Award-winning musician Mukudzei “Jah Prayzah” Mukombe has just made it harder to dismiss political innuendos from the title track of his 14-track album Kutonga Kwaro.
By Kennedy Nyavaya
There has been hullabaloo over his mysterious album titles, with the latest’s predecessor, Mdhara Vachauya, now being used as a political seniority tagline in the ruling Zanu PF’s factional conflicts.
In the title track, Kutonga Kwaro, the Uzumba-bred’s lyrics makes reference to the arrival of a gamba (hero), here to change the rules and if that can be exonerated of any political connotations then it is utter braggadocio, something off the ordinary for his usual humility stance.
Coincidentally, politicians across the political divide were this year conspicuous by their absence, perhaps as a result of factional wars, particularly in the ruling party which have spilled into music.
This left boastful “millionaire” Wicknell Chivhayo to take the reins as guest of honour, filling vice-president Emmerson Mnangangwa’s shoes after the senior politician officiated at Jah Prayzah’s album launch in 2015.
As expected, Chivhayo brought a noble price to buy the first CD at $10 000 before extending an additional $2 000 cash for his wife as a token to appreciate her for “taking good care” of the musician.
The original and fake CDs had permeated the street by midday yesterday and while the originals were being sold for $5 at the launch, pirated ones were going for the usual $1.
Meanwhile, promoters of the launch concert are probably beating their heads against the wall for making a panicky move of roping in music heavyweights Oliver Mtukudzi and Winky D at the last minute due to Nigerian superstar Davido’s absence.
In classic doubting Thomas style, 2 Kings Entertainment were quick to reduce the prices for the show to $10 for ordinary entry, forking out thousands of dollars to add the two “fixers” in a bid to make up for the Nigerian’s no-show.
Be it generosity or great belief in Jah Prayzah’s pull effect, the promoters could have had a good night’s sleep afterwards as a massive crowd turned up in solidarity with the fastest rising local music export.
Time management was as usual poor as the show started after 10pm, with curtain raisers Baba Shupi, Nutty O and ExQ taking turns to warm the stage.
Clad in all-white, Tuku was in his usual good mood on set, attracting astounding melodic echoes of sing-alongs whenever he unleashed singles from the archive such as Tozeza Baba.
Andy Muridzo’s 20-minute slot was just short, pure and sweet as he belted his songs and never attempted any cover versions as he usually does.
A surprise performance by Zambia’s Mampi made way to Jah Prayzah’s over an hour-long performance, which started with the Third Generation’s snippet rendition of Davido’s If before the My Lilly collaboration.
Having featured Yemi Alade in Nziyo Yerudo and Diamond Platnumz again, there is no doubt Jah Prayzah’s stock rise is something his countrymen are proud of, but his mother would not ask for another better son.
The singer’s mother’s face was lit up as she watched gleeful eyes glued on her son the entire time he was performing, especially on yesteryear hits where she would occasionally laugh when the towering star would make loud shouts as if possessed.
“Some say I will be possessed, but it is me who would have possessed [the song],” he said before singing the dedication to his mother Seke Mutema.
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