By Progress Chaya
UNITED Kingdom-based Zimbabwean traditional musician Jairos Chabvonga says Zimbabwean musicians can only make a mark on the global stage through producing original music.
Chabvonga, who has four albums under his belt, said Zimbabwean musicians should get inspiration from chimurenga music star Thomas Mapfumo and the late music legend Oliver Mtukudzi whose original Zimbabwean music star has won international acclaim on the strength of originality.
“The only way to penetrate the global music market is through showcasing your own culture. It gives you a competitive advantage. And that is the reason I branded my type of music Tsika which means culture in English,” Chabvonga said.
“Mtukudzi was my neighbour in Norton and on several occasions he told me that successful musicians are original. Tuku used to say there is no duplication of talent; if you sing like someone, so where is yourself? People want to see the real artist you are.
“After his death, it finally dawned on me that I have to come out of my cocoon and face reality. Jah Prayzah has managed to conquer because he is original especially when he sings traditional music,” said Chabvonga.
He added that musicians who mimic others can never do better than those they copy.
“I used to sing Chimurenga music, popularised by Thomas ‘‘Mukanya’’ Mapfumo, but I realised there was no way I could be better than him musically. Nothing beats the original.
“I then developed my own beat which is doing very well especially in this part of the world. I feel sorry for young musicians such as Kurai Makore who are trying hard to follow in Mukanya’s footsteps.
“He should not ride on the old-man’s sweat even though they are related. A number of musicians have tried it but to no avail; they remain dwarfed by him hence it is high time musicians should start to think outside the box before it is too late,” Chabvonga said.