BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
RISING sungura musician Mark Ngwazi is poised to take over the sungura throne if the new heights scaled by his latest offering is anything to go by.
The Njanja Express frontman is riding high with his fifth album titled Chamugwedumugwedu Chamatindike released late last year.
A number of songs on Ngwazi’s album were among those that kept merrymakers on their toes during the just-ended festive season.
To cap what looked like a fine year, Ngwazi’s track titled Taurai Madzoka, off the latest album, ruled the roost in the end of year Coca-Cola-sponsored Top 50 chats on Radio Zimbabwe.
He shrugged off stiff challenge from sungura maestro Alick Macheso whose Zuro Ndizuro came a distant fifth, Jah Master’s Hello Mwari on fourth position, Jah Prayzah’s Donhodzo on number three and Mambo Dhuterere’s Zvinogumbura which was on second position.
The Top 50 chats are regarded as the yardstick to measure one’s popularity, considering that Radio Zimbabwe is the most listened to station in the country, according to a recent Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey.
“I did not know I was that popular until the day my song was voted the best on the Top 50 chats on Radio Zimbabwe,” Ngwazi told NewsDay Life & Style on Monday.
“I would like to thank everyone who voted for my song and this will motivate me to do more.”
Chamugwedumugwedu Chamatindike was launched at The East Point (formerly Jazz 105) in the capital on November 25 and it is Ngwazi’s fifth production.
His previous albums include Gudo Muriwo, Charger Yekatsono, Mudzimu Wabudira Pambeveve and Zvandigumbura.
Buoyed by some vocal prowess laced with side-splitting lyrics, Ngwazi believes he still has something to offer and change the face of sungura music.
“First of all, I am not in any competition with other musicians, but I am here to change the face of sungura music,” he said.
“I will work on collaborations with local and international artistes fusing vernacular and exotic languages in my music.”
With a career spanning close to two decades, Ngwazi bemoans the advent of COVID-19, which he believes has impacted negatively on his career. “Just like any other career we are not able to generate income as we rely mostly on live shows. COVID-19 has dealt us a big blow,” he said.
“In order to be visible in this situation one needs to invest in visuals and it is something that we were working on. We have already done a video of the song Taurai Madzoka and it is trending on YouTube.
“Funds permitting, we would want to do more videos of songs on the latest album and other previous projects.”
He said he has received some offers from some promoters and individuals pledging to support the Njanja-born musician.
His star-studded Njanja Express is led by ex-Orchestra Mberikwazvo guitarist Donald Gogo on lead guitar, Last Kazonda (bass), Wirts Katogo (rhythm) and Barnabas Mandipota (drums).
Ngwazi said he taught himself to play the guitar through home-made guitars.
Arts promoter Johannes Marisa said he was charmed by Ngwazi and has pledged to bankroll one of the musician’s videos.
“He is a lyrical master and a great social commentator. I am going to assist him produce a video of one of the songs on the album,” Marisa, who in the past has assisted a number of artistes, including Tendai Dembo, First Farai and Boyz DzeSimoko, said.
While many have attempted to wrest the sungura throne away from the likes of Macheso and Nicholas Zakaria, among others and failed, it seems Ngwazi is destined to take over the reign given the popularity of his latest album.
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