WHAT happened to real music that carries with it lessons and memories that linger forever?
It appears that while the world progresses and develops, good music slowly disappears with time. One would think that back in time it was not easy to record music, technology was so “backward” and, therefore, now that we are the “Y2K” generation we would be spoilt with lots and lots of various music styles to marvel at.
Maybe I am just old school and if I am, then I am proud to be. It would appear that musicians of yesterday will live forever. Their music seems to refuse to be overtaken by that of today. Of late, old school music has become the in thing.
People have gone back to their old suitcases, dusted their vinyl records and cassettes, in some cases digitalised them and brought them back to life.
Clubs, radio stations and the general public have taken to playing old music at the expense of all the hit songs released almost daily by the new school musicians. Even the current generation of musicians will once in a while remix the old tunes or even play one or two at live performances just to wow their fans and it seems to work most of the time.
The question remains whether today’s musicians have failed or those from back then were just far too good at the game?
No offence to the current musicians because, credit to them, once in a while we have some of their songs hitting the headlines and breaking the charts, but somehow there is a bubblegum effect to it. It just does not last.
Why do songs by legends like Lovemore Majaivana, Solomon Skuza, Brenda Fassie (pictured), Soul brothers, John Chibadura and Paul Matavire continue to overpower those of today and dominate the airwaves and playtime in Zimbabwe and beyond?
It baffles me because even when you listen to their recordings, some that were not even digital and as advanced as today in technology, the quality, clarity and purity is way beyond music of our generation? I thought the development of technology was meant to enhance those very qualities in music!
The sad observation is that even those that try to follow in the footsteps of those past legends either fail to imitate them or in some cases are seriously ignored by the market to the extent that they give up or end up falling into the same trap of producing the “hit bubblegum” songs.
There is a lot of anxiety in our musicians. They are so hungry to succeed, they will sacrifice their own values of what music is just to please the fast dog-eat-dog market.
It does work in the short term and they in their time of sweetness create some fame and for the lucky ones an extra dollar, but no sooner than another hit song is released, they are forgotten. Their music has a vapour effect. When it’s gone it cannot be resuscitated.
In my opinion, a musician should set trends rather than follow trends. A good musician plays and writes songs that will have an effect on people. He sings about their joys, their trials and their tribulations.
He does not try too hard. He observes his society. His songs celebrate their joys and comforts their pains. He makes them proud of their culture and their values. He makes a commentary on their politics and social issues.
He/she is relevant and He does not sing about Hollywood and bling. He does not insult and boast. He tries to belong and identify with the masses and creates tunes they can choose and sing along to depending on any mood they are in at that time.
Lovemore Majaivana is perfect example in our situation. When your soccer team wins, when they lose, when you are broke, when you are happy, marriage, politics, you name it, Majee has a song you can play for the moment.
He sang about the right issues and did so with identity and dignity. One other thing that musicians from yesteryear had was the poetic language.
They said a lot without spraying it. You could tell there was a lot of work that went into putting the lyrics together, setting the rhymes and leaving a lot to the mind of the listener.
Nowadays all songs are just a lot of shouting or at the least talking, if not insulting, bragging followed by a chorus and one heavy banging drum!
We need to understand that there is pop music. Pop is derived from popular music and culture and even back then it did exist. This is music that is trendy and does not last very long.
We cannot all focus on pop music and forget about music that will embrace our traditions, culture and history for generations that will come after us.
We risk extinction. We need to find our voices again and search our souls for better creativity that will preserve our identity.
Back to the source. Keep walking.
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