HARARE – Baba Harare, who was born Braveman Chizvino Mawanza 29 years ago, is indeed a man of courage.
True to his name, the talented guitarist bravely decided to part ways with the all-conquering Jah Prayzah, an artiste on the cusp of a regional breakthrough, leaving both artistes and music fans alike baffled.
Baba Harare concedes that many people in the music community regard his decision to go solo “as suicidal.”
“The truth of the matter is that Jah Prayzah is now up there. When I joined him eight years ago, we hardly ever imagined he would become such a big brand in less than a decade. Am not surprised that some people believe that I am nutter because I have quit such a successful project.
“But the truth is that I am a big dreamer who takes risks. Maybe that is why my parents called me Braveman. My dream kept pushing me and I decided to leave my comfort zone in Jah Prayzah’s Third Generation and venture into the unknown,” BabaHarare told the Daily News on Sunday just before he launched his 14-track debut album titled “Chikwama Changu” at Jazz 24/7 on Thursday night.
The multi-talented guitarist –cum-vocalist is convinced that his debut will make doubting Thomases sit up and take notice.
“I enjoy taking risks and challenging myself. For my debut I could easily have put together a few tracks but I did 14 tracks. I wanted to show people what I can do and am sure they will realise that I have potential and that I have what it takes to improve even more,” said the former Sigma Boys bassist.
The track Tsvimbo-which is about an employee agitating for a better salary-is likely convince many that Baba Harare quit Jah Prayzah due to poor working conditions. But the lanky artiste, who has repeatedly denied that he quit the Uzumba-born music star’s band out of frustration, insists that the song is not about Jah Prayzah.
“It is not about Jah Prayzah at all. It is a song which will strike a chord with most workers. In this economy many workers are complaining of poor salaries and working conditions so it will be a very relevant song to them.
“Just like in many bands or companies, we also had our challenges in Jah Prayzah’s band but that is not the reason why I left. I simply quit because I wanted to fulfill a dream I have always had. Actually I am very grateful to Jah Prayzah and the Third Generation Band and to my first band Sigma Boys for giving me the platform to showcase my talent,” he said.
Baba Harare’s album, which features Progress Chipfumo and Alick Macheso, is dominated by reggae and Afro-fusion tracks. The songs with a reggae feel on the just-released album include We Need Peace, Tsvimbo, Zuva Riye, Murume Wangu Pauro, I will Never Fall in Love and Gara Uneni.
“I was inspired by the late Lucky Dube a lot but our reggae is a bit faster. We will also include some English lyrics because we are targeting a wider audience,” said Baba Harare.
His manager Voyage “Bugs Bangwela” Dambuza is optimistic about the future.
“Baba Harare is a new brand and we were very delighted by the big crowd which turned up for the album launch. It will take a lot of hard work to take it to the next level and we are ready for it. We have just begun a voyage. We will not sprint; we will take our strides so that we can last the distance.
“We have lined up a few shows. On February 3 we share the stage with Progress Chipfumo at Dandaro Inn in the HarareShowgrounds,” said Dambuza.