Were — the next big thing

WERE, an exciting music outfit that exudes confidence on the stage, have recorded nine songs for their 10-track debut album set for release at the end of March.

BY GARIKAI TUNHIRA

Some of the Were group members

Some of the Were group members

The album, which is being recorded by Craig Borne, is expected to see them scale dizzy heights.

The youthful group comprises four males and two females, who started by playing musical instruments in 2011 in Chitungwiza, before deciding to form a band two years later.

The ensemble comprises Silas Muzira, Blessing Machemedze, Vakai Nhunge, Lindiwe Mavhunga, Kuda Mpure and lead vocalist Chipo Bvulango.

“We use the mbira and keyboard as a base for composing all our songs. We derived our band name, Were, from the word mawere, to loosely mean we are a force to reckon,” the band leader, Muzira, said.

“We play an intoxicating fusion of tribal and contemporary African music, which always engages the audience. We blend modern and traditional instruments, using the mbira and shakers, paired with tearing vocals to create an energetic stage performance.”

The female vocalists incorporate a variety of percussion instruments such as congas, mbira and hosho into repertoires that are deeply rooted in traditional Zimbabwean sounds, he said.

Male members of the group met their two lead vocalists in 2013 through the Jeunesses Musicales International competition held in Norway. That year, they won the Imagine International finals in Kristianand, Norway.

They participated at the World Music Festival in 2013 and 2014, the Chibuku Road to Fame national finals, where they came third.

Were played during the Harare International Festival of the Arts in 2014 as well as the Zimbabwe Cultural Fiesta held at Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton, where they shared the stage with music grandee Oliver Mtukudzi, Mbira dzeNharira and Stella Chiweshe.

Inspired by Senegalese international musician, Salif Keita and local Afro-fusion band, Mokoomba, Were have recorded their songs in Shona, English, Tonga and one, Bereka Mwana Tiende, in Bemba.