Vusa Mkhaya back with new offing
By Zandile Zaza Ndlovu
Scathamiya or Maskandi music lovers who enjoy rich African sound, traditional drums, and acoustic guitars will be pleasantly surprised by this latest offering from Vusa Mkhaya as he takes you on his personal life’s journey from the heartlands of Ntabazinduna (the Mountain of Kings) near Bulawayo in Zimbabwe.
Infused with traditional Ndebele sounds, folklore, Afro jazz and contemporary soft rock influences, UManyanyatha is an album that captures the sounds like those from Johnny Clegg and Savuka, Youssor N’dour, Salif Keita to name a few.
UManyanyatha is Mkhaya’s third offering after having released The Spirit of Ubuntu and Vocalism.
With over twenty years in the music industry, having toured the world extensively with the Acappella trio INSINGIZI winning numerous international music awards along the way, the new album is quite important and personal to Mkhaya.
It narrates his life story as a young boy under the watchful eye of his grandmother.
Most Zimbabweans and Africans can relate to the role of the extended family and having powerful matriarchs run the family.
Even though his grandmother was illiterate, her wisdom was unquestionable and vast, and helped shape his life and the man he is today.
The title track Manyanyatha can be said to be a prophetic nickname given to Mkhaya by his uncle Roger Mabhena, who spotted the musical talent of the then toddler, who would become energetic, dance and sing to every song he heard.
With any country that has its people striving for various freedoms, be they financial social or political, Lizobuya meaning The Return, is a song that continues Mkhaya’s story narrating the hopes of one day having the land and freedom returned to the people.
Lalela which means listen, is a song about paying attention and heeding advice, a core value that Mkhaya respects.
Life has many cycles and is ever revolving with various mixed emotions.
At times we experience pain and sadness.
Siyeza is a melancholic song rigged with deep emotion of loss.
Written after the loss of his mother, he narrates and consoles himself through this song as he speaks to his mother, asking her to advise the ancestors and those that are departed, to help prepare a place for him as one day he too will join them. This is a track that any bereaved person can relate to as one yearns for the departed relative.
However there is a glimmer of hope as one listens to Uthando a track about the power of love and explores how it helps even the meekest get the strength to openly declare their affection after finding that special someone.
Bayakhala was penned by Sello Chicco Twala and adapted by Mkhaya to suit the realities most families face as a result of unemployment that often forces people into crime leaving their loved ones weeping after their incarceration.
Naisiyai is a love song dedicated to that special someone in your life. Mkhaya narrates the next leg of his life’s journey talking about his decision to leave home and leave his beloved Zimbabwe to go seek greener pastures internationally.
The song Abalalanga tells the plight of the migrant, of the sleepless nights and tough journey and how this is a universal issue. Zhiya is a traditional Ndebele song sung by warriors as they prepare to leave home for battle. In this instance it is Mkhaya’s battle cry announcing to his father that he is leaving home and is ready to face the world. Through his personal life stories, UManyanyatha is an album that appeals to all generations young and old.
The album is a refreshing sound that would make you want to experience the African way of life.
For the long drive or journey you are about to embark on, the person who loves to listen to music while they work, that philanthropic individual who loves to reflect on life, that
Christmas or birthday gift to buy for your friends and family, or that relaxing moment when you want to listen to music for the mature, then UManyanyatha is the right investment.
The CD will be launched on November 24 at the Roots Music From Southern Africa Festival in Reigen Vienna Austria and will also be available on iTunes, Spotify and other online music stores.
Listeners can also order on www.mkhaya.net.
Mkhaya can be reached on Twitter: @VuMkhaya, Instagram: Mkhaya_official, Facebook: Vusa Mkhaya and email email@example.com