1 February 2017
Gospel musician Charles Charamba and wife Olivia need no introduction on the local music landscape.
For close to two decades, the first family of gospel has been changing people’s lives with their music and sermons.
However, the revered couple appeared to have taken a backseat in the last few years owing to a number of commitments.
Below is the message from the Charambas as they share their thoughts on the future of the genre, their vision and what they have in store for their fans. Read on…
In the year 2017, we are basically resuming our duties including releasing music, videos as well as taking music to the people.
We are going to carry out workshops to educate budding artists as we constantly receive too many requests from them to share with them on the major aspects in music that include music composition, and grooming among other topics.
We, however, won’t rush to organise concerts because people need to harvest first.
The year 2016 was not much of a fabulous year for our fans but it was good for us as Fishers of Men, and what we managed to cover in it is definitely going to please our followers.
In respect to music production, we were busy but we suspended the traditional events we used to organise.
Since we joined the music fraternity, we had never taken a rest.
We afforded a bit of it in 2016.
In the previous years, our growing family used to miss us, particularly during festive seasons.
We were available for them.
We were able to cheer up Shalom our eldest daughter as she was sitting for “A” level examinations, and we thank God that she attained a positive result.
We feel that the low profile we adopted is also healthy for fellow and emerging artists.
It’s only fair to give others space, this is kingdom business.
Yes we appreciate it’s an industry but it has been prudent to allow other voices to be heard as well.
The genre has not low, it’s among the top.
The fact that my wife and I haven’t released for a while doesn’t mean the genre is down.
There are a countless artistes out there who have been releasing good music.
And the good reception accorded to the recent genres such as Zimdancehall do not attest to the downfall of the existing styles like Gospel.
Kupemberera mwana mutsva hazvireve kuti vakuru havachisina basa.
Zimbabweans did well to welcome a home-grown version of dancehall.
It should be known that this beautiful music style or any other that may be unleashed in the future will never eclipse or wipe out gospel from the musical landscape, we can only co-exist.
As gospel musicians, we also don’t wish to decimate any other good genre and that shall only happen in heaven when heaven comes down.
To take gospel music to higher places, artistes in the genre need to be more innovative.
We need to be consistent, and our music has to address the spiritual needs of the populace.
To be frank, I have no challenges of note.
According to the commission I received from God on 19 December 1992, I thank the Holy Spirit for leading me this far.
Studying was and is very necessary for me and gone are the days when studies used to interfere with my release schedule.
Of course, I acknowledge there have been some hiccups in the past but I have now realigned my wheels, ready to resume.
The good thing about Gospel music is that it is Word inspired, so, during our sabbatical, we were sure that the existing songs still ministered a lot in the absence of new releases.
On that note, theological studies shaped my perception on scripture, and consolidated my spiritual standing.
Studying music helped me to visualise who I am musically as well as giving me an insight on music transcription.
I am able to understand the nuances of sound such that I know how to incorporate certain ingredients into my music.
Every style that I have used on my music before is still within me.
I have been letting out everything loaded in me without settling on yesteryear’s release.
It’s healthy for me as a composer. I think my biggest challenge has been releasing after too long, not the style.
I have always apologised to my fans for not releasing more frequently.
No amount of pressure or influence can directly or indirectly push me into composing something I don’t desire.
I thank God for my understanding of music; it has not enough power to sway me, I can only sway it.
Our forthcoming releases are going to address the concerns of such critics.
There’s a certain sound that should be associated with my country, for that I will stand to be an ambassador in respect to that sound.
Of course, we can always fuse with what’s trending out there but I feel that sound will never be a problem in as far as my music is concerned.
I really do not take anyone for a copycat.
Some musicians would have been obsessed with my songs before venturing into music.
Many tell me that they would have imitated my singing while assessing their vocal abilities.
After passing personal auditions they choose music as a career.
Due to the fact that most of them are youngsters, I hold no grudge with any as I am convinced that they are inspired.
I, however, discourage the marketing of someone’s music in my name because it is tantamount to crime.
Copying musical works phrase for phrase is also not welcome.
I have learnt that most of the so called copycats don’t really participate in the actual construction of their songs.
Most just sing and the instrumentation is usually done in their absence.
I implore the public to understand and embrace them. As someone who was also inspired by other musicians, my advice to the artists is that they should work hard to distinguish the music they like from the one they make.
God wants to view your musical work in your original form.
MAI CHARAMBA SUPPRESSION?
I respect critics (who think I do suppress Mai Charamba) them for they have the right to their views.
It’s, however, far from being true though; I am her most loyal supporter.
Due to my privilege of being closer to her, I am already enjoying the songs she has completed recording.
I may not understand critics’ perspective of ‘solo’, she exercises her autonomy.
I can’t suppress someone whom I encouraged to consider recording.
You can kindly check with her for first hand information. What I know about our set up is that we are two distinct artists who take turns to assist each other, although I do much of the composing.
Our previous album was collaborated on, it’s neither unilaterally mine nor hers.
I am happy with the way she has executed her duties, being a mother of school-going children as well.
CHILDREN ON MUSIC
Our children are exposed to music but not in a mandatory fashion.
They have choices to make and if music becomes a part of their choices, it has to be out of their own volition.
Biblically, God calls a family as is the case with the calling of Abraham which extended to Isaac, Jacob and the all the descendants.
So, the musical DNA is apparent and evident in all of them.
They are embracing music literacy. They are exhibiting composing capabilities as well.
We are offering them some assistance and guidance in terms of music education. With children you can only get that far, otherwise they burn-out early and lose interest.
We like touring but we are not obsessed especially when circumstances are not clear.
Firstly, we are going to focus on our “Jerusalem” which is Zimbabwe and later perform outside.
We are hoping to resume tours in Australia, UK, Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique as time progress.
Our principle is that we tour as a band not lead singers.
Our vision as Fishers of Men is to participate in our God-given mandate ie composing, recording and performing Christian music with diligence and excellence.
To produce a music that convince and converts souls to Christ. The world is our audience but Zimbabwe comes first!
There is not much to say on piracy because we have, unfortunately embraced it as a society.
It’s unfair to point fingers at anybody because we have collectively embraced it into our culture though it has inflicted unbearable pain on most artists.
Just imagine, in the book industry: books are photocopied with no appreciation to the brains that do the hard work.
If we say, at least the musician can somehow pay for the costs of his/her production through live concerts, how is the book-writer going to cater for theirs? We need to have a collective rethink so that we redress our creative industry.
A number of online or internet-related platforms are at least incentivising artists though the volumes and magnitude can’t compare to yesteryear standards.
Sunday Service (2002)
Verses and Chapters (2004)
Live at HICC ( 2005)
New Testament in song (2007)
Pashoko Pangoma (2010)
I have got a number of them, I have lost count; I sincerely appreciate them as well as the awarding institutions but I can’t settle in my head.
I am a music educator, I conduct workshops. I am a preacher of the Word; I preach at church and get invited elsewhere. I adjudicate on music, offer consultancy and also a farmer.
My wife and I also have made own investments that are able to sustain us. Besides, we have “faith’ which is one of our biggest assets.
It occurred sometime when I entered without knocking into a house during one of our tours in London, England in years gone by.
I had just strolled along the street sending off a visitor.
On returning, I didn’t figure that house I was entering just looked like the one I needed to get into, they were so similar.
I entered with confidence, only to come across a little girl who was playing video games.
She raised alarm and the parents emerged from different directions.
Fortunately, these residents were friendly and gave me correct directions. We laughed it off together but I felt a bit bad about it. That was my own version of ” Charamba goes to London”.
There are too many to mention.
To receive an affirmation from the then sister Olivia Maseko that she loved me in 1996.
The other one i remember took place in 1976. I was young and my uncle John Abraham Sabau arrived at our rural homestead from Harare. Upon welcoming him, he handed me a green fruit that I didn’t cherish at face value because I took it for a row tomato. I took chances after being encouraged to have a bite and I was overwhelmingly excited with the taste. That was my first time to eat an apple. The experience is unforgettable
MESSAGE TO ZIM
God is faithful, we have received the rains we missed so much. The Almighty has played His part, we need to play ours.
Let’s preserve our resources. Because of our lack of care, these rains can also be a source of worry as fields and homes may be eroded.
Lets resuscitate our drainage systems that include contours in rural areas. Lets clean up our cities to prevent disease outbreaks. Our tears are being wiped and let open our eyes to observe this divine gestur . Musatyaire makadhakwa, mega blessings !
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