Art as Culture’s medicine ball . Zimbabwean Music Industry

Everywhere we go, we find different people of different origins with different practices. Culture is significant through different acts and events that portray it. The most effective way of identifying oneself with culture is through art. There is nothing as amazing as showing one’s identity through entertainment. We love to listen to music that we can relate to. Today I’m discussing few issues that arise in Zimbabwe music industry whenever culture is of concern.
In this period of time, art is proving to be a strengthener and muscle coordinator to Zimbabwe’s culture.

By John Chikate

Whenever we forget about some of our cultural dictates, there is always a musician or entertainer who usually pops up with a reminder.

Whenever we sit back and relax in the name of ‘modern times’, Jah Prayzah pops up reminding us of the need to consult our traditional healers for important domestic answers. His song Hakata from the famous 2018 Chitubu album echoes this discussion. On the other hand, artists like Andy Muridzo and Winky D also often bring out identity to the world through wearing of traditional attires, with the latter employing self proclamation of a spirit medium in the album Gombwe. Originality in music can also be influenced by the culture which is significant in the location where genres are developed.

Culture is important in making creators’ content original and timeless. Also, art is an important tool for putting our Zimbabwean culture out to the universe.

The underestimated ignorance:

As much as we love our culture and sometimes find ourselves radical with it, musicians should not strain themselves economically in the name of cultural patriotism. Remember every recording artist’s aim is to keep growing in terms of their following. Big musicians evolve from targeting the local to targeting the international ear. In this case, multiculturalism should be employed in order to grow as a brand.

Musical acts should not neglect their need to embrace different foreign cultures just because they don’t want to be deemed ‘sellouts’. It is not bad to employ some few western cultural references in one’s musical work. When you are singing for Indians, it is not a crime to try palak paneer or Chana masala in your music video. There is a difference between impersonation and exploration. This is how we grow as Zimbabwean entertainers in the global eye.

A good artist treats his creativity with a business mind, and a good businessman is not reluctant to explore different cultures and practices. 

Finally, one does not need to go Elvis on other genres of music as a desperate seeking of wide recognition. It is simple. You don’t need to make a whole pop album to be recognized in the pop culture. A local album with 10 tracks can make use of even a single track to reflect on other cultural atmospheres. The goal is not to seek acceptance, but to make your targeted audience relate comfortably with your creative content.

Art is important in putting our cultural identity to the world. Art should not be used to discredit foreign cultures. Art should encourage unity

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