May 12, 2021

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Don’t Distort Zim Genres: Musicians

By Steve Ephraem

musicians in Zimbabwe are calling for proper identification of local fast beat genres which are collectively referred to as Museve, Post On Sunday can reveal.

This call came after what the musicians regard as a misconception about sungura being taken as the only local fast beat genre in Zimbabwe.

They are claiming that sungura is part of the several genres which in Zimbabwe.

Wikipedia defines sungura as “reportedly originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo. One Zimbabwe musician, Mura Nyakura who travelled to Zaire in 1948 fell in love with the kanindo-rhumba beat there which he then introduced to Zimbabwe.

“The genre later became known as sungura music, with the likes of Ephraim Joe and his band the Sungura Boys popularising it… Sungura is Swahili for ‘hare’ and it is said it was given this name due to the speed of the hare.”

Artistes argue that even if sungura is described as one of the fast beats in Zimbabwe, it is not the only genre that suits Museve category but there are several other genres popularised by musicians such as Dendera, Marhula, Tsava Tsava, Smoko and ZORA.

Speaking to this reporter from Karoi where he is transporting tobacco, Chitungwiza based Isaac Tazvida who fronts Chazezesa Challengers dismissed as untrue that sungura is the only fast beat to be recognised.

“We don’t argue that sungura exists but it is very unfair to take every fast Museve beat as sungura. My brother, the late Fanuel System Tazvida introduced the Smoko genre which we play to this day. We don’t play sungura.

“If Ephraim Joe is identified with sungura, why is it difficult for System to be identified with Smoko? People should not confuse every local fast genre as sungura,” said Tazvida.

Chiredzi based ex-soldier, Josefa Chauke who fronted army outfit The Four Lions Band in Masvingo before 2005 and is now the leader of Marhula Crew in Hippo Valley is equally worried on the misconception.

“Zimbabwe has various fast beat genres which include our own marhula, Jonah Moyo’s Tsava Tsava, Leonard Zhakata’s ZORA, and Dendera by the Chimbetus.

These genres are distinct and contemporaries of sungura if we are to be honest with each other,” said Chauke.

Another artiste who preferred to remain anonymous scoffed at how music history is being distorted.

“Ephraim Joe and Sungura Boys as he is said to be the godfather of sungura came after independence. But check Jonah Moyo and his Devera Ngwena Jazz Band had already recorded his Tsava Tsava music in 1979 when he released Devera Ngwena Zhimozhi.

“Also, Hosiah Chipanga recorded a song called Anatoria in 1979 but he never said his music is sungura. This misconception is very dangerous since we are narrowing the identity of our local music and distort legends of various genres.

“To further clarify my point using other genres, the late Dr Tuku played Katekwe genre and Dr Thomas Mapfumo played Chimurenga. Can we honestly say that everyone who plays mbira based music is playing Chimurenga?” he asked.