PaZimbabwe News

Small fish turn the tables on recording sharks

Alick Macheso

Arts Reporter
MUSHROOMING record companies have brought a different colour to the ever changing music terrain, sending some of the yesteryear music giants on their knees.

Companies like Gramma Records, Metro Studios, Zimbabwe Music Corporation and Ngaavongwe Records used to rule the recording industry, but tables seem to have turned.

Technology has brought a new era when big buildings and gigantic studios are no longer a sign of recording prowess.

Nowadays, a small space — even a room in someone’s house — can be used to create a chart-topping hit.

Backyard studios manned by youthful producers are increasingly becoming kitchens for delicious music cuisines.


In Mbare, Mabvuku, Highfield, Citungwiza and Mufakose among other talent-filled ghettos, new hits are being cooked every day.

Before technology opened opportunities for easier and quicker ways of making music, musicians had different tales of how they struggled to clinch recording deals.

Alick Macheso and Zakaria Zakaria have sad tales of how they walked from Chitungwiza to Msasa to record their first album when their mentor Nicholas Zakaria left them in utter desperation after he unexpectedly quit music to be a truck driver.

Producer Mono Mukundu narrates how he and other members of  Chikokoko Band also travelled on foot from Kuwadzana to the same Gramma Records several times to get a recording slot.

Mono Mukundu

Charles Charamba had many journeys to record companies before he was certified a saleable singer.

These memories and many others show how it was difficult for aspiring musicians  to get recognition.

While the advent of a new wave of home studios has been criticised for poor music quality, it has opened a floodgate of talent that could have gone unnoticed if bottlenecks that existed in the yesteryear recording industry had remained intact.

It is deplorable that music companies can no longer boast of gold and platinum sales because of piracy, but music production continues to take new dimensions.


If the recording sharks that used to make the Msasa industrial sea a dream voyage for every upcoming musician do not change their game plan, they will be swallowed by the small fish that have joined the tributaries of music production.

It is a trend worldwide that emerging recording players are threatening record giants, but dynamic corporations have embraced change.

Locally, musicians such as Alick Macheso, Jah Prayzah, Michael Mahendere and Sulumani Chimbetu have established their own studios, although they still seek music production assistance from external sources.

It is high time big music stables adapt and save themselves from becoming sinking Titanics.