tracks, it was evident the ‘old’ Jah Prayzah whom music lovers fell in love with because of his contemporary, traditional vibe from the Tsviriyo days was back and with a bang. Trying to make a mark on the international scene, Jah Prayzah was fast losing the plot by ditching his traditional feel opting for an afro-pop sound.
But on this new album, he definitely returned to his roots. Not shunning his international market, the album has a collaboration – Follow Me that features Nigeria’s Patoranking. This track which ideally was supposed to have been launched with a music video was instead spiced up with dancers who mesmerised the audience with their well choreographed routine.
And wow, how relieving it was to listen to a track where Jah Prayzah was not trying too hard to fit in like he has been doing with previous international collaborations. On this track, one cannot distinguish him from Patoranking as the two artistes complemented each other very well.
There is also another collaboration with Kenyan artiste Sauti Sol titled Special Somebody that will likely be a favourite of many women like My Lilly.
Jah Prayzah’s album launch certainly came at the right time as music lovers had been starved of quality entertainment in the capital. This was mainly because of the ban by government on all public gatherings as part of measures to contain cholera. Also, with the ongoing price hikes, this show was much needed as it brought cheers.
It also proved that with unity, local musicians can go far as cameo appearances by artistes Ammara Brown and Baba Harare made the event more exciting.
The dancing queen, Ammara got the crowd in a frenzy when she danced along to one of Jah Prayzah’s tracks. Baba Harare on the other hand, being a former band member of Jah Prayzah’s Third Generation band was a welcome surprise. Oozing so much confidence, he headed straight to the microphone during Jah Prayzah’s set and joined in on the backing vocals as well as the dance routine. It was as if he never left.
Over the years, Jah Prayzah had been inviting international artistes to help launch his albums, but this time around, he went it alone and it worked wonders as the fans showed him love.