HARARE – Zora music star Leonard ‘Karikoga’ Zhakata has decided to follow the biblical advice in Psalms 150:4 which says: “Praise Him with the tambourine and dance; praise Him with stringed instruments and organs…”
And Zhakata admits it is glorifying to be part of the Christian family and that his next album will comprise of gospel songs.
“Yes, I have decided that as a devoted Christian my mission is to spread the word of God through music.
God gave us different talents and mine is to sing, and what more if I sing and praise the Lord,” said Zhakata who is a member of the United Family International Church (UFIC).
There has been speculation surrounding the Zora star’s music career path since the day UFIC prophet Emmanuel Makandiwa proclaimed at a congregation that God had big plans for the music star.
The anointing, coming from the popular Makandiwa immediately received mixed feelings among the multitude of Zhakata’s fans who suspected that their idol was to shift focus from secular to gospel music.
Even in his band there has been uneasiness since Makandiwa’s announcement, a result that has seen three key players leaving the band citing the musician’s concentration in his unexpected call and the intended complete shift in his music direction.
Zhakata says he will record two albums this year, one gospel and one secular.
“Every transformation is painful and it is not easy for fans and even band members to accept that I have a duty to serve God. I haven’t stopped music — it is my life — but I have slightly changed focus. I will work with those who will share my vision, a vision and script that I have hope and trust in,” said Zhakata.
Three more new members have already joined the band to replace those who felt the “spiritual heat wave”, two being former members.
“There has always been focus on the ambition to spread words of nation-building and through more than 14 albums I have just done that. My music has never been vulgar or has it been insulting. It has always been about oneness and the desire to do well. Changing from secular to gospel genre will not at all dilute my composing capacity — actually it will even be more fire; fire to burn evil with words,” said Zhakata.
Just last week the Zora star was an unusual guest as he was billed among several high profile gospel musicians who performed during a UFIC fundraising musical in Bindura.
The gig featured Zimbabwean gospel’s first family; Pastor Charles and Olivia Charamba, Mahendere Brothers, Joyce Simeti and Shower Power among others.
“The showcase in Bindura was an eye opener and I am glad that already the Christian family is welcoming me. I performed with gospel artistes and played a number of my songs that have Christ-like themes.
But that is not enough, I have to fully embrace my new artistic vision and place that call before God. It is about faith in what you doing, and who am I to deny God’s call?” queried Zhakata.
Already nicknamed “Bishop” in the music circles, the diminutive star said Zora music fans will even be delighted with his new album.
“The new gospel album is definitely on the pipeline and coming out this year. Zora music fans have always listened to the Charambas, to Blessing Shumba, Fungisayi ZVakavapano and Machanic Manyeruke. Zora fans listen to gospel music and it is a plus that with the new songs, I help bring about positive up-growing in families. I bring messages of hope and education.”
Pastor Charamba was all praise for Zhakata’s musical contribution even before this announcement.
“Zhakata’s music has always been positive and I see him even contributing more as he steps to completely singing gospel. I welcome him and has known and worked with him in the past — our Christian family is growing,” said Charamba.