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Reggae inspires gospel artists

Bending orthodox rules usually forms the fulcrum of spectacular creative arts. It is defying the general norms and choosing a different way to portray the worldview that has made Kudakwashe Mapfumo, known in music circles as Benimaru, a unique gospel musician who fuses reggae music with jazz to widen his appeal to the audience.

By Gumisai Nyoni

Benimaru
Benimaru

In an interview with The Standard Style, the “rising Bob Marley” said he was motivated by reggae music’s emancipatory inclination to preach the gospel, as well as shape the society, adding the genre shows maturity and depth in music composition.

“I sing reggae, tackling different facets of life ranging from politics to social issues. My gospel is meant to enhance Christian beliefs, though it’s not confined to church-related issues. I also infuse other aspects I borrow from general way of life in the societies I interact with. If you listen to my latest singles collection, Ndirotesei, there is a lot of diversity. It is about breaking the rules that I am finding my music appealing to a wider audience of different ages and tastes,” Benimaru said.

Having joined the music industry in 2015, Benimaru (26), has managed to record several tracks, including Tenzi, Real Gullies, Jehova and Referee, among others, which have received airplay on local radio stations, while last month he was invited by ZTV as a news guest to encourage emerging artistes on ways to develop their careers.

His music has attracted both local and foreign-based artistes, whom he has collaborated with on various songs on his upcoming album — Love Portion — expected to be launched by August this year. These include, but not limited to South Africa-based artist, Tafadzwa “Halla” Maroveso and Alistair Lunga, based in Gweru, while he also worked with Blessing Mhlanga, a Harare-based musician.

Benimaru has been conducting countrywide tours marketing Love Portion, sampling new songs, which he believes will take his career to a higher level. He has already held shows in Harare, Chitungwiza, Mutare as well as Chinhoyi and plans to brace the winter cold in Mutare at the end of this month.

He hopes for an improved economic outlook for artists to realise better proceeds from live shows and CD sales.

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