Kundai Marunya Arts Correspondent
As female artistes continue to struggle to earn recognition and respect in an industry that is male dominated, all-female afro-pop band Vedu testifies of a rampant culture of sexual harassment in the industry.
Founded by Music Crossroads Academy students last year, the four member band has risen to be formidable stage performers, sharing their art on different stages.
Their elevation and notable talent has made them a target of different promoters, who believe they have to give something extra if they are to make it in the industry.
“There are people who come to us saying they want to promote us, help us, but at the end of the day they want a (sexual) relationship in exchange of that.
“It’s unfair, man out there are trying to take advantage of us and they say if you do not give them what they want you won’t go far,” said Vedu base guitarist Rizwana Gwini.
Despite being asked for sexual favours, the group has suffered a negative perception of people who are used to female artists being mere dancers and banking vocalists.
“When people hear about us they think we are some sort of a dance group. This is a notion we are trying to break free from because. Sadly most of the ladies in music are dancers or backing vocalist. We can be more than that and encourage others to see that they can also be more than that,” said Gwini.
Vedu is a four member group that was founded in February last year. It has risen to be one of the most sought after entertainers staging at least three shows a week.
“Before the formation of Vedu we were all playing in different groups. One of the teachers at Music Crossroads put us together.
“Since our union we have played at big festivals like Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA), Musica and the Harare International Carnival,” said Gwini.
A fortnight ago, the group came second in a music competition, the Chibuku Road To Fame Harare Provincial finals.
Vedu band members are Trish Sharara, the lead vocalist, Anesu Sabeta who plays keyboards, Gwini on bass guitar and Letwin Masiiwa on drums.
“When we started the band we had no name so other students called us vasikana vedu (our girls) so we decided to call the band Vedu,” said Gwini.
Thus far, the group has recorded only one song yet to be released. They however have many songs ready to be recorded when finances allow. Their vision is to inspire other female artists.
“We want to be the most successful all female band and inspire other female artists while showing the world that women can do better.
“We want to tour making Vedu not just a band but a brand, creating music that heals the world,” said Gwini.
Vedu will be joining other female artists at Padziva along Kirkman Road in Harare for Jive Zimbabwe’s One Big Party to celebrate women in arts.