In April last year, newspaper headlines began telling the story of popular sungura musician, Alick Macheso, ‘sampling’ new songs off his forthcoming album that had been scheduled for release in August 2017.
By Jairos Saunyama
This saw an upwelling of the numbers of fans at his live shows, as they were keen to sample the new tracks, with the song Kudzwai proving to be the crowd favourite.
August arrived and the Extrabasso, as Macheso is affectionately known, did not deliver as promised. And to date, fans are still waiting despite the star playing most of the songs at his well-attended shows.
It seems like this has become a hobby for Macheso — to keep his legion of fans guessing and waiting with bated breath.
Some of the fans, however, found the waiting unbearable and started questioning if it was really true that there was a new album in the offing.
While people have been waiting for months, Macheso’s publicist, Tich Makahamadze, said the album would be ready soon, as the musician was putting final touches on the project.
This time, Makahamadze did not give the exact date of the much anticipated album.
“The album will out soon. We are in the studio putting final touches,” Makahamadze said, before a show held at the Legends Sport Diner in Marondera on Saturday.
Recently, Makahamadze was quoted saying Macheso was back in studio after taking his annual break and is already preparing for the album launch this “month”.
The album is being recorded at his stable, Alema Studios, in Chitungwiza with veteran producer, Bothwell Nyamhondera, being the main actor.
On his previous album, Tsoka Dzerwendo, Macheso used the same delaying tactic and it seemed to have worked as the album did well on the market, selling about 100 000 copies during the first week of release.
Lack of competition as far as the sungura genre is concerned, coupled with the advent of Zimdancehall, have been cited as the reason of Macheso’s laxity.
The death of sungura ace, Tongai Moyo, reportedly drove Macheso into a comfort zone with most of the sungura artists imitating him, hence, less competition.
However, despite his delays in releasing albums, Macheso is currently drawing large crowds at his shows, especially, outside Harare.
In the capital, he has been battling for honours with contemporary musician, Mukudzei Mukombe, popularly known as Jah Prayzah, who is undoubtedly man of the moment.
A local music critic, Takemore Mazuruse, the chairperson of Zimbabwe Business and Arts Hub (ZIBAH), said Macheso’s delays in releasing the album was a result of a musician who had conquered the music world, but said more albums would propel him to greater heights.
“Macheso has self-actualised and the delays should be more to do with that sense of comfort that comes with the realisation that you have reached your apex.
“Yes, there is a whole world to conquer, but he remains buoyed by his rich discography,” he said.
“An album now and then would, however, propel him to unprecedented heights. His workmanship and artistry are obviously undoubted and the music market has for long been starved of his quality productions.”
With March already halfway, it remains to be seen if the Ochestra Mberikwazvo camp will fulfil their promise lest they be tagged serial liars.