WEANED from the hands of sungura greats Nicholas Zakaria and Alick Macheso, Simon Mutambi is proving his maturity through his compositions, lyrics and guitar playing prowess.

Mutambi’s latest six-track offering, Uchataura Zvese, which becomes his 10th album, demonstrates how he has matured just like wine with age.

Songs on the album such as Zvinamatire, Dananai Kwenyu Ikoko, Danwa Nemutupo, Murombo, Tariro and Zvinoita Rudo, touch on several themes such as respect and love, among others.

The song Murombo, loosely translated as a poor or disadvantaged person, starts with a bass opening and a chorus calling for equal treatment of both the poor and rich.

On the song, Mutambi emphasises that in life everyone, whether rich or poor, is equally important and has the right to live decently. On this 13-minute track offering, the singer stresses that the two classes need each other. He points out that the disadvantaged request money from the rich to feed their families, while the rich also asks for help from the “poor”.

Mutambi urges rich people to respect the poor and the latter to also respect the former since they both require the assistance of each other to balance the life equation. A list of rich businesspeople is called to action to help the poor just before a lead guitar comes in, followed by yet another solo by the so-called rhythm master. The bass guitar alternates from heavy bass anchors to elaborate solos, and the drummer closes with a solo, while the bass rumbles in the background.

In Zvinoita Rudo, Mutambi narrates tribulations that can be faced by married partners. The song pitches the proverb love is blind. Through the track, Mutambi highlights that couples can wed, build a house together, but with no true love between them. This is portrayed by part of the song’s lyrics: “Kuchata mese pasina rudo zviriko (you can wed in the absence of love). The song peddles contrasting patterns of guitar playing as he gives lots of examples of mismatches and perfect matches in love affairs. A repeated theme of virtuosity through solos becomes Mutambi’s trademark on this album.

The song Zvinamatire warns against gossiping and rumour mongering. The song’s message speaks to gossipers to pray for themselves to rid themselves of the bad spirit of gossiping. The harmony, elaborate, catchy, captivating and synching melodies of the lead and bass guitars on the song are amazing. Mutambi sings that pastors preach the word of God to strengthen people’s lives, while gossipers spread jealousy and hate.

He urges such people to seek God’s mercy in prayer. On the track, Mutambi does not only show his guitar playing prowess, but also demonstrates good vocals as he urges gossipers to introspect and pray against the bad habit of gossiping saying: “Vanokuti Ziana inofambisa mashoko” (they call you Ziana, which distributes information). Solos from the bass, lead and the rhythm guitars characterise the song to its end. The album’s theme and title are also pronounced through this

On the slow tempo Dananai Kwenyu Ikoko, Mutambi makes a call to people to consider dating only those close by and not someone far away.

The drum introduces the song, followed by a tight arrangement of highly elaborate melodies of harmonised guitars which have alternating solo segments.

Through the song, Mutambi further advises that in order for lovers to protect their relationships they should always be together. He gets sarcastic when he says it is a waste of time to have a distant relationship, especially when one wants to take his or her beloved one to either Macheso, Zakaria or Mutambi’s live shows.

The 14-minute song, Tariro calls for emotional intelligence in family relationships because people end up resorting to gender-based violence due to lack of patience and hope. Mutambi advises wives to have hope in their marriages, noting that marriages might have problems, but issues can be solved in a peaceful manner.

Part of the track’s lyrics advise: “Dzora hasha mudiwa ugova ambuya (control your anger darling to live longer). The singer also urges wives not to give up on their marriages. He gives an example that sometimes a husband might come home late or drunk, but that should not deter happiness in a marriage.

Mutambi makes a call to men that for them to gain the respect of their spouses they should respect them in every way possible through the song Danwa Nemutupo. The song opens with a unison introduction of three guitars and gets into the main message of respect in relationships. It gets into jags before it develops into a fast horse race dancing style called ezamabhiza, affectionately known as Borrowdale, a trait borrowed from sungura kingpin

Part of its lyrics goes: “Ruremekedzo rwaamai anokupa ukamurezva sepwere (she will respect you if you treat her like a baby). On this song, the youthful singer is advising men to make their wives happy so as to get their respect. Exciting parallels between the bass and lead guitars entice listeners, while dancers scramble for space.

Mutambi’s new offering is, indeed, a gem worth owning.

Source Newsday