…Jah Prayzah a man after God’s own heart
LAST Saturday, Mutare revelers that attended the Jah Prayzah show at Manicaland Motoring Club witnessed an electrifying and unforgettable night of great music and five star performances from all the artists that were billed to perform.
The lanky multi-award winning musical genius, Jah Prayzah, as usual gave a scintillating performance. The promoters saved the best for the last as Jah Prayzah came on stage at 1am and performed for over two hours giving his fans an unexpected overeat of his music. “Just to show how much I love you Mutare,” chanted the multi award winning musician during his act. He normally performs for one and half hours at most of his shows, but went all-out this time.
However, digesting the whole concert, it would be a sham not to mention the show-stopping performances by Feli Nandi and ExQ who beyond doubt stole the limelight and proved to have come-off age as forces not to be ignored in the music business.
Feli Nandi whose real name is Felistus Chipendo, was first to step on stage at 11pm. With her signature African print, Ankara dress, the powerful vocalist and fashion designer looked fabulous. The crowd immediately got ecstatic when her band started playing the instrumental version of her chart buster ‘Ini newe tichiwirirana’ as the soulful diva made her way to the stage. The moment she got on stage and hit the first notes of the song, the crowd became more rapturous and that drew people’s attention towards the stage, which is something that the main act usually does, but Feli Nandi pulled it off and got the pulse of the show fired up.
Her next track was the 2020 hitsong ‘Mufudzi wemombe’, a collaboration song with Trevor Dongo, which resonated well with many of the revelers that sang along to the track which literally became a jingle on radio back in 2020. Each time she sang a song, she shouted ‘Mutare woye! Munopisa’ and the crowd would respond with great cheer.
By the time she played her fourth song, ‘Nguva’, the crowd was heated up. She would have interlude moments where she left the crowd to sing along alone and it was indeed a moment of musical bliss. Whilst Jah Prayzah has a thing for his mbira instrument, Feli Nandi has a knack for her congas percussions. She drove the crowd wild during a recital where she fervently played her personally branded congas percussions and broke into a spirited dance. The powerful vocalist proved to be a superstar rising and why she is now highly ranked amongst the country’s top female performers.
When she sang her latest trending song ‘Mubayei’, the crowd melted to the musical goddess and could not resist singing along to the infectious song. It was purely a magical atmosphere. For an artist that barely has six years in the music industry, the former Mbeu and the Mhodzi Tribe backing vocalist that launched her solo career after a fall out with Mbeu in 2020, attested she has a bright future given her striking stage presence and polished performance. She performed for 45 minutes, but left the crowd begging for more.
After a 15minutes musical break, Mr Putiti as ExQ is affectionately called by his fans was next to perform. He stepped on stage at 12 midnight with his three back up dancers and played to a live band. His stage presence was unbelievable and the energetic performance by his back-up dancers was brilliant and contagious, as it got the crowd all worked out trying to imitate some of their dance choreography. He first sang ‘Gonyera’ a track he collaborated with Zimdancehall superstar Winky D this year. He then belted ‘Try’ another duo song with Ammara Brown, which got the crowd excited, singing along to the chorus.
From there, his act was a mixed bag of blasts from the past during his urban grooves hey days and some from his latest music. The live band renditions were on point and lively to prove that like old wine his musical touch has matured. From humble beginnings in 2000 when he rose to fame with his debut song ‘Musalala’, 23 years down the lane the boy who is now a man has people eating from the palm of his hand commanding a huge following.
From the old urban grooves tracks, he did a slow jam acoustic version of ‘Ndokutevera’ and a jazzy acoustic version of the song ‘Mazirudo’ as well as ‘Maidei’ which were on the famous urban grooves Chamhembe compilation album. Whilst from his more present-day music he upped the tempo with tracks like ‘Chekeche’, ‘Sweeter’, ‘Mwana Iyeyu’ to mention a few.
After his 45 minutes act, popular Mutare DJ Spy, real name Leslie Mwatongera, led a spirited 15 minutes Zimdancehall musical break that kept the fans pumped up for Wagwizi, as Jah Prayzah is affectionately called. Wagwizi came on the stage at 1am and performed until around 3pm. He made a grand entrance that would have made the late king of pop, Michael Jackson, green with envy. Dressed in a stylish, classy blue outfit with matching sun glasses, the lanky dread-locked musician put the icing on the cake to a beautiful concert, mixing his yesteryear songs and latest tracks.
The emotive song ‘Tenda’ opened his act. His band played the instrumental version to the song as Jah Prayzah hummed from backstage making his way to the stage. His security struggled to bar impinging fans in the VIP section that tried to get close up pictures with the celebrity whilst some wanted to just touch him or get a handshake. When he got on stage, he let the band play the instrumental version for a few minutes as he just stood frozen, staring into the crowd and meditating to the melody, then he eventually hit the first notes of the song, sending the highly enthusiastic crowd into a frenzy, -an epic world class style of captivating the crowd-. From there it was non-stop action as he belted songs like ‘Chimwe neChimwe’, ‘Jerusarema’, ‘Hakata’, ‘Hello’, ‘Kure kure’, ‘Chengetedza’, ‘Chiremerera’ to mention a few, till the wee hours of Sunday morning.
Beyond doubt he is now in the international superstar league as he not only exudes the style, but the attitude and finesse. Wagwizi has undoubtedly stepped up in the mould of the late Dr Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi, given his statue of having bagged many recognized local and international awards, as well as commanding huge followings home and abroad wherever he performs. He proved that he is now the darling of Zimbabwean music countrywide, as he now sets record breaking crowd attendances at almost all of his gigs.
On the local front the songstress Rutendo Jackie and her Afro Blue Band raised the bar when they opened the show. Her soulful and engaging Afro jazz music was soothing and her recital was flawless. DJ Spy who was one of the local promoters of the show said official ticket sales were 3700, excluding complimentary and promotion tickets given to stakeholders, so the attendance should have been over 4000 people.
Manicaland Motoring Club chairman Vonesi Masanganise said he was happy about the overwhelming turnout. He thanked the Harare based promoter, Capital Promotions, for a well-organized show.
“The security was impressive as we had few incidents of violence reported. Even the set up was superb to make the show flow smoothly. We had a very good show, in fact it was one of the most successful shows we have ever had at Motoring in terms of turnout and excellent security as well as crowd control,” said Masanganise.
He however said the porous spots not yet fenced at the club remain a concern but promised that the club is working on it.
“We are grateful to all the music promoters we have worked with over the years. As Motoring Club we are open for entertainment, especially the big concerts or even local bands that want to promote their music to mature crowds during weekends, this is the ideal place for them,” he said.
Masanganise said in December they are anticipating to host two events, one concert will be early December and the other will be a New Year’s eve cross over gig. He said the promoters are still finalizing with the artists they want to bring.
Manicaland Motoring Club has now cemented its reputation as the most sought after inner-city outdoor venue for big music concerts because of its spacious nature. The arena can accommodate about 5000 people without restrictions.