Is Zimbabwean Gospel Music defined by the sound, message or both? 

What makes Gospel music, the message, the beat or both? A quick look at past gospel charts versus current charts on different radio stations shows a growing palate for diverse musical sounds. There seem to be no consensus on what is permissible and not in Gospel music.  

By Plot Mhako

There is one versatile artist who has not been afraid to experiment with sounds while keeping the same message of Gospel in her lyrics, Dorothy Chipo.

Dorothy Chipo

Dorothy Chipo is a Christian faith based Singer, Songwriter, Recording & Worship artist. She started on the professional music journey in 2012 when she joined Zimpraise choir and is am currently a member of FIG Worship Culture.

Today she releases a new song titled Trust. Her latest offering is a Gospel-Amapiano track which has provoked a debate within the music circles on whether there are sounds that gospel artists should stay away from.

One artist who seems to be following trend is the artist Fungisayi Zvakavapano, also known as Church person, who branched out with a Gospel Dancehall track and recently Amapiano too.

Dorothy Chipo _ Trust

Dorothy Chipo whilst rooted in Gospel is no stranger to different melodies as she has for a decade recorded songs ranging from Sungura, traditional sound, jazz, Christian contemporary, ballads, hip hop, Urban groves, and other genres while maintaining a constantly biblically based message of hope. 

Are Zimbabwean audience moving away from the cliché of how gospel music should sound? Is there a required sound for gospel music or any sound accompanied with the gospel message is Gospel music?

Dorothy Chipo keeps testing that theory from early on with her first offering, the 2015 album Promises of a brighter day, and the 7 singles released annually since then. I take a look at Dorothy Chipo’s formulae and her latest offering to get a better understanding.

On the song Trust which was produced at Melowex studio, Dorothy Chipo sent the message loud and clear with the deliberate choice of words and languages, all representing the global exposure and multiple cultures that can coexist in one individual.   

Music is a universal language and we hope this song cuts across the walls and distances we have put up because of our diversity and unites us through focusing in trusting God through all situations for a turnaround.

The artist hopes the same will reflect in uniting people with a hopeful message from scripture sung in different languages to best express the lyrics.

Dorothy Chipo

For years in Zimbabwe Gospel music has been defined not only by the message but the instrumentation played an important part and some music genres were no go areas. Over the years the crop of young Gospel artists has boldly crossed and broken barriers in delivering the good word of Christ. However this still experiences a lot of resistance and rejection in some spaces.

In her response Dorothy Chipo says, her aim is to reach people with a message of hope and our songs are the vehicles to achieving that. Many people us are just exhausted about life and it’s easy to give up and seek the seemingly easy way out, every other day someone ends their own life. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Romans 10:11 

Young people are more exposed to different genres and for one to reach their hearts and speak to them it is imperative to use instrumentation and music styles that are more appealing. I look forward to hearing how you interact with the song Trust and how the conversation goes.

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