A WEEK or so ago I was contacted by one Thabiso Phiri, the current publicity man at Amakhosi Township Square.
He wanted me to break the story about the organisation’s latest project. I was not well disposed to do the job at the time and though I tried to refer him to my colleagues, he insisted. I am able to do so now. The following are excerpts of the interview (AK) I conducted with the brother (TP) regarding the project:
AK: You mentioned Amakhosi founding a record label. May you elaborate?
TP: It’s called Giya Music. It’s a combined effort between veteran musician Thembi Ngwabi and producer Vincent Gurure. Currently we have 12 artistes who have finished recording their singles and are rehearsing for the launch in mid-February
AK: That sounds huge. But where has Vincent Gurure been?
TP: He has recorded the likes of Sandra Ndebele, Jeys Marabini, Freddy Gwala, Beater Mangethe, Platform 1. He has worked with as sound engineer, producer and keyboardist in the United Kingdom.
AK: What are the genrés you are covering and what is the label’s thrust in terms of vision and mission?
TP: Genrés are mostly Afro-pop, masgandi, mbira and reggae. This is because of the fact that Matabeleland has become synonymous with traditional music, kwaito and the likes. As a result it hinders growth of the industry in this region.
Our vision is to grow the music industry in Matabeleland and expose this young untapped talent into the industry, to become the premium stable in as far as music production is concerned and produce quality world-class music and professional efficient musicians
AK: Can you elaborate on how the artists signed to you came to work with you?
TP: Some of them were students at Amakhosi Performing Arts Academy. Some just came to look for a studio and after the realisation of this gap in the industry especially of these neglected genres in this region. There was need to set up this music stable. They are signed with this label.
AK: What does the deal (for the artistes) involve?
TP: It’s confidential information between the talent and the stable management.
AK: OK let’s talk about Vincent Gurure (the label’s producer).Were you saying he has been quiet all along in the UK?
TP: After being in the UK for several years he worked in Harare with a stable called Choice Delight where he recorded the likes of Gospel Power.
AK: Is he not washed up, as in at the end of his “product life cycle”?
TP: Not at all. Talent can never be washed up. Sometime this week I can come over and have you listen to the tracks that he has produced and judge for yourself. He is at the peak of his career and he is very experienced.
AK: Talent can be washed up though. Babyface does not rule the charts anymore does he?
Playmakers this week
Qiniso: The movie premier
Against all odds, arts practitioners in Bulawayo are on the hustle producing films, videos and music. You have to salute them. If they do not, what are their options? I will give you my two cents worth on this subject a little bit later.
Upfront, I have to mention the upcoming movie premiere Qiniso set for February 7 at Rainbow Cinema 3 and I expect followers of this column to attend in droves.
The reason is simple: Support local content. We have film and media school graduates doing much with so little. The nation needs to support their initiatives for both patriotic and entertainment reasons.
The film’s premise is murder mystery. Possibly, it’s in the classic Agatha Christie whodunit mould. You will have to attend the premiere which threatens to be huge.
Ernest Mackina, the film’s cinematographer sent me info about it and I know that the Nust graduate is a serious young man whose is quite adept at the camera lense.
The film’s first time director is one Lenni Sibanda who also wrote the movie. It features some of Bulawayo’s most gifted young artists such as poet, singer-songwriter Lady Tshawe (born Nomatshawe Damasane), beauty queen Bokani Nleya, Anelisi Maliki, prolific author Philani A Nyoni, Thorne, Arthur Makoane, Gilmore T Moyo, Leroy M Ndlovu and Henne Nkalanga.
I can tell you that these young people are serious about their art and quite articulate. They represent in my view, some of the brightest lights we have in Africa’s showbiz arena. Expect their work to be at the level at which you can be proud. See you at the movies.
Hip-hop Cal-Vin shoots video
Cal-Vin (born Calvin Nhliziyo) is a rapper of serious note. He broke through last year with hit song Bebengakholwa and garnered the attention of the likes of Stunner who tagged him for a duet. The boy is very talented.
Recently he has been active on social media about his upcoming video shoot elokitshini in Luveve. The video is for the song Zikhiphani.
The folks at the National Arts Council sent me an invite to a strictly by invite stakeholders’ cocktail in Harare. I got it belatedly. They still have not done right about the Jah Prayzah issue. Talk about thick skin!
One hopes that all these creative efforts will end up in the right places. Hope is not enough though.
What is needed is strategy in terms of distribution of all the content being churned out by our creative people.
ZTV is not enough. This word of advice applies to all that are featured in Culture Beat.
Next week I will tell you what I think of the listening session to which I have been invited by Amakhosi. I will be brutally frank about the songs.