Stagnant sound in Zimbabwe, who is to blame?

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Joe Machingura

Cape Town We have seen and experienced several sounds evolving in South Africa over the past 10 years. Over the years we have had sound revolving from D-gong to Kwaito, it moved to house music and in the past two years we have seen a new sound taking over in the form of Amapiano which came after Qqom.

We cast our nets wider and take a closer look in other countries like Tanzania where artists like diamond platinum have taken the continent by storm, Africa in general has accepted him and they revere his talent. Music in Tanzania  has evolved with now a fusion of R n B, Afrobeat and Reggae tone being sung in Kiswahili and English to capture a bigger audience. This evolution has been so vast in Tanzania and Africa at large that it has superseded the string based taarab old traditional music and Bongo Fleva which was heavily influenced by American Hip-hop and reggae.

Music has evolved and social media is the biggest influence in sound acceptance and change. Bloggers and radio Djs have a bigger role to play in all this hence if we look back to the countries like Zimbabwe; do they have such influencers to distillate on a certain original African genres and actually bring change in the music industry.

In the past 15 years Zimbabwean streets, radio and clubs have been dancing and listening to the same vibrant  Jamaican borrowed fused with Zimbabwean drums to create a genre called zimdancehall mainly sung in local language predominantly shona language. The only difference now being new names who have imaged in the music scene the likes of Jah Master,Enzo Ishal,Bazooka to make just a few and obviously the old generation of artists who have been there before are still making and creating the same sound they always had in previous years.

2020 enters a new sound called the helmets which is also borrowed from Jamaica but its hard core Jamaican dancehall beats are finding it difficult to penetrate the Zimbabwean music scene.

The question is why the Zimbabwean market is not accepting the new sound, who has the responsibility to usher this new sound to the consumers. Is it supposed to be the work of radio Djs to spin the new sound? Is the print media giving a deaf ear or can we blame the internet bloggers for not paying attention to the new sound?

Why is it so easy to accept a new sound in South Africa but it’s the direct opposite for the neighboring country? Can we blame the artists for failing to deliver the message which is easy to the ear? We wait to see who will take this challenge and bring a new era of Helmet sound to the people of Zimbabwe and possibly to the region.

In 2000, a new sound was born called the urban grooves which came to be so popular because of the new Zimbabwean government regulation that local radio stations should play 100% local content.  The environment later gave birth to Zim Dancehall which became popular around the years 2010 up to date. The other local sound other than Urban Grooves is the local museve which still has not changed much. All this revolving benefited from the 100% regulation and now what is stopping the revolving of sound which seemed to be stuck and stagnant for the last decade?

Music is never meant to be stagnant, creatives continue bringing up new ideas and new sound, and there is no limit for creativity.

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