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Macheso vs Ngwazi: Who hit the right chord?

03 Jul 2022 at 09:14hrs | Views
The debate has been raging like a wild fire for almost a week now, and sungura music fans are clearly divided.

The question has not been about who is better between veteran sungura musician Alick Macheso and Mark Ngwazi, the upstart.

The debate has been centered on the two musicians' recently released albums coming within just a week of each other, with Macheso having the first bite.

Which is a better album between Macheso's "Tinosvitswa Nashe" and Ngwazi's "Nharo Nezvinenharo"? Well, that has been the cause of all the shouting in bars, buses, at workplaces and other social gatherings.

Social media platforms, almost all of them, have been agog with the debate.

Some believe the fact that Ngwazi's album is being compared to that of Macheso speaks volumes about the young musician's potential.

But there are also two issues in this debate: either Ngwazi has scaled lofty heights and pipped over Macheso or Macheso has climbed down to lower levels of being compared with the so-called novices.

Either way, Ngwazi's latest album has catapulted him to lofty heights to the extent of being compared with a veteran of Macheso's stature.

It does not matter if it is Macheso who lowered his standards, the comparison still brings a good feeling to Ngwazi, does it not?

So fierce has been the debate that some cunning fans have created fake social media accounts for Ngwazi, stocking fires for the young artiste by pitting him against other musicians and even politicians.

And Ngwazi has been forced on several occasions to rebuke those behind such acts.

"That Facebook account is not mine," he once said. "Some unscrupulous elements created it to bring trouble for me. It is being used to abuse fellow musician and politicians in order to bring me down. My own official account has more than 50 000 followers. That one being abused is not mine.''

Sungura is sungura, the twing-twang of the guitars sounds the same all over, the arrangement also appears the same, but there is that little touch that makes one a cut above the rest in this genre.

Macheso has been on the scene for a long time, well before Ngwazi dreamt he would one day be recognised as a musician.

But those who have followed his steady rise know that this latest offering is his album number six.

If Ngwazi is dismissed as a copycat, like others are saying, then he is a good one who has perfected the art and appears to have overshadowed his master.

Why are sungura music lovers comparing Ngwazi and Macheso and not other musicians?

Some believe that this is so because Ngwazi is the man of the moment, and this has been cemented by him being compared with a giant like Macheso.

Those in Macheso's camp believe it is an injustice to attempt to elevate Ngwazi to the level of Macheso.

They argue that their hero is a veteran in all aspects of sungura from his guitar antics, his fancy footwork and cohesive lyrics.

On stage, Macheso becomes a real beast that explodes in many ways.

But many will agree that since the departure of his erstwhile competitor Tongai Moyo, Macheso took a hiatus.

Remember, in the early 2000 it was the Macheso anthem everywhere.

Macheso has made a huge mark in the industry which is difficult to erase, but he should continue to up his game.

With the new crop of sungura musicians being churned out nowadays, he may find his crown gone, like it almost did or it actually did, this time around.

One good thing about the Ngwazi factor – like or hate him – is that it awakens the "sleeping giant" Macheso.

Of course, Macheso does not have to prove that he is the greatest in sungura at the moment, but he should know that competition is only healthy when you stay at the top.

The Herald on Saturday Lifestyle earlier this week took a survey in the streets, including having a chat with some renowned musicians, about who struck the right chords between Macheso and Ngwazi on their latest albums.

Some queried if it was necessary to have such a debate.

"I have listened to both albums and have appreciated both talents," said Brian Midzi (38) of Chitungwiza. "Macheso is king, a guru and we can't dispute that. Ngwazi is still a baby, given a chance he should go and meet Baba Sharo for further lessons.

"His music is nothing new, it's like he has taken Macheso's instrumental arrangements and put his voice. I stand with Macheso."

Midzi, a carpenter by profession, said Macheso should be respected.

Another Macheso vivid fan, Angelica Muchangati of Highfields in Harare, said she would do anything in support of Macheso.

She said she grew up listening to Macheso.

"I am trying my best to check where the argument is coming from," said Muchangati. "I am a die-hard fan of Macheso and he deserves a best place in heaven. His lyrical genius and dance moves makes me go wild.

"I think Macheso music should be the only one played on radio. His latest album "Tinosvitswa Nashe" is entertaining and educating."

Stewart Rupiya said Macheso is the "G.O.A.T"

"Comparing Macheso with Ngwazi is an insult," he said. Macheso chibaba, case closed. No one should say that the musician has lost touch because of Covid-19 pandemic. Do you know we have some fans who travel all the way from Beitbridge, Masvingo or Mutare to come to Harare for Macheso's shows. This makes Ngwazi look like a baby in sungura music."

But those in support of Ngwazi note that he has given Macheso a torrid time, hence the debate elevating him to the top table of sungura musicians.

"This latest album "Nharo Nezvinenharo" from Mark Ngwazi is the best," said Maria Mukwenha, who sells Bibles along First Street in Harare. "I should not talk about anyone besides him. His lyrical content is top notch.

"Macheso's yesteryear music lyrical content was par excellence compared to now. It is no longer rich. Let Ngwazi shine. He just need coaching on guitar only, but Ngwazi all the way."

Tanaka Garwe could not hide his joy for Ngwazi, as he sang his songs before showering praises on him.

"They may say that Ngwazi is a baby, but have you listened to his lines on this latest album," he said. "Nyaradzo yababa ngaidzokorodzwe katatu, Nyaradzo yamai ngaitwe mundege…"

"Macheso has made a name we agree, but this time around you cannot compare his album with that from Ngwazi. Ngwazi ma one and we rally behind him. He has mastered the art and love for people.

"Ngwazi sings societal settings. His guitar skills are good. Zvaizvezvi Macheso ngaabvume akarohwa nemupfana wechidiki (Macheso should admit he has been defeated by a younger person).

Whichever side one is, it seems this debate will continue for a long to come, and even up to the next albums from the two musicians.

Let's just hope they will continue on this path of releasing their albums at the same time.

Source - The Herald
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