Cal-vin (left) and one of the participants

New faces at Zima

Bruce Ndlovu
Last Saturday Zimbabwe music awards did not spring many surprises as most artistes who many thought would own the night walked away with their gongs.

The crowd favourites got what they deserved while even the much maligned Killer T managed to have the last laugh as he finally triumphed over Winky D.

Turning to Bulawayo, for many a year artistes from the City of Kings have complained that musicians from the city were not adequately represented at music ceremonies. This in turn has been generally thought to be a reflection of the general malaise and apathy that accompanies music from the city.

When and if artistes do get nominated, it has been familiar faces that have graced award shows for years. While veteran artistes like Jeys Marabini are still important, one must also acknowledge that the city’ music scene is in desperate need of rejuvenation. The time to create new stars has come and award shows like Zima are the best platforms to announce the birth of new talent.

Last week’s Zima awards gave a glimpse of the faces that will carry the next chapter of the city’s music scene.

Cal_vin (LEFT), Skaiva and Nkwali walked away with gongs in the hip-hop, house and acapella categories respectively in what turned out to be a victory lap for the cream of the city’s new artistes.

Cal_vin’s rise has been the most dramatic, from an artiste who was a virtual unknown with no video a year ago to an award winning machine.  Several awards and a couple of feuds with local rappers later, the good fortune that has followed his brief career is not lost on the Luveve rapper.

“I believe that as young artistes we can take music in Bulawayo to the next level. The challenges are there but I believe that with hard work we can break down the barriers,” the rapper said.

In a city where house music is a staple, few artistes have managed to break through into mainstream popularity.

Having earned a small measure of success in Africa’s house music capital south of the Limpopo, where one of his tunes topped the Yfm charts while the another was playlisted by deep house guru Vinny Da Vinci, Skaiva has been finally acknowledged for his prowess as a house producer par excellence.

The house producer however, acknowledges the fact that turning around Bulawayo’s music fortunes will not be easy for Bulawayo’s new generation.

“We are working hard to make Bulawayo a success but we need people to come to our support. If they buy our music and come to our gigs we will succeed,” he said.

For those familiar with the city’s arts scene, Nkwali is not a name that would fail to ring a bell or two.

Nkwali, an Iyasa founding member and the lead singer in the international African Circus Mother Africa, is showing signs that she is now a true solo artiste as she breaks away from the shackles of her past illustrious achievements with previous groups.

“You cannot tell yourself that you have arrived as an artiste after one award victory. There is a lot of work that needs to be done and as Bulawayo artistes we do face challenges that are unique to us,” she said.