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Devera Ngwena 42 Traces Original Beat

Entertainment Reporter

THE old English adage which says “Wine gets better with age” proves to be true as far as one of the Southern Africa’s music living legends, Jonah Moyo, is concerned.

Jonah Moyo is the leader of Devera Ngwena Jazz Band and his musical career spans for more than 40 years as a recording artiste. In his career he won more than 40 accolades.

The seasoned artiste whose genre is called Tsava Tsava is the one who introduced danceable fast beat in Zimbabwe with his debut hit, Devera Ngwena Zhimozhi just before the country’s independence.

Jonah Moyo has released Devera Ngwena Volume 42 – Kugomera Unyerere.

The album has eight tracks namely; Level with me, Martin waSharon, Ndapfidza, Boss Kendas, Nhamo yemadzimai, Tsime rangu, Mudya ndigere and Kugomera unyere.

All songs were composed, arranged and produced by Jonah Moyo and engineered by Jonathan Mgazi.

Boss Kendas and Level with me are proving to be people’s favourites and are expected to enter Music Top Charts in Zimbabwe.

Commenting on this project, one South Africa based music analyst said, “This is the best of Devera Ngwena in itself. If people say Jonah Moyo should return to his original beat, they will be untruthful because Vol 42 is the original sound of Devera Ngwena.”

Jonah Moyo is now a music staffer at Great Zimbabwe University. Calls are very high from various organisations among them Devera Ngwena Fan Trust to confer him with a honourary degree in music.

Devera Ngwena was formed at Gaths Mine in Mashava when Jonah Moyo responded to an advert by the mine to have a band in 1977. The band had their first single named “Devera Ngwena Zhimozhi” released in 1979.

Several hits like “Barbra,” “Marondera,” “Solo naMutsai,” “Grema wepamoyo,” “Fundisa Umlomo wakho,” “Wangu P,” “Too Cheap,” “Svika Fair Fair” and others followed.

On record sales, Devera Ngwena hit “Ruva remoyo wangu” is the first song in Zimbabwe to sell over 120 000 copies. In South Africa, all Devera Ngwena albums reached gold (25000 copies) and Vol 7 reched Platinum (100 000 copies).

At it peak, Devera Ngwena toured countries like Belgium, United Kingdom, Holland and Germany. The band is still a force to reckon in Malawi and South Africa. It is in Mzansi that Jonah Moyo is regarded as the best selling artiste from Zimbabwe.

The band members who recorded Devera Ngwena Volume 1 were Jonah Moyo on lead guitar, the late Robson Banda on bass, Innocent Bitu on rhythm, the late Patrick Kabanda on drums and Johnsai Machinya on vocals.

When Robson Banda left Devera Ngwena, he was replaced by a man called Vhizhayi who also left before the late Jabulani Bitu joined them on rhythm on Volume 2. The band later split after recording Vol 8.

Even after the split, Jonah Moyo never looked back but grew from strength to strength.