The Sunday News
Rumbidzai Mhlanga, Sunday Life Reporter
AFTER years of travelling the globe, learning about the world and its diverse people, legendary Black Umfolosi and isicathamiya musician Sotsha Moyo has returned to his roots, with his latest album set to serve as notice of his lifelong allegiance and dedication to his Kalanga roots.
The Black Umfolosi founding member launched his sixth solo album titled Lunyalalo, last weekend at the Bulawayo Theatre.
The musician, who embarked on his music career as early as primary school level has, since 1982 when the group was formed, spoken out about how Kalanga language was relegated to the margins by the music industry, as singers prioritised music produced in dominant languages like iSiNdebele, ChiShona and English.
This latest album was therefore, a nod towards his rich roots.
“I come from a musical community, we the Kalanga people use music, poem and storytelling as a means of communicating important issues hence I grew up exposed to such Nlenje culture.”
Moyo also took the opportunity of his latest album release to look back at his journey with Black Umfolosi.
“Forming Black Umfolosi was not planned. It all started with a group of friends at a boarding school. We used to sing as a way of trying to entertain ourselves since there was no entertainment at school. So we sang to kill time and lessen the boredom and therefore a musical group was born. We became a professional group in 1987 after finishing our Ordinary Level education,” said Moyo.
Moyo said his solo career does not mean he is breaking away from the group.
“I started working on my solo projects in the year 2000 having my first solo project being recorded in 2003. I did not branch out. Instead it is part of the group’s objective to promote all Zimbabwean cultures so I chose to give back to my community by promoting my culture and language through music. I realised the Kalanga language in a way has been sidelined for so long and may die if we don’t do something about it now. My aim is to revive and promote our tradition,” he said.
The isicathamiya legend said he regarded the launch of his latest effort as a triumph.
“My album launch was very successful, all thanks to my sponsors Nhimbe Trust, my show production manager Morris Touch who gave so much support and to my friends and fans. The launch was recorded on DVD which will be out in due course,”
“Since 2003 I have managed to record six albums titled Dabilani, Babakidzani, Tjaba Tjangu, Lebani Lebeswa, Mabuyani and the recent one is titled Lunyalalo which means peace. The reason for the album title is I wanted to emphasise on the importance of peace, be it at home, community or the whole country. Where there is peace there is love, unity, justice and development.
“The album is a fusion of traditional Kalanga beats and contemporary Kalanga songs that tackle a lot of issues. Some tracks in my CD have Afro-jazz beats while lyrics are a mix of modern and traditional Kalanga beats. One track is a reggae beat but Kalanga lyrics. My genre is SOTJA music, it is a mixture of mature, informative and educative songs,” Moyo said.