By Memory Chirere
You cannot believe the excitement that I went through recently on coming across my article done way back on Tuesday, March 7, 2006! It was an article that I did for the Moses Magadza edited Southern Times. It is on Zimbabwean sungura musician, Nicholas Zakaria. It was titled “Nicholas Zakaria release Chewa Hits.”
I post it here for the benefit of those who have been following Zakaria since then. I know that he has released various albums ever since. I am just overexcited. Never mind the changing times. Here it is below:
Zimbabwe now has many highflying musicians who are well known throughout Southern Africa. Nicholas Zakaria is arguably the humblest and the quietest of them all. Always clad in modest attire, he talks less about others and his achievements.
Six months ago, at Simon Chimbetu’s burial, in the absence of Thomas Mapfumo and Oliver Mtukudzi, he became the obvious spokesman for the Zimbabwean musicians present. A very tough looking introvert, Zakaria doesn’t begrudge his successful former students, the late System Tazvida and Alick Macheso. “Mbiri yavo imbiri yanguwo. I take pride in their fame,” he said in a recent interview. Even when Macheso complained about copycats Zakaria did not say “But you copied me yourself.” He only said if people copy you it means you are good. That was quite an ironic sting.
If you listen carefully you will realise that although Zakaria plays the same style as Macheso, his music is decidedly calmer, mature and more meditative. While Macheso’s Sungura is more innovative and appeals more to the nerves, Zakaria’s is soulful and finds you only with the benefit of a series of replays. His more popular albums include “Mabvi Nemagokora” and “Ndine Mubvunzo”.
On stage Zakaria’s dance is not a dance at all. These are ordinary up and down rhythms of one who knows the source and centre of sound. He plays his lead guitar as if he has never listened to it himself and would rather go away and dig in the garden instead. But beneath it all you see a very private pride and that mischievous Chewa man’s satisfaction that says I play not because I have no other things to do but because I like it.