Home » Arts & Culture » Shona Songs Hits Among the Chinese

Zimbabwean musicians have a virgin audience that could boost their popularity no end, if the reception of some local songs among mixed crowds in the country are anything to go by. Alexio Kawara’s classic Shaina got the packed Celebration Centre auditorium singing along last Saturday night at the Chinese New Year Celebrations. From the moment that a visiting Chinese singer set off, every one of the mixed audience which included foreign dignitaries in the country and locals of all hues as well as Chinese people based in Zimbabwe began to sing along.

The male singer who had arrived into the country on Friday effortlessly reeled off the lyrics, albeit with some interesting pronunciations especially the ‘r’ sound proving that music is a universal language that transcends nationalities and other superficial boundaries between human beings.

When Alexio himself joined the visitor on stage, the crowd noise went up another notch.

Unfortunately fellow musician Ruth Mbangwa failed to stir the same excitement as she sang her duo with Ambassador Lin Lin. In all fairness maybe the song was unknown and the accomplished jazz singer had little hope of ever reaching the ultra-high notes that the Chinese female singers trill so amazingly so she kept to a low key alto. That made her performance rather flat as she failed to provide the expected contrasting foil for the ambassador’s faultless tenor.

Earlier in the day during the afternoon events local resident Penny Peng had been the highlight with her performance of 2BG’s Ndoda Uzive. At the Night of Beijing 2014 another classic, Ruva Rangu originally done by the Pied Pipers was also performed by a visiting Chinese artiste to a resounding applause.

Local artistes should therefore take aantage of the popularity of their music among Chinese nationals to expand their horizons

But first the Zimbabwean artistes have a lot to learn from their Chinese counterparts. The calibre of excellence unfailingly displayed by the Chinese performance artistes whenever they visit the country shows up the hosts in a sad manner.

The Tianjin Dance Drama and Opera House troupe that was in the country for the Chinese New Year celebrations demonstrated how dedication and devotion to an art are necessary additions to the arsenal of an ambitious artiste. Desire in itself is not enough.

The Tianjin troupe has an academy where would-be artistes in various fields like martial arts, drama, theatre and dance are trained from a very young age alongside their academic tutelage. It is this dedication that pays off in the

Tianjin has produced many famous Chinese performers like Yu Shuzhen, Guan Muchun and Shi Guannan. They have toured over 50 countries and regions as cultural ambassadors. In this tour which encompassed Zimbabwe they also visited Botswana and Madagascar.

The acrobats, dancers and martial arts performers who showed their stiff at the celebrations showed that there are three pillars to a polished performance: Synchronisation, practice and costumes.

Even when the movements were apparently simple, the costumes, choreography and perfection took them to a higher level.

Zimbabwe needs to invest in proper creative industry academies if we are to see more acts that we can be proud of.

But meanwhile it is to be hoped that our artistes are learning from the brush with the Chinese and will soon be looking at taking their music to China.

Source : The Herald

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