At a time when all things in Zimbabwe are blurred and politics in sharp focus, Jah Prayzah drops his new album Kutonga Kwaro this evening amidst a goulash of expectations.
The album name, loosely translated means “Leadership” but in a somewhat discourteous manner to the character (himself or someone else) the regional star refers to in this latest offering.
Could this be his way of signalling the current chaos the country finds itself in, politically, as a cabinet re-shuffle has just ruffled feathers in this old cock that has led the country for the past 37 years?
Could Jah Prayzah, like his stage name, be prophetically singing of the times we find ourselves in, from Elohim with a message for us all to pay attention to our current leadership and demise while possibly learning of a way out through his message?
Could Zimbabwe’s 37-year nightmare – the sacked or lamented leadership, the disastrous political fighting and torturous economy – finally be over as revealed in song and dance, as his title assumes? Or could we be clinging onto nothing but clever wording and marketing by the rising regional musical star?
His album that has already broken self-set records by the artiste as the most marketed, comes at a time when every aspect of Zimbabwean life is in the pits and probably, just probably, could resuscitate a lethargic economy that is on the brink of self exploding.
It could be his greatest offering so far, if regional music is concerned, as he ventures to establish himself as an equal to one of the region’s biggest names in showbiz, Davido (Nigeria) who will perform alongside him at the Harare International Conference Centre later today.
Davido, who has recently been questioned on the mysterious murders of his colleagues in which he has been called into questioning by police in Nigeria, will be relieved to avoid the negative publicity he faces in his country at the moment with the trip down to the once ‘bread basket of Africa’.
Jah Prayzah will also yen for some good publicity through the same show as his track “Mdhara Vachauya” in particular, has been “linked” and “likened” to Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s arrival to the helm of the sinking Titanic (Zimbabwe) and restore all that has been lost but who has just lost his post as Minister of Justice through the recent re-shuffling in the hands of the nonagenarian leader.
The Uzumba-bred star will shoot to aim at a far larger market than locally as it seems he has tasted regional success with collaborations with Diamond Platnumz (Tanzania) and Mafikizolo (South Africa) which have been received fairly well but has been left vulnerable back at home with fans who feel JP has moved away from his original sound while the upcoming mimic, Andy Muridzo, has been left to capitalise and feel the void.
His fans will have to accept the crooners change in tune to accomodate a much wider and more lucrative Africa, a conundrum he faces as he tries to satisfy both old and new fans alike.
His seven albums, though loosely characterised, are not an easy walk in the park especially with a Zimbabwean crowd that is not loyal in any way. If there is anything that Jah Prayzah has given the large followers he commands, is the guaranteed joy of music, a feat that was solely manned by Oliver Mtukudzi who at 65 years, never fails to deliver.
If we are to judge a book by its cover, Kutongwa Kwaro, might just be a best seller but then again, we must never. For artists have been known to find one spark within a list of dull moments, the proof is certainly in the pudding.
As the cash strapped Zimbabweans dig deep and hustle hard to attend the show, it is but a matter of time before we deduce which side of the fence we lie. Hopefully it will not suffer the same fate as the simultaneously coming Jacaranda mauve; sprawling from high above, but utterly worthless junk when it touches the ground.