Melissa Mpofu/Tonderai Zvimba, Showbiz Reporters
CONTEMPORARY musician Jah Prayzah at the weekend excited his multitude of fans when he released his forthcoming album’s title track, Chitubu on YouTube.
The album will be launched in Harare on November 2 at the HICC and the release of Chitubu has definitely hyped fans up.
What has excited local fans is that Jah Prayzah, an artiste whom they fell in love with from the Gochi Gochi/Tsviriyo/Sungano era, seems to have bounced back as Chitubu has a traditional feel. For the past two years, Jah Prayzah seemed to have abandoned his local followers by dropping the mbira/traditional beat as he was now focusing more on collaborations with international artistes which did not have the mbira.
Explaining the forthcoming album, Jah Prayzah’s manager, Keen Mushapaidze, said the 13-track album was recorded with the local listener in mind.
“Jah Prayzah’s fans have been requesting for the old Jah Prayzah saying they miss his traditional music. It’s this outcry that inspired the songs on Chitubu,” Mushapaidze said.
He said this does not mean they will be abandoning the international market.
“The majority of the songs will be contemporary/traditional with about three being given an international touch for both local and international listeners.
We’ve realised that even when you do an album filled with international songs, it’s just one or two that’ll be hits.”
Explaining the album title Chitubu, Mushapaidze said it was a Shona word for a spring which produces water eternally.
“Chitubu is a spring that always brings out water. Jah has been producing hits year after year to an extent that we’ve been wondering when he’ll stop being referred to as man of the moment. Chitubu therefore refers to how his music has been received over the years.”
“Also, Chitubu is metaphorical to the endless blessings that come from God every day.”
In the past two years, the multi-award winning musician, an ambassador of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, has been accused of recording politically motivated music something he has constantly denied. His manager also came out in his defence saying they had tried by all means to produce a ‘clean’ album.
“How people interpret songs is entirely up to them. We’ve tried by all means to ensure we produce a clean album that resonates with the lives of different people that inhabit Zimbabwe so people see the good side of music and not the controversies of politics.
“Some people are just malicious such that any song on the album, if put in any situation, makes sense.”
On why they had released the title track before the album launch, Mushapaidze said this was part of their marketing strategies and efforts to entice the local following.
“Over the years, we’ve had people talk about the album before the launch. Chitubu has excited so many people so to keep this momentum we decided to give the people a snippet of what awaits them so they anticipate the album launch.
“This strategy has worked wonders because the song, without a video, has got over 100 000 views on YouTube in two days,” Mushapaidze said.
The manager said preparations for the launch were going on well although his band has a hectic schedule.
“Everything is going according to plan. It’s just hectic at the moment as we have a lot of travelling to do as well as a video shoot for one of the songs on the album.”
Tracks to look out for on the offering, Mushapaidze said, were Dzamutsana and Tauchira as well as a collaboration with Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol and an unnamed Nigerian.
In recent times, Jah Prayzah has been experimenting with various sounds as he has been on a quest to penetrate the regional market. This has seen him play unpopular among followers locally who felt he was abandoning him as they did not quite enjoy his new beats.
In 2016, he collaborated with Tanzanian musician Diamond Platnumz on track Watora Mari which was the beginning of a shift from his usual sound. To his credit, the song got him a lot of regional attention and at the end of that year he became the first Zimbabwean to win an MTV Africa Award in the Listener’s Choice category.
This definitely spurred him on because he went on to collaborate with Mafikizolo, Davido and Yemi Alade. After working with Africa’s finest artistes, he challenged himself and went for a Jamaican collaboration with Jah Cure on track Angel Lo.