Africa has always been known for its vibrant nature and zest for life, a notion that is clearly visible in the music of this continent. Zimbabwe as a country is no exception to this as our music chronicles not only the rich history of the country but also the various aspects that make up this great nation.

One of the ways this variety is seen is in mbira music. Though the instrument is known around Africa for various reasons, in Zimbabwe we have made it our own and propelled it to new heights. So renowned is our proficiency in it that we defied the predictions of musicologist Hugh Tracey who believed would go extinct in the 1930’s, with it making a resurgence in the 1960’s and 70’s in Zimbabwe and bringing it to new heights.

Now mbira music is known internationally not only as a genre but for its contribution to world music. Another genre that exemplifies this variety is sungura. This genre gained prominence in the1980’s, started by Ephraim Joe and the Sungura Boys which had various future stars in their stable. The group was comprised of John Chibadura, Simon Chimbetu, Naison Chimbetu, Ronnie Chataika, Michael Jambo, Moses Marasha, Bata Sinfirio, Ephraim Joe, Never Moyo and System Tazvida. Many of these men would go on to be big names in this genre on their own merit. 

After the Sungura Boys came the Khiama Boys who were a spiritual successor.New members in this group included Nicholas Zacharia, Alick Macheso and Silas Chakanyuka to name but a few. Others such as James Chimombe gained prominence by blending the sungura style with romantic ballads,showcasing the innovative nature of musicians in Zimbabwe. The groundwork laid by these artists is still present in the current sungura scene in Zimbabwe, as some of these musicians are still around and continue to push the envelope on musical capabilities, be it through lyrics or instrumental mastery.

These two genres are but a glimpse into the vast musical cornucopia that is Zimbabwean music, a music that had evolved with time and had shaped those times as well. Join us next time when we delve deeper into the music of our country and celebrate it and the glorious night that is the ZIMAA Awards.