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Zimbabweans thrill in their peace concerts

By - | December 29th 2012

  By Kiundu Waweru

Members of the Zimbabwean band, Jam Signal, entertain audience on Christmas Eve. They had a message of peace for the revellers [PHOTOS: KIUNDU WAWERU/STANDARD]

The media in Zimbabwe, especially radio, has for many years had its signals jammed by the Government. With this knowledge, a group of revellers in Nairobi received with apprehension a young Jazz Band from Zimbabwe calling itself Jam Signal.

Kenyan band, Ziki and other musicians had already warmed the stage at the Goethe Institut Auditorium, in the week before Christmas. Then the youthful trio from Zimbabwe took to the stage. But what followed was such energy and vigour that left the audience wide mouthed. The Jam Signal, comprising three acts in their early twenties let the audience have it all. When they were done, the MC Fadhili says he felt angry. Jam Signal mastery of instruments makes it seen that Kenyans do not practise enough.

On the drums was Mutsa Gudlanga who was the darling of the night. He worked the drums in a frenzy, speed, and art and grace that produced a unique rhythmic sound. Doing instrumental music of their own compositions and cover songs, they also sang, with Osborne Matengenzara doing the vocals and the Saxophone. Osborne also thrilled the crowd with his antics with the sax that was complimented by the keyboard under the bewitching hands of the coolest of the trio member Tafadzwa Marova.

Platform to network

Jam Signal was in Kenya under the behest of Mathewmatix, a platform to raise the fan base of Jazz in Kenya. Mathewmatix was started in 2011 by Mathew Rabala and it features monthly Jazz shows bringing musicians from East Africa and giving them a platform to network. Nairobi has been hit by a wave of Jazz music, which reflects the United States, New Orleans, when the likes of Luis Armstrong popularised what is known as Classical Jazz.

 After the performance, Osborne posted on Facebook, “so yeah, we rocked again today, we performed at the Sarakasi to an amazing crowd. We are becoming famous here.”

Well they are also famous back in Zimbabwe though individually as they only came together as Jam Signal this year though they attended the same high school not a long time ago. Mutsa has played with gospel greats Shingisayi Siluma and also with the BlaQberry Jazz and PE Jazz Band. He strives to create a unique beat, and this has seen him become the most sought after drummer in Harare, in his teenage years.

And for Tafadzwa Marova he started playing music at a young age under the tutelage of his popular father and musician, Filbert Marova. At the age of 13, he was signed up by the Prince Edward Senior Jazz Band – note he was a junior. He also played for the BlaQberry Jazz, and now, he is travelling with the Jam Signal around the world, sending a message of peace through his piano.

“We met at a show early this year in Mozambique,” explains Osborne, “and we decided to go on a tour spreading a message of peace and unity.” In January we are headed to Norway. Other acts included Kenyan Ziki who says music is her first love.

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