By Elvis Dumba
A Banket-based artist has produced a ten-track album which is expected to make waves as the music is similar to that of Mukudzei Mukombe popular known by the stage name Jah Prayzer.
The album by Smart Sojah, born Honest Sani aged 27 titled “mweya unoyera” is expected to make a mark on the music scene especially by those listeners who have enjoyed Jah Prayzer music. One has to listen to the album over and over again to realize that the artist is not Jah Prayzer but Smart Sojah. The musician’s music – from the vocals and instrumentation complete with that mbira feel is at par with that of Jah Prayzer.
Sani who said is inspired by Jah Prayzer and Andy Muridzo seems to have struck the right chords on his fourth album after he had previously tried dancehall and urban groove music before he switched to traditional jazz music.
“I’m inspired by Jah Prayzer and Andy Muridzo. I admire how these two play mbira. That gave me the urge to learn playing the instrument which I have mastered now,” he said in a recent interview.
The album which carries nine tracks written by Sani talks about social life. Tracks such as Madhuve is a plea to a dejected woman to come home and take care of the family after leaving the family for prostitution due to economic hardships. The title track ‘mweya unoyera’ is a prayer for guidance in one’s life journey. One will be forgiven for thinking it’s off any of Jah Prayzer’s offerings.
Other tracks are ‘Handitadze kukuroora’, ‘Mhai’ – a dedication to a mother who taught a child life necessities. ‘Kumusuwa here’ talks about a young man in a dreamland as he misses his loved one. The album carries a mbira instrumental simply titled ‘mbira mudeze’ and if one has enjoyed music by Jah Prayzer and Andy Muridzo there will be no trouble in enjoying this offering.
Sani said being an upcoming artist comes with its own challenges.
“As a young artist I face many hurdles such as finance to get the music recorded and to get airplay for exposure. It is harder if you are outside big towns like Harare,” he said.
Sani believes he will break the glass ceiling as he hopes his music will go global just like other musicians as Thomas Mapfumo did.
He encouraged other upcoming artists to persevere and be focused.
“As young and upcoming artists, let us not be carried away by fame or other things. The industry needs commitment, perseverance, and self-control. I urge young people to stay away from illicit drugs,” he said
Sani said it’s his wish to have a collaboration with Jah Prayzer or Andy Muridzo, the people who are his inspiration in the music industry. He also commended his family for supporting him, a situation that afforded him the success he is enjoying especially on his latest offering.