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Furore over local music’s big five

We referred to these musicians as the country’s “Big Five”, but this did not go down well with some music followers that felt some artistes in this list do not qualify to be among the best five. Readers gave various reasons for their assertions and suggested names that they think would make the apex of our music sector.

Names like Pastor Charles and Mai Charamba, Nicholas Zakaria, Thomas Mapfumo, Chiwoniso Maraire, Leonard Zhakata, Cool Crooners and Kapfupi were mentioned in the ensuing debate.

While I will not get into detail about these suggestions and whether they qualify to be in the cream of music, I would like to just remind readers that in our article we gave credit to the Charambas and noted that they qualified to be in the top list. No doubt about that.

As for Mapfumo, most people agree that he is indeed among the best, but our classification was for musicians based here. It was also based on current trends in showbiz.

Anyone who has been following showbiz would admit that besides the Charambas, the musicians that will perform at the September 30 gig dubbed Zim’s Finest are indeed the top musicians of the moment.

In the debate, it was generally agreed that Macheso and Mtukudzi should be in the list, but there were mixed feelings over the other three. I will take a look at the three, their achievements and why they deserve to be among the best.

Moyo, or Dhewa as he is popularly known, is one musician whom you cannot easily brush aside. Of course, people have different music tastes, but very few in sungura circles would ignore the Kwekwe-based musician.

His choreography is second to none across genres. Inspired by rhumba dances, his youthful dancers are marvellous and he can be on stage for up to four hours going through energetic paces. Dhewa has a unique way of communicating with his fans and the way he introduces his performances is exceptional.

He has numerous hits that include Chechete, Ndazvimba Mapapu, Samanyemba, Nemumvura Mese (Naye) and Chubvu. Although he is currently facing serious health challenges, the musician is soldiering on. He deserves a position in top five.

Chimbetu — known as Sulu —has shown the nation that it is possible for children of late musicians to take up their parents’ art and succeed. Our music industry is well-known for cases of sons of departed musicians that have dismally failed to pursue their father’s dreams, but Sulu has a different tale.

In addition to taking his father’s music to another step, Sulu has made a mark with his own projects that include latest album, Non-Stop that features a duet with Mtukudzi. He has joined the list of crowd-pullers and is definitely among the best.

Then there is the energetic Winky D.  Like him or hate him, this dancehall star has stormed our music industry with zeal and managed to steal the hearts of many.

Recently he toured Australia, UK and Canada and left a trail of successful shows. Winky D has indeed become one of the most popular musicians over the past two years.




Initially many dismissed Winky D as someone doing bubblegum music that only excited the youths, but even the adults have now realised that he is not just another musician.

He has fallen into the urban grooves bracket, but his creativity and consistence proved too big for such a confinement. His “Maninja” brand has brought a new dimension to local music.

That he scooped two awards at National Arts Merit Awards this year in categories that also had heavyweights like Sulu and Macheso tell a lot about Winky D’s prowess.



However, the debate on the top musicians of the moment can be lengthy and exciting. Who are your best five musicians in the country?
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