Home » Arts & Culture » Don Gaga Raises Stakes

More often than not Zimbabwean dancehall music is full of bad stuff just like in Jamaica or in hip-hop culture, where artistes glorify violence, “beef” and worst of all brag about their talents.There are very few artistes, if any, who have made it commercially as purely conscious artistes.

So the majority are following the band wagon of “beefing” with each other on their way to the top which sort of puts a lid on their creativity.

The creative minds, like Don Gaga, have seen the gap and are starting to sing about real issues, the stuff that ordinary people relate to.

“I believe that artistes can make a positive change to society and the life we are living. There is no need to glorify that which destroys the moral values of a society this is reason I don’t have beef with anyone. It is bad for me and bad for the industry,” he said.

Names that conjure up the conscious side of Zim dancehall include Tocky Vibes, Ras Caleb and lately, Don Gaga who was born Percival Kudakwashe Zonde in Bindura.

The 26-year-old Don Gaga seeks to raise the stakes in Zim dancehall by singing songs that celebrate the life of ordinary Zimbabweans.

His latest single called “Zvirikufaya” inspired by the social media meme which went viral on Facebook sets him apart from his contemporaries.

He turned the “Zvirikufaya” meme into a song which got 10 000 hits within the first week of its release.

The video shows Don Gaga and his blocks at ease and enjoying a simple life in Zimbabwe. The video takes you through to the ghettos in Harare where enterprising businesspeople go about their businesses.

It could be BBQs, car wash or vegetable vending, the impression that one gets from the video is that whether poor or rich, Zimbabweans are enjoying their life to the fullest.

Don Gaga’s D album features some of the conscious tracks that will make you stop and think.

The first track is called “Survivor” which implores to work hard to make earns meet. Don Gaga laces his husky lyrics over a laid-back sound.

The next track “Makomo” is another club banger which talks about his journey on his way to the top. Don Gaga urges music promoters to look after the artistes and not using them to make money. On “First Lady” he talks about love and life. He says men should respect women and take care of them.

He also recorded a rendition of the song “Hakuna Musha” a popular hymn from the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe.

“Kadhimba” is another danceable tune inspired by nursery rhymes.

He said while Zim dancehall has been associated with ghettos in Harare, there were no boundaries when it comes to good music.

“In music is not about where one comes from or background. NO! As a matter of fact, we recognise Mbare as the bedrock of dancehall but even outside Mbare there are equally talented artistes outside Harare,” he said.

He started music in 2004 when he recorded his first song at a backyard studio in Bindura. However, at the time he had not decided to go commercial since he had set his sights on another career as a soldier.

“I would say music was for fun. But it later grew in me and in 2008 I recorded a song that featured Mega Spice titled ‘Magamba’, a dedication to the fallen heroes. I am a soldier by profession. I started music before I joined the Air Force of Zimbabwe’s fire department in 2009. So the challenge was balancing between work and music of which I do music when I’m off duty,” he said.

To date, Don Gaga has released two albums with the first one being “Ndiri Musoja” and then the second release titled “Elevated” which also has a D album. The album was recorded at some of the reputable stables such as Chill Spot, Danyard Records in Bindura, Black Identity Records, Ghetto Craft Entertainment in search of that unique style.

The D features snippets of Don Gaga in the studio, live shows, family as well as his personal life so that his fans know him not as an artiste but as a person.

The imaginative videos were done by Paradzai Makosa and Thomas Misingwale who are both renowned graphic artists. Blessed with a stage presence, the voice and g message, Don Gaga chose a different approach to his music as his contemporaries were preoccupied with “beefs” .

He has also launched his clothing line called “Don Gaga DG1. He is also studying for a BA Honours in Theatre Arts at the University of Zimbabwe. He is expected to tour South Africa this September.

Source : The Herald