By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
Harare, Zimbabwe – Thursday. At the Book Cafe, Harare’s premier arts and culture joint. Backed by his youthful band – Shades of Black – Afro-jazz artiste, Alexio Kawara, 32, who recently launched his fifth 13-track album titled “Tose” exhibits a cool, calm and composed self as he belts out soulful lyrics.
Dressed in a white T-shirt, black jeans and striped sneakers, Kawara slowly sways as he sings a song about a lover. Without doubt, Kawara brings an Afro-chic coolness to the stage. His style retains the depth, beauty, resonance and sensitivity that is emblematic of great artists in the making.
It’s no wonder why he has managed to endear himself to an army of loyal fans. His music is a fusion of different beats that are punctuated with a confident cosmopolitanism.
Kawara’s audience consists of an eclectic mix of urbanites that follow him with amazing loyalty and always show up for his weekly Thursday show at the Book Cafe in Harare’s leafy Avenues area.
The narrative in his lyrics is laced with images that Zimbabwean audiences can easily identify with but its his sound which defies space with its universal quality. The sing-along quality of most of his songs means he has that unique power to keep his audiences constantly on their feet.
The title track, Tose, from his new album proved to be highly popular with the youthful audience not only because of its sing-along nature but because of its upbeat, dancehall feel. Other tracks of the album include include “Save”, “Chihwande-hwande”, “Chinyanye”, “Chipo Changu”
“Tose is about reminding people of something we take for granted. We are one people and we will always be. Trying to separate oneself from that is like cutting a piece off a human body. We need to be one if we want things to work for the better. I just came up with the songs and I believe in my heart and these are the songs that I think will catch my fans’ imagination,” said Kawara.
The album is definitely Kawara at his best, and the selection of songs on the album which focus on love, advice and hope reveal a sense of maturity that has undergone ever since he launched his career. To launch an album in Zimbabwe is not an easy feat but to launch five certainly reveals that the artist has a high level of perseverance.
Born in a family of five with all siblings being musically gifted, Kawara discovered a passion for music at an early age, and was involved in his primary school choir. He started out as part of a boy band called ?uess (Guess). His most popular hit song Shaina is a testament of his skill as a vocalist. The songs still resonates with many Zimbabweans. All said, Kawara is without doubt a phenomenon in the arena of Zimbabwe’s fledgling urban sound.