Zim dancehall crosses the mighty Limpopo
By Munashe Rungano
Popular recording label Chillspot Records have found a second home in Cape Town South Africa as the first stride on their quest of spreading the Zim dancehall movement to the Sadc region.
The Mbare based studios which boast of nurturing great Zim dancehall talents such as Seh Calaz,Soul Jah Love and Kinnah has from 2014 been steadily trying to break new grounds in the region through their recently opened Cape Town music studios.
In an exclusive interview with the Showbiz the brains behind the project Samson Gwanzura popularly known as Sam Chris in the Zimdancehall music circles said Chillspot was a family institute aimed at achieving greatness and filling up untapped gaps in the fast growing Zimbabwean music genre hence the decision came about to launch the SA base.
Sam Chris, who just turned 24 attributed the success of the venture to his brother ace producer Levels and Hussein Guti better known as Saddam.
“All the credit should go to the Chillspot family who trained me to be the producer l am and gave me the zeal to push for the expansion of the Zim dancehall territory into the unlikely South African music market,” he said
As a true sign of a mission accomplished Gwanzura said many artistes are trekking in from back home in Zimbabwe to ride on riddims from his handwork.
“The response is overwhelming our studios have hosted a number of the current cream in Zim dancehall namely Winky D, Soul Jah Love and Shinso this is just an extension of the great work we have been doing since the inception of Chillspot just that we are taking it on to another dimension,” said Sam Chris
Gwanzura said though they were excited by working with the seasoned artistes; their main objective was to rear and raise the unknown and upcoming Zim dancehall talent in South Africa.
“There is some abundant raw talent out there especially the ghetto youths who came out here for greener pastures unfortunately most of them can’t afford to come back home frequently for recordings so we brought the opportunity to their disposal,” he said
The vision which only started as targeted in elevating Zim dancehall in the region via the Western Cape Town has also seen the Cape Town based record label working with artistes from as far as Nigeria and the DRC, a development which has been described by the young producer as encouraging and motivational.
“This project has opened up avenues to our record label as now we have broken the monopoly of focusing only on dancehall music. From where we stand now the sky is the limit as far as music production is concerned,” he said.
Turning on to marketing Sam Chris said they were currently working hand in glove with Chillspot Zim in parading the array of talent they uproot in South Africa. We obviously can’t compete for air play here as they put their own local music at the fore front so we heavily depend on our Mbare based label on the marketing side as they are on the ground back home were Zim dancehall is embraced.
The Zim dancehall fever has already gripped Capetown with the number of upcoming artistes under the label’s tutelage growing notably Dr Abuja and Ras Boots and most of them also getting to share the stage whenever the big names in the genre grace the town.
However it goes without saying that it’s not a walk in the park as they are still to complete their wish list
“We are still striving to get recognition especially from the local broadcasters, our desire is to get air play on Mtv and Channel O and exhaust all media avenues in bringing Chillspot and Zim dancehall to the world,” said Gwanzura
“Another limitation is funding. We still lack finance in sponsoring and promoting the vast talent which we continue to realise.”
Chillspot Records also comprises revered producer DJ Fantan and together with such stables as Bodyslam and Mt Zion, is responsible for the crafting of the genre as a powerhouse on the local front.