Unpacking ‘Hokoyo’ Album

By Godwin Muzari
“I have done my part. Music is now in your hands. Enjoy”

This was a tweet from Jah Prayzah last Wednesday after he unveiled his video to the song “Munyaradzi”. It was the last video on a string of visuals the musician rolled out for the past few days to complement his latest album “Hokoyo”.

“Munyaradzi” has touched hearts. It has pricked emotional scars and opened wounds of broken hearts.

It has also cemented bonds in relationships that survived whirlwinds of poverty and conquered material temptations.

It is about lovebirds that are brought together by hard times, but the woman later dumps her partner for an apparently richer man.

The dumped man finds his way to a better life and the woman gets shocked when they meet later in life.

One of Jah Prayzah’s major strengths is visual interpretation of his lyrics.

He emphatically does so when he attaches emotions to the motion pictures. He should have been a filmmaker.

“Hokoyo” has once again proved this prowess and there is eminent danger that other songs that do not have videos on the album might be swallowed by the superb visuals.

So far, Jah Prayzah has done seven videos and more are likely to follow.

Following the release of the videos, it would be improper to review the audios in isolation from the visuals because the productions complement each other.

The videos seem to tell stories that Jah Prayzah had in his mind when he composed the songs. These are stories that audios might not portray independently.

The message on “Munyaradzi” will make a viewer follow the story until the end. He used a style similar to his previous touching videos like “Tsamba” and “Mwoyo Wakaoma”

On “Kwayedza” the singer comes against the topical issue of skin bleaching.

He uses scenes that are rich in traditional ambiance as he encourages people to be proud of their roots. The video is laden with traditional artefacts in the same way he did with “Kumbumura Mhute” and “Dzamutsana” from his past releases.

“Donhodzo” is a party song and the video was shot on one location.

It is likely to be popular with his followers that loved previous songs like “Eriza” and “Chinamira”. The song is about merrymaking and partying.

The dances on “Donhodzo” are already trending and the song will definitely be one of the best for fans that are obsessed with dance floor moves.

Although the song “Chiramwiwa” is accompanied with simple video storyline, the emphasis on the track is on heart-searching lyrics.

It is a song that mostly appeals to Zimbabweans in the diaspora, as it speaks deeply to relationships between children in the diaspora and their parents back home.

Such songs have serious emotional appeal because of distant family relationships.

It is in the same line with Alick Macheso’s “Makandidana” and “Dzika Ngirozi” from Winky D.

Scenes from the video show a couple with heavy baggage on a seemingly endless journey through a lifeless plain.

It seems to suggest that the toiling in the diaspora might not always yield anticipated results and the emphasis is on keeping good family relations regardless of difficulties that people might face on their search for the proverbial greener pastures.

“Mukwasha” portrays challenges that sons-in-law face because of expectations from the other side of their relationships.

It is about a father-in-law and a mother-in-law expressing their anticipations, which seem hard at the beginning until the son-in-law works his way to impress them and gets their approval.

“Asante Sana” is a celebratory song that salutes fans who have supported the musician throughout Jah Prayzah’s career.

The video shows scenes of a live show that Jah Prayzah held in Budiriro as a ‘thank you’ gesture to followers from the area where he launched his career.

Another good song from the album is the title-track “Hokoyo” on which a father gives advice to his son about the challenges of life and the wisdom needed to conquer difficult situations.

The 15-track album has already enhanced the musician’s studio strength.

On “Hokoyo” Jah Prayzah uses various beats to appeal to his diverse fans.

There is something for traditional music followers and there is something for youthful fans that love his sing-along club bangers.

Despite difference in beats, Jah Prayzah maintains good storylines that speak to various situations that his listeners might find themselves in.

He also brings in spiritual intercession with tracks “Eriya” and “Miteuro”.

On “Eriya” he makes an unexpected reference to Prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa and many listeners should be wondering why he made that mention, while on “Miteuro” he collaborates with Zimpraise Choir to enhance his gospel message.

The tracks bring a gospel colour that has been common on most of Jah Prayzah’s previous albums.

As usual, the album carries an international collaboration on the track “Kana Ndada” that features South African singer Zahara.

The album brings out good variety and his story-telling prowess has made his videos exciting.

The videos on this album tell different stories which show the musician’s creativity. It is likely to remind many of his fans about the album “Jerusarema” that had excellent visual interpretations.

The “Jerusarema” DVD remains one of the best productions from the singer because it is a whole journey into a world of creativity that Jah Prayzah enters when he makes his compositions.

Songs on “Hokoyo” have the various moods that show the musician’s versatility.

On “Hokoyo” Jah Prayzah brings all the facets of his musical creativity.

As he says on his twitter handle, Jah Prayzah has done his part and his fans will definitely enjoy this mixed bag labelled “Hokoyo”.

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