Having traversed the world, singer songwriter Ratie D found fertile ground to coerce her first album into existence after a decade in the making. The result is an explosive launch of her first studio EP titled Ink & Melodies, which spans musical genres and languages to give adequate voice to her evolutionary and collaborative creative process.
By Plot Mhako [with excerpts from Ratie D’s management ]
Listening to artists like Brenda Fassie, Dobet Gnahore, Alice Smith, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu has also had a big impact on her view or understanding of music. The MZILIKAZI-born and former Zimbabwe Saints player, Philemon Dangarembga’s daughter is a refined gem.
RATIE D “A VOICE THAT INSPIRES INDEPENDENCE AND SELF-WORTH.”
Ratie D started her singing career with the Zimbabwean based all-female acapella group, Nobuntu, when she was just old enough to start travelling internationally. Since then the desire to combine her voice with other musical talents has only grown. As the singer for the Zimbabwean afro-coustic band, Bongo Love, a group led by her neighborhood friend, John Mambira, Ratie D found herself again in a collaborative setting. Now, settled into the bright-eyed international music community of Eugene, Oregon, USA, Ratie D has gifted us with her debut.
Ratie D is committed to using her voice to empower women and children around the world. In Zimbabwe, she works to support the next generation of artists in her tight knit community by rebuilding the abandoned Mzilikazi Youth Center. In her adopted home of Eugene, Oregon, she performs regularly at public events and is devoted to teaching African song and dance to local youth.
INK & MELODIES IS A REFLECTION OF RATIE’S SKILL at using collaboration as a tool to evolve and grow as an artist.
“As a songwriter you can have an idea in your head but then someone comes into the jam and adds their own spice to make it even more beautiful.”Ratie D
INK & MELODIES Track List:
3. “WOMAN OF AFRICA”
4. “SELF KNOWLEDGE”
5. “WALK ON BY”
Track 1 – “Golide”
Meaning “Gold” in the Ndebele language. This song spreads light and positivity; motivating young girls to celebrate self, strength and finding a voice despite the challenges they face. Ratie D pulls from her own experiences, using her story to tell young girls to make better decisions then she did as a youth. The chorus reminds us all not to let anyone’s opinion flood or confuse our better judgment about who we truly are meant to be.
Track 2 – “Kudhara”
Meaning “Way Back” in the Chivanhu language (which is also referred to as Shona language, a derogatory name created by colonizers that we are choosing to leave behind). As a reflection of the dual identity many Zimbabweans share, Kudhara uses a traditional Ndebele rhythm while incorporating Chivanhu lyrics with the intention of bringing the two tribes that share one border closer together.
Track 3 – “Woman of Africa”
In Africa many women make a living as street vendors, playing a vital role in the economy while providing for their families. This song celebrates the uncelebrated women who work hard every day and are rarely recognized for their success. The lyric “release your character” is a message written to herself to help reverse the belief that being labeled as an African is the same as being labeled as someone who is low.
Track 4 – “Self Knowledge”
Ratie D met M5vibe through her partner J.R. Morgan in 2017 and created a trio called Not Applikable. Together they present an acoustic hip hop vibe reminiscent of Digable Planets and the Fugees encourages young people to know themselves before they give themselves to someone else.
Track 5 – “Walk on By”
Created as an expression of attraction toward somebody, Ratie D wrote the song when young love struck her. While lovers may have an uncertain future nothing can stop them from focusing on the electricity of the moment.
Gilbert Zvamaida – guitar, all tracks
“Who wouldn’t want Gilbert Zvamaida on their record? I grew up listening to this man play guitar on the radio. When I saw him perform with Thomas Mapfumo I knew I would be forever his student. He’s seen me grow and it’s an honor to have him on my album. My respect for him is not just as a musician but as an elder. He totally shines on ‘Walk on By.’”
Garret Baxter – bass, all tracks
“Garret’s bass lines are like the soundtrack to my heartbeat, especially his line on Self-Knowledge. I love how he plays and expresses himself. It helps me be in my own element.”
John Mambira – percussion all tracks; drum kit, Golide, Kudhara, Woman of Africa
“I’ve gone through a long journey with John Mambira. I worked with him on his fourth studio album, Bongo Love, and traveled with him on a world tour. John serves as a source of comfort for me now as he and I grew up in the same neighborhood and share so many childhood memories even deciding together that one day we would come to America. He’s a mentor and a brother to me and my family.”
Parker Koehn – percussion, Walk on By and Self-Knowledge
“My first encounter with drummer Parker was when he and I were performing with DeSolution reggae band and he played this ska rhythm that made me want to move to the music. He brings in vibrancy and a reggae vibe to the album.”
Torrey Newhart – keyborad, Walk on By
“Torrey brings the Jazz vibes to this album and always seems to know what chords to play to make me smile.”
Paul Kruger – trumpet, Woman of Africa
“Paul understands the essence of the song while bringing in the vibe of Thomas Mapfumo’s Chimurenga style.”
Ratie D currently performs in Eugene Oregon where she has been received well at festivals like Northwest Reggae Fest, Oregon Country Fair and Portland Pan African Festival