By Godwin Muzari
Alick Macheso’s previous two albums before his recent release — “Dzinosvitsa Kure” – got his fans worried.
Signs of diminishing competitiveness over-weighed the musician’s effort to justify his title as the sungura king.
Although Macheso tried hard to defend his imagined creativity on albums “Kwatakabva Mitunhu” and “Tsoka Dzerwendo”, results on the ground clearly showed him that he had lost something along his acclaimed music-making journey.
Meagre consolation that fans got from deliberate overdose of songs like “Mude Mude”, “Cynthia” “Macharangwanda” and “Kurarama Inyasha” during live shows fell a few inches from utter disappointment. Pathetic vocals distorted all efforts that Macheso made with his guitar wizardry.
He hammered other not-so-palatable songs from his poor albums down the throats of his fans at live shows until he realised that this brave act was gradually, but definitely bringing him down. The gold on his sungura crown was fading away.
Some attributed Macheso’s impending demise to a competition gap that was left by Tongai Moyo’s death while others cited a whirlwind personal life involving court battles with estranged wife Tafadzwa Mapako as taking their toll on the sungura king.
Theories were thrown around, but the fact remained that Macheso was no longer the same musically.
But it is uncharacteristic of kings to go down just like that. They fight to defend their thrones. And Macheso did the right thing at the right time. He took note of signs of disapproval from his fans — some subtle, some loud — and spectacularly crafted his comeback in a package that he has titled “Dzinosvitsa Kure”.
Of course, “Dzinosvita Kure” cannot match “Simbaradzo” or “Zvakanaka Zvakadaro”. Those were lethal weapons that Macheso created with immense artistic rage that might not possess him again.
But “Dzinositsa Kure” will successfully defend the sungura king’s territory. In fact, it has announced the return of the king and it will shake the music scene in a big way. In fact, its waves are already being felt.
Prophets of doom that had already written derogatory epitaphs in anticipation of erecting Macheso’s musical tombstone anytime soon will have to wait longer. The musician has silenced critics.
He does not have to force people to listen to songs from “Dzinosvitsa Kure” at live shows like he had resorted to with his two previous albums. Fans are requesting for the new songs just two weeks after the release of the album.
“Dzinosvitsa Kure” has already congested music selections in various social spaces. It has already gone far beyond the previous two releases. In other words, Macheso is continuing from where he left with “Zvinoda Kutendwa”.
On the new album, he maintains his signature strong bass guitar but he also employs a few tactics that were apparently meant to correct shortfalls noticed in previous releases.
Macheso resorted to his old way of doing all vocals on the tracks. On his previous album, he worked with Wilson Meka, whose high pitch failed to blend well with Macheso’s style. Meka used to sing for Pengaudzoke, which is well-known for high vocals, but the style worked negatively for Macheso on his previous album “Tsoka Dzerwendo”.
However, Macheso’s multiple studio voices are perfect on other songs, especially on tracks “Pfuma Yacho” and “Vane Zvavanoda” that have flawless vocals.
He also does a number of sing-along verses that make parts of his songs easy to grasp. “Chikuru Kurarama” has a chorus ‘chero wandisiya ndirimupenyu’ that many have already mastered.
“Pfuma Yacho” is done in repetitive lines that make the track the easiest to sing on the album. On “Madzitete”, fans can easily catch lines when he sings “anokumbira mumuregerere/tinokumbira mutiregerere/vanokumbira muvaregerere”, which also applies to the song “Vane Zvavanoda” that has a chorus which goes “ngwarira uchanditorerwa/uchenjere unganditorerwa/sare ndakadai, wanditorerwa”.
“Kudzwai” also has recurrent lines when Macheso sings “kudzwai Mwari wangu/kudzwai Ishe”.
Sing-along music is powerful and attracts fans’ attention easily and that is a major strength on “Dzinosvitsa Kure”.
Besides tracks “Pfuma Yacho” and “Vane Zvavanoda” that give considerable stretches to rhythm and sub-rhythm guitars, Macheso uses bass and lead guitars playing in complementary manner, which is his signature style. It seems the style works well when Macheso interchanges bass and lead guitars with Noel Nyazanda and it indeed works magic on “Dzinosvitsa Kure”.
And to put the icing on the cake, Macheso did not leave out his rhumba style of starting songs. Tracks “Ndakakutadzirei” and “Kudzwai” are perfect examples.
On longer tracks, Macheso gives his guitarists chances to individually show their expertise with the strings. It is known as “one-by-one” style at Orchestra Mberikwazvo and he has done so on most of his albums. The style remains popular, especially at live shows.
To apparently give credence to social messages that he churns out on most of the songs, Macheso employs less chanting lines. His two chanters get less time on the microphone, which leaves space for articulation of messages in sung verses.
And talking of messages, Macheso came with a loaded release with the track “Chikuru Kurarama” focusing on the importance of peacefully parting ways if a marriage fails to work. “Pfuma Yacho” is a strong advice against using evil means or rituals such as human sacrifices to acquire wealth. “Ndakakutadzirei” encourages people in various fields to prove their expertise through exceptional works and it also questions why some people hate others that actually assist them in life.
“Kudzwai” praises God for protection and guidance, “Madzitete” is a plea for forgiveness from children that have wronged their parents while “Vane Zvavanoda” is a bold statement for one to stand by their principles and choices in life despite disapproval that might come from others.
All in all, “Dzinosvitsa Kure” compresses various facets that make it a complete package and has announced Macheso’s return in a commendable way.