Transcending time, A Nehoreka Band's tale


By Tawanda Ngena
In spite of the steady progress made in recent years and that has to a certain degree seen the local music market take shape, veteran broadcaster and musician, Percy Nhara reckons there is a lot more that still needs to be done.
The Nehoreka band frontman pointed to a few areas that he felt needed to be addressed if the industry is to stand a chance.
'Music in Zimbabwe is not yet an industry but in terms of creativity Zimbabwe has an abundance of it, some of the finest in the world and you can't deny that. The problem comes when those that are then showcased, to the nation and the rest of the world, for one reason or another are the mediocre artists. It would seem like our country has no talent scouts to speak of when 90% of the artists popular locally don't stand a chance beyond our own boarders!
"Day in and day out, our media still portrays these same artists as the 'stars' of Zimbabwean music. What I know and what a lot of people will agree with is that there are artists who are making good music out there, all kinds but its not reaching the audience because our media is not doing its job.
"Music is no longer about how good you are, it is now about how the amount of dollars that accompany it. Our media has to come to the party by objectively reporting and covering the arts in all its variance and not be stereotyped or swayed by the khaki envelop. Zimbabwe has all types of music, from rock, jazz, soul, reggae rhumba and an even larger pool of artists making it on the international scene but unknown back home but will never be known or heard of locally because our media is forgetting its role", said Nhara.
The Harare based musician went on to add that the Government also has a key role to play and that recognition of this sector and what it has to offer was a good place to start.
"By failing to fully appreciate the benefits, let alone existence of such a thing as music/arts industry, our Government is contributing to the death of an industry, which is why music is just a desk in the ministry of agriculture", he said.

We sought to find out more about the band, Nehoreka and how it was fairing locally and abroad.
"Every day is a fighting day. Outside Zimbabwe l would say recognition has been coming and we are building a solid base of loyal fans, we have performed in places like Swaziland, Uganda, Mozambique, Belgium, Germany, Canada, Poland, Finland, Mali, and Senegal, to mention a few. In such countries music listenership is not stereo-typed, they just like good music. Locally, its been in fits and starts, but slowly we are getting there, like that old saying goes, you surely can't keep a good man down", said Nhara.

Nehoreka was formed in the city of Gweru in 1998 and has four studio albums to datedate, namely 'Magagada' (1998), 'Pfimbi Yangu' (2011), 'Shoka' (2013) and 'Gogogoi' (2016).
The 7-member band is made up by Percy Nhara on Lead vocals, Lovemore Ndhlovu on bass guitar, Adam Muchenje on drums, Leroy Nyamande on the keys, Rodney Roda on lead guitar plus the new additions, Shamie Mutize on backing vocals and Tinashe Mupambawashe. All the musicians in the band have their own solo careers together they form, Nehoreka band.
"I started off as a member of the reggae outfit, Mansouljah and PACE but being an artist l decided to start my own thing because l felt creative-wise, l was not really in my space and as much as l enjoyed performing reggae it wasn't reflecting me as an individual. So l got together with my friends, Solomon Jahwi, Innocent Madamombe, and Wesley Faku and we formed Nehoreka, we would use session musicians as instrumentalists.
"Together we recorded our first album called Magagada, the title track went on to be a hit on the then Zbc's 3Fm (now PowerFm) and was number 1 for almost two months. The album also produced a hit in 'Ndatsvaga Ndashaya' which was also number 1 for close to four weeks on 3Fm's top twenty", explained Nhara.

The name Nehoreka itself is derived from the lion totem, 'Shumba Murambwi'.

The collective's genre of music is described as 'Majukwa'/Afro fusion. Majukwa refers to the traditional Karanga music and dance such as Mhande and Mbakumba.
Those traditional sounds, fused with modern genres such as reggae, jazz, rock, Zouk and other worldly beats are what gave birth to 'Majukwa'.

Having travelled all over the world and graced many a stage, we asked the musician which moments stood out for him,
"l cherish everyday of my life, its a sign He (God) has given me another opportunity to make a difference. If you say memorable hmmm l would say the Bushfire Festival, that was epic and also the show we shared with Mokoomba at the book Cafe yep it was nice, the most memorable though would be the Belgium tour, that ranks above them all, it was one of our finest times abroad", he said.

Nehoreka is polishing up its act in preparation for a summer in Europe and also working on more singles, videos and collaborations.
"Over the years there has been a lot of ocal musicians whose music l have liked sadly though most of them have passed on, so we are doing collaborations with the ones that are living. Such artists as Jonah Moyo, Kessia Magosha, Mansouljah, Clare Nyakudyara, Tererai Mugwadi, Rockie, and Edith Weutonga just mention a few. These are artists we feel think like us in creative sense", said Nhara.

And on a parting note, he had this to add,
"It is every musician's dream to be recognised by his or her own people, ultimately we would love to see Nehoreka filling up stadia across the country and the globe. Would love to see the Nehoreka brand transcending our time, we certainly would love to win a Grammy award one day, it's the ultimate isn't it......?"


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