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Songs of Queen Lozikeyi album ready

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BY SHARON SIBINDI

BULAWAYO-BASED musical group, Songs of Queen Lozikeyi yesterday said it was ready to release its six-track album.

Songs of Queen Lozikeyi is a group of Bulawayo artistes that was formed during this year’s Bulawayo Arts Festival (BAF).

Nhimbe Trust, in a statement, said the album was a collaboration of 11 acclaimed artistes from Bulawayo.

“Songs of Queen Lozikeyi portrays a vivid image of the queen’s power, energy and leadership, a six-track album of high-energy foot-tappers and haunting ballads, interspersed with poetry by two young poets in the style of traditional praise poetry for African kings in the Ndebele culture,” said the trust.

The album features the song Halala Lozikeyi by Nomathamsanqa “Nkwali” Mkwananzi, which was commissioned by the Queen Lozikeyi Trust, set up by her descendants to preserve her legacy.

The song salutes the queen with evocative lyrics, a fitting tribute.

“Also written and performed by Nomathamsanqa “Nkwali” Mkwananzi are Mbungazeni and Sizopika, a folk song with poetry by Sithandazile Dube and Thandy Dhlana, poetry by Thandokuhle Sibanda, Asambeni, co-arranged by Nkwali, and Queen Lozikeyi where Thandy is accompanied by both poets.”

The trust said featured poetry works were Amandla and Call Me By My Name done by Sibanda, and Sibongile Ndlovukazi, Indlovukazi and KoBulawayo by Dube, adding that the songs would be streaming online at the end of the month.

Nyoni, who is a member of the award-winning group Ngoma Ingoma and arranger for the Queen Lozikeyi project said he felt honoured to be part of the project.

“We have celebrated so many people’s histories — we know about Snow White, Julius Caesar and Mbuya Nehanda, but I feel like we did not know a lot about who Lobengula’s wife was, and what better way to bring her out than through music,” he said.

“I think the idea of sharing this knowledge through music is great, so that besides people seeing it, it can be archived for future generations. Not only for Bulawayo, but for Zimbabwe overall, as she was also instrumental in the Ndebele resistance.”

Nyoni said the music was rooted in traditional Ndebele folk style with strong vocals and drums, but also modernised with Western instrumental effects.

“Where Nkwali’s music keeps close to the traditional styles, Thandy breaks into Afro jazz. The track Mbungazeni is infused with the Maskandi style which is celebrated in the southern African region,” he said.

“The song Sizopika fuses the past and the present, with different Ndebele and other traditional music styles, and the music also employs elements of east and west African flavours.”

Nyoni said the story would not be completed by the release of the album as there was still need to make it bigger by adding more music as there are many stories to tell of women’s empowerment, encouragement, exhortation and celebration.

Lead singers and songwriters on the album are Dhlana and Nkwali, along with poets Dube and Sibanda, musicians Prince Joel Nyoni (keyboard), Obey Mudiwa (drums), Paul Maseko (bass), Mthabisi Moyo (guitar), Gomez Dube (percussion), Vuyile Qongo (saxophone), and Laura Ngwenya on backing vocals. The recording is being handled by  engineer Erastus Nleya of Loud Records and Prince Joel Nyoni.

Follow Sharon on Twitter @SibindiSharon

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