I grew up an international music lover. We were called ‘masalad’ back in the day! Then, the day I finished my ‘O’ levels, my brother Tonde (left) came to fetch me from school. He forced me to listen to Leonard Dembo’s tracks. I remember listening to Shamwari Yangu Warova with disdain. My word, I was appalled! The entire trip was a nightmare. At home, suffer continued, with Reggae and Ragga/ Dancehall joining in the party. By the time the holiday was over, I loved Sungura, Reggae and Dancehall! I practically played his music when he wasn’t around. Talk of music being shoved down your throat ehmm, your ears lol! I’m so grateful for this experience.
That’s the story of how my love affair with music especially Sungura, Reggae and Ragga/ Dancehall began. So, this morning I woke up feeling nostalgic. I decided to take a stroll down memory lane of Zimbabwe’s golden oldies. I started the journey by playing one of my favourite oldie, by James Chimombe, ‘Bindura’. This track is just one among several of my favourites from this legend. It is on the 8-track album, Greatest Hits, Vol.1. Jimmy gave us some unforgettables such as Siya Wawoneka, Zvaitika, Jemedza, Kudakwashe, Cecilia, Chaita Mumwe, Chamupupuri, Munaka Ndafa and Ini Newe among several others.
From Bindura, I find myself in Chinhoyi, with Biggie Tembo singing the hit, Chinhoyi. Its sad lyrics evoke memories we would prefer to remain hidden. Memories of our fallen heroes of the liberation struggle and of song. Biggie Tembo being one of them, but all is not lost as his legacy lives on through his son and namesake, Biggie Tembo Jr. Biggie Sr made waves worldwide with his hit, Jit Jive. He also gave us several hits such as, Babamnini Francis, Hatisi Tose, Kutambura, Wafungei among many.
How about a shot left ‘tichienda kwaHunyani.‘ Who can ever forget Safirio Madzikatire/ Mukadota/ Baba Rwizi naKatarina? ‘Bhudhi vatenga mota, mota yenyu yakanaka’, ‘Dikisoni ndinokuda, Dikisoni ndinokuda’
I’m getting nostalgic as I remember Leonard Musoro Wenyoka Dembo, undeniably the godfather of Sungura. The first track of his that comes to mind is the hit, Chitekete, then, Sarura Wako, Shamwari Yangu Warova, Paw Paw, Chengeto, Dambudzo, Zii Zii, among many others. But today, I’d like to share with you the ‘evergreen’, ‘Nzungu Ndamenya‘.
Tracks from Tafirenyika, Thomas Mapfumo like Chamunorwa, Hokoyo, Varombo Kuvarombo, Nyoka Musango, Vanhu Vatema, Gwindingwi Rineshumba and my all time favourite, Jojo are quite a delight to stumble upon.
As I continue with my trip, I can almost hear Marshall Munhumumwe and the Four Brothers singing, ‘rudo imoto runotokuchidzirwa ana amai’ 💃 Other hits from Marshall include Rwendo, Vimbayi, Pfimbi Yangu and of course….
If you’ve never listened to Furuwa Furuwa and Ruva Rangu by the Pied Pipers, then you haven’t heard the cream of Shona love songs from back in the day. System Tazvida made sure he won’t be left out among the greats by giving us some incredible tunes like my personal favourite Kaserura Ndizvo. This track reminds me of my late sister, Vimbai. Other classics from the late great include Smoko, Dai Hanzvadzi Yairoorwa, Ndiridze Mhere, Anodyiwa Haataure, Vaforomani, Vagere Mushe Mushe Havadaro among many.
We can never complete a journey down memory lane without visiting the city of Chitungwiza and be serenaded by Mr Chitungwiza himself, John Chibadura. Tears are beginning to threaten to escape from my eyes as I play Zuva Rekufa Kwangu, there are other memorable tracks like Rudo Runokosha, 5000 dollars, Vengai Zvenyu, Mudiwa Janet…
There are many treasures along the way, I haven’t even started! I still have to pay the Chimbetus a visit, the Harare Mambos, Mitchell Jambo, Jonah Moyo, Ambuya Stella, but, tears prevent me from going on. I’ll have to stop here for now. If you want to help me with more of golden oldies from the House of Stone (Zimbabwe), send me an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Here is one for the road, my very best up to date! The song that became popular as ‘The Mai Chisamba song’, track by Louis Mhlanga, ‘Distant Lover‘… Cheers!