Lockdown blessing in disguise for artists

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DESPITE problems associated with coronavirus (Covid-19) and the lockdown measures, the period has afforded artists space to plan on new projects.

Chitungwiza-based musician Shepherd Mapondo who also doubles up as manager for sungura outfit Zim Select, a group domiciled in the populous dormitory town, believes the lockdown has been a blessing in disguise.

Put in place on March 30 and adjusted accordingly over the months, the lockdown measures have banned gatherings which were the major source of revenue for musicians who largely rely on live shows. Several artistes’ livelihoods have received a major knock as a result.

“The obtaining lockdown measures have dealt a financial blow to most musicians although the time should be used gainfully towards the improvement of their music. When such things happen, they help people turn problems into opportunities.

“Right now, artistes have realised they can take advantage of available technology to record and sell their music online, channels that had never been adequately exploited before,” Mapondo, who is a foreman at a local fuel firm, said.

Mapondo added: “However, we pray that the doctors and other medical personnel will come up with a solution to the problem quickly as it has caused untold suffering to mankind, including artistes. The source of income for most musicians is shows in the entertainment industry.”

The singer is working on a new six-track album titled Nhaka made up of Mufudzi Akanaka, Rudo Ibofu, Sabhuku, Out of Sight and Ziva Kwawakabva among others with a bonus track Sabhuku (instrumental). Out of Sight, says the musician, was the initial project on the album.

Recorded at Hojobwe Studios in Chitungwiza, the album generally looks at societal issues like inheritance and family ties.

Mapondo, who worked with Zim Select on this project says he will release the album online soon.
Nhaka is Mapondo’s second project following Dangwe released in 2019.

Innocent Mpala, who fronts Zim Select and provides backing vocals on the album, is the main man behind the project, according to Mapondo. “Without Mpala’s ultimate desire to see things work, this project would not have come out with ease.

“Hojobwe Studios, which is here in Chitungwiza, has also been strategic since we do not have to travel. Most artistes would require exemption letters, which do not come easy, in order to travel to other studios in town. Also, in terms of costs, Hojobwe has helped a great deal,” said Mapondo.

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