Music is such a beautiful part of our lives. Whether we’re praying, celebrating, praising, worshiping, missing someone, hurt, angry or just relaxing there is a song for every mood. The world’s song writers and composers never seem to run out of great melodies that linger and sometimes force us to listen some more. Our hearts, souls and ears are always looking for that next song to hook us. You know, that song you’ll be forced to put on repeat and sometimes even Google the words to allow accurate singing along.
A few weeks ago a childhood acquaintance of mine reached out and sent me some songs and he also told me about the group Gwevedzi who had just released a new album. I thought I may have met this group before but I wasn’t sure, I meet a lot artists – I can’t keep up. However let me say though that after listening to their new album Nhungo, I will not be forgetting them in a hurry.
Gwevedzi means a love messenger, that guy who is sent to tell a girl that she is loved by someone. Not sure if any still exist today, I doubt it! This world is so full of dishonesty these days, no one is going to trust someone to pass on a love message. It’s a romantic notion isn’t it though? I like to think Gwevedzi would be a kind of Cupid.
Anyway, Gwevedzi is a ‘Afro- acoustic’ band that was formed on the 23rd of June 2016 in Harare by Tinashe William Masangudza, Nyasha Hugin Murada, and Wilfred Nikisi. I always love tales of how music groups and bands are formed, to me it’s a true testimony that there is a great author out there.
Nhungo is a ten track album whose release has been delayed by a few hiccups but its release soon is inevitable. I love the art work, I get tired of seeing artists likeness on album covers (It’s a yawn fest at times).
The first track is the title track – Nhungo. You can tell in the first minutes that these men are poets indeed, the simplicity in the lyrics and music composition makes each song special in its own way. The mbira playing is subtle and just enough and not too much to swallow everything else. That’s exactly how I like my mbira – in light doses.
Nhungo, kinda sets the pace and the sound for the entire album, it’s not even about understanding what they are saying. It’s about falling into the rhythm and clever harmonies. The sound gives you an accapella feel that is very entrancing, accompanied by clapping and of course the mbira.
Svingo reminds me of a traditional melody. A strong bass line in this track gives it a stronger more firm sound also reflecting the determination in the lyrics. An occasional strum from an acoustic guitar and a short sweet solo penny whistle tends to transfer the listener far away…even from the scene set by the song. It’s different and beautiful.
Track number three Ndinouya is my favourite on the album. I’m not sure whether it’s the guitar’s winding chords that grab at me or the romantic lyrics. This song got me feeling all warm all over. That chorus! The harmonies, the simplicity and the rhyming – it’s all magical. I listened to this song and my soul screamed YES. The bass line is genius and perfect for the song and the theme, as they sing about two lovers separated. He is, forced to be far working hard for both their futures and missing her badly and impatiently waiting the day they reunite. It’s a true Zimbabwean classic and this song alone should place them in the Zim Hall of Fame, I said it!
At number five there’s track called Ndiyamure. I love how Gwevedzi has embraced different sounds and instruments. In this track it’s difficult to miss the harmonica played by J.D Wilkes the whistle as well as the sweet angelic female vocals by Anesu Lupiya.
By the time I got to track seven I had no doubts at all that these guys have indeed been appointed to pass on messages of love.
So, if you have a love for the Shona language, adoration for a clean sound, and a respect for artists who are not about screaming their heads off or instruments competing with each other – then this is definitely an album you may want to add to your collection. This is one group that thousands should be scrambling to buy tickets for to watch them live on a stage. I would certainly leave my home for that, even if it means being shoved around for a few hours. Remember the name Gwevedzi, they are destined for much more.