IS this the Joke of the Year or it’s just some sort of midwinter madness?
Local music followers are daring to compare sungura music giant Alick Macheso and prodigy Mark Ngwazi following the release of their albums.
Macheso, who released his debut album in 1998, introduced his 12th album, Tinosvitswa Nashe, on June 10, and it has taken the industry by storm.
Ngwazi, whose debut album came 18 years later, released his new album, Nharo Nezvine Nharo, at the weekend, igniting the duo’s comparison on social media, particularly in music groups on Facebook.
There are also individuals, and the so-called ‘‘music bloggers’’ who appear to be pushing the narrative, which has been described as suicidal by analysts and promoters.
Macheso released his album at the Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza, where more than 10 000 fans, were reported to have paid to watch the show.
The event was oversubscribed and police had to be called in to turn away fans for security reasons.
Ngwazi launched his album at Bar Rouge, a venue that can accommodate, at most, 150 people.
Both albums have the hand of veteran producer, Bothwell Nyamhondera.
H-Metro spoke to different music promoters, and analysts, following a debate by music lovers on social media. Music analyst and promoter Benjamin Nyandoro of Jive Zimbabwe said:
“Alick Macheso is enjoying goodwill while Mark Ngwazi is finding himself onto the market, of course, with a good product.
“That is why he is included in that conversation, which is good for him. I have seen that comparison over the past weeks. I see it as a good strategy if Mark is doing it as a strategist because he is positioning himself.
“But, if he locates it or do it as competition with Alick Macheso, he will miss it. He should only identify it as a good opportunity to position himself as an emerging brand that sings music supported by Macheso followers.
“I would say sungura music lovers in Zimbabwe, at the moment, belong to Alick Macheso and these upcoming artists should play their cards well.
“This is a mistaken comparison by music lovers on social media. They should encourage Mark to work. I hope Mark will not take this to mean he is better than Macheso. He should consider it as a compliment, that he fits in a conversation that involves Macheso,” said Nyandoro.
Wanisayi ‘Mahwindo’ Mtandwa described the comparison as a Joke of the Year or some sort of madness.
“They are completely two different artists. Alick Macheso is a big brand with more experience.
“It’s a joke to compare the two and an insult to Macheso and the industry and Mark has his own level. Macheso is the granddad while Mark is the grandson.
“Mark is just a new kid and can never match Alick’s level. Most people knew of Mark Ngwazi after his hit Taurai Madzoka last year and to me it’s a Joke of the Year or can I say pure madness to compare the two. It’s like comparing a team playing in the lowest division of a football system and the one in the top division. “I really liked what Mark Ngwazi did at his album launch, he praised Macheso and said he is his father but it’s sad there are people who are pushing a narrative that will destroy him if he is not careful.
“Macheso is a lecturer to Mark. Macheso is not even jealousy of Mark, I was talking to Macheso and he is happy that if he dies today, the genre will never die.
“He is happy that Mark Ngwazi is among those rising to keep the genre alive. We want to do a sungura night where Macheso will share the stage with these guys, including Simon Mutambi, Romeo Gasa, Franco, Nicholas Zakaria and others.
“I am happy that Mark Ngwazi is aware that he can only make it by respecting Macheso. Some of us as promoters we only work with those who respect their elders. People who are pushing that narrative are toxic, social media support doesn’t really count, they are just there to create divisions and kill the artists. They don’t come to shows or even buy music,” said Mahwindo.
Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions said:
“In life we have learnt that we go to school starting at Grade 1 to 7, pass first then proceed to secondary education, sit for O Level and proceed to A Level.
“If you pass you go to University and some will even do Masters, these are learning categories.
“And, in as far as music is concerned Macheso, has completed all these stages but Mark Ngwazi has just enrolled at university.
“The teacher can only do better after graduation, it’s too early to compare the two.
Mark should seek more advice and guidance from Ba Sharo. He should ask his Master to be included in his big events so that he learns more.
“He is not a bad student but akazvininipisa anosvika kure and I hope he will deliver his CD to Ba Sharo in person and ask him vaterere so that he can mark his album, preparing his next album.
“Zvoto zvine mazera, I am sure he has brought a new dimension to sungura but Macheso is the torchbearer,” said Chipaz.
Joe ‘‘Local’’ Nyamungoma, who has worked with a number of musicians, said fans should respect Macheso.
“Mark is doing well and he is the future, his lyrical artistry is quite good but he needs to have a gradual approach. Macheso is his father.
“Those comparing him with Macheso are doing no good to him.”