It’s not often that you hear of Glendale – an outpost approximately 60 killometres northeast of Harare – in the news. But twenty-six year old, Tichaona Madyiwa, is bucking the trend, albeit, with chimurenga music.The fact that Glendale does not have a vibrant nightlife did not deter Madyiwa from pursuing his dream in music. He said that he received a lot of encouragement from popular musician Somandla Ndebele who kept telling him not to abandon his passion.
In April, Madyiwa launched a seven-track debut album titled, “Vakadzi Vevanhu.” The album, which was produced and arranged by the veteran musician, Mono Mukundu, not only highlights Madyiwa talent but that chimurenga musical acumen is still very much alive in Zimbabwe. Some of the titles on the album include, “Tipeiwo darirro,” “Ndambakuudzwa”, Ndakamuramba,” “Maidei,” Nyarai kuchema Gibson,” “Ndakakutadzira” as well as the title track “Vakadzi vevanhu.”
“It’s an album that teaches and provides advice about general life issues. Most people are doing a lot of wrong nowadays, so the album seeks to make people cautious about their lives,” said Madyiwa in an interview.
The lyrical content of the songs on the album are very rich and well-polished and clearly speak to Madyiwa’s maturity and versatility which belie his age.
“I have been writing songs since 2004 but I had no intention to record the songs. But in 2009, I began polishing my work because I wanted to record,” said Madyiwa.
He said that he received a lot of assistance from his uncle who plays the bass guitar on the album as well as Mukundu who provided the lead guitar for the album.
Madyiwa said he has done live shows in partnership with Ndebele, Kapfupi and Leornard Zhakata in order to polish his lyrics and sharpen his voice projection.
“I never had the intention to be a musician but when I started to play mbira people encouraged me to form a group so that I could take my music to a higher level. I established a band and we played at functions in Glendale, and people appreciated our work. They inspired us to get serious with our music,” said Madyiwa.
Madyiwa said that the lyrical content of his music is influenced by what he observes in people’s day-to-day lives. He said that the mbira formed the heart and soul of his music and that he grew up listening to chimurenga music which influenced his sound.
“I grew up listening to Thomas Mapfumo, Pio Farai Macheka and Brian Mteki and I got to fully understand the shape and colour of that music. I used to try to sing like the chimurenga greats,” he added.
“When I write songs, I observe people and then I develop my lyrical content along those lines. I promise that if people give me a chance, I’ll not let them down. I am going to continue producing quality work. My passion will never die,” he said, adding that his dream was to take his music to an international stage.