Suluman Chimbetu’s latest, Syllabus, is already on the market and doing well, both in sales and on radio. So will the man they call Extrabasso, Razor Wire, Chikopokopo Wait no more — the doyen of sungura music, Alick Macheso, has done it again! But wait a second, or Cheso Power, manage to stop the rising tide of Mwana weDangwe or simply Sulu as the young Chimbetu is better known?
Sulu has become Macheso’s biggest rival in the music mass market. Macheso’s album, titled Kwatabva Mitunhu (Kure Kwekure), his ninth, comes two years after his last release, Zvinoda Kutendwa, which was released on November 15, 201. The rest of his discography includes Magariro, Vakiridzo, Simbaradzo, Zvakanaka Zvakadaro, Zvido Zvenyu Kunyanya, Vapupuri Pupurai and Ndezvashe-h.
The latest effort has six songs, which include the already anthemic Samasimba, Zvipo, Chirimuruwoko, Kutsvaga Chiremba, Macharangwanda and as usual a love song, Cynthia. “Isu hatitarise kuti pashelf pane chii, tinongotora kahupfu kedu togadzika. Anokatenga kana kuti akambokadya anokadzokororora chete, akakatenga, anodzoka kuzokatenga kepiri. (We don’t look at what is available on the market, we just make available our product. Those that have tasted it before cannot resist it),” commented Macheso about his release, which comes after a number of respected artistes have put their products on the market.
But while preparing the latest dish, Macheso was not idle — the man who is touted as the king of sungura helped young Tryson Chimbetu on his latest album. He featured on Sadza NemaVegetables and Kumapako.
He also lent his unique voice and guitar prowess to big-spending Energy Mutodi on the song, Angelina. But, of course, the biggest surprise was when he wrote a song for multi award-winning urban groover Mudiwa Mutandwa.
Last Power Media financier, Laston Murerwa, who is a co-director of the record company that is partly owned by Macheso, described the new offering due this Wednesday as a masterpiece — while re-affirming that the company was prepared for any eventualities.
“We are ready to make available a copy of the album to every Zimbabwean and we have the equipment that can do that in no time,” boasted Murerwa.
“Our discs are different and have security features, so every Macheso-loving fan can get an original CD of Kwatabva Mitunhu anywhere and at affordable prices,” he added.
Murerwa, who is based in South Africa and is in Zimbabwe to ensure the album is unleashed onto the market without any glitches, said piracy is not driven by the cost of the CDs, but mostly by the lack of adequate products on the market.
“People love original, quality things, but as record companies sometimes we let the people down by not adequately supplying the market. Macheso’s CDs will not just be original, they are high quality and encrypted — his fans will love them,” said Murerwa.
Tich Makahamadze, the Artiste and Repertoire (A&R) Manager for Last Power, said unlike most record companies that are producing CDs only, Macheso’s latest offering will be made available even on cassette. “Alick (Macheso) is a man of the people. He is loved by farm workers as well as top managers and company owners. It would not only be imprudent for us not to have cassettes, but unfair to the millions of people who want to listen to their icon at their own time using their cassette players,” said Makahamadze.
Makahamadze also added that most ex-Japanese vehicles use cassette players. “Our other target market, a group which we know to love their stereos, is the drivers of ex-Japanese vehicles. Most of those cars do not have CD players and we have a feeling that cassettes will do the trick,” said Makahamadze.
However, over the years, Macheso’s music has been produced by veteran music man Bothwell Nyamhondera — but not this time. Nyamhondera, a former Gramma and Last Power employee is now based overseas. Said Macheso: “JB (Jabulani Ndlovu) is a very good producer who worked with Nyamhondera for years. In the absence of Nyamhondera I decided to entrust JB with handling the beat together with Aaron Tom.”
The master of song, Macheso, said after close to 10 albums and decades of experience in music, he has also become a producer.
“I know my sound, in fact, I tell the producers how I want things to go and this is no different because I was working with people who know their job and had no qualms whatsoever with the arrangements,” he explained. The Chitungwiza son, now based in Waterfalls, said he was now working on a DVD album, which will combine songs both from his previous release, Zvinoda Kutendwa and his latest effort, Kwatabva Mitunhu.
“It has been long since we last gave the people some videos. We will take certain songs from the last album and this latest offering to create something unique for our fans,” said Macheso.
Since Simbaradzo, which reportedly sold hundreds of thousands, breaking Zimbabwean record sales, Macheso’s releases thereafter have continued to hit the platinum mark. It, therefore, remains to be seen whether the Shamva-born and bred crooner’s latest offering will break new ground.