Wednesday, 23 April 2014

'Tsviriyo’ set a high bar for Jah Prayzah

Jah Prayzah’s new album “Kumbumura Mhute” has been received with mixed feelings with some critics saying he has stretched his versatility too far and risks losing identity of his music.
Some have pointed out that he has borrowed a lot, in terms of style, from other musicians.

While it is a fact that the album falls below the “Tsviriyo” standard some listeners have dismissed “Kumbura Mhute” as a flop but others feel the musician still has his good touch.

Star FM listeners’ comments on the station’s music review show indicate that the majority accepted the album and showered praises on Jah Prayzah.

However there have been serious arguments on social networks where various positive and negative issues about “Kumbura Mhute” have been raised.
'Tsviriyo’ set a high bar for Jah Prayzah
Jah Prayzah has always used diverse beats and previously argued he aims to capture emotions through alternating between fast and slow tempos while his music is mainly hinged on traditional and reggae beats.

On “Kumbumura Mhute” songs like the title-track, “Mukadzi Wangu” and “Makanika” are sing-along party songs while “Sei Mambo?”, “Mukoma Makaoma” and “Kunobuda Zuva” are on a solemn note.

However, it is evident Jah Prayzah set the bar too high with his previous album “Tsviriyo” and he would have to put more effort to match the standard.

The major weakness of the album is that a listener can trace most beats on the album to Jah Prayzah’s previous songs. There was need for more creativity for a complete departure from previous tunes without killing the style.

While Jah Prayzah maintains his lyrical and vocal prowess that is complemented by impressive Shona lines and idioms, some of his instrumentalists, especially the bass guitarist could have done better. The bass guitar on all songs is too flat.


With an array of instruments he has, Jah Prayzah should have come up with arrangement that approximates his recent duet with Ammara Brown, “Kure”.

And turning to duets, the inclusion of Botswana’s Charma Girl on the song “Dalie Wangu” does not add value to the track. Maybe Jah Prayzah is eyeing the Botswana market considering that he included some traditional dances from that country on a video of the song “Tsamba” from the album “Tsviriyo”. But he could have chosen a better artiste or arranged Charma Girl’s verses in another way.

The song “Makanika” did not come out as it sounded when it was sampled at live shows. Maybe it has something to do with the studio arrangement.

However, the title-track “Kumbumura Mhute” promises to be the hit of the album. It is a song about partying and jubilation.

The musician shows is artistry by portraying a serious celebratory event where people dance until a cloud of dust, which he likens to mist, rises.

“Soja Rinoenda Kure” is a song about determination in the face of adversity. Jah Prayzah emphasizes on his “soldier” brand and tells his enemies that they will not stop him.

“Dalie Wangu” is a love song featuring Charma Girl and presents two lovers that miss each other. The repetitive “ndasuwa dalie wangu” (I miss my darling) line makes it a sing-along song.

“Sei Mambo” begins on a slow tempo. It is a question to a “king” inquiring why he uplifts other people while denying others opportunities.

On “Kumaricho” the musician sings about how people work to make ends meet. It is also a prayer for blessings and was done on a fast beat.

“Mukoma Makaoma” is a touching song penned for Jah Prayzah’s brother who committed suicide.

The musician sings about how his brother appeared to him in a dream saying they would not meet again. He sings about the pain of losing him answering questions why he committed suicide.

Other tracks on the album are ‘‘Kunobuda Zuva’’ and ‘‘Kumagumo.’’

Although the album does not beat ‘‘Tsviriyo’’, it is likely to gain popularity gradually.

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