21 May 2018
. . . artiste adds congas, sax on new album
. . . singer recruits female vocalists
ROMEO Gasa says he has quit the old sungura style as he seeks to penetrate the international market.
Long regarded as Alick Macheso copycat, the 31-year-old says putting him in the same bracket with the crop of youngsters regurgitating the sungura ace’s style was a bit unfair and harsh.
Gasa reckons he has completely changed his sound and those who still liken his style to Macheso were living in the past.
The Extra Valembe boss, who is due to launch his sixth album titled Code 263 in Chinhoyi on Africa Day, says his heart bleeds for upcoming sungura artistes who are still stuck in the past.
True to his claims, Gasa has since added a saxophone, keyboards congas and female vocals in his forth-coming album as he seeks to depart from the tradition.
“Of course I grew up listening to Macheso’s music among other yesteryear stars like Tongai Moyo and Leonard Dembo (both late) but I have since realised there was need for rebranding.
“To ensure that I revamp my music, I have completely changed my sound and moved from that era when the bass lines would dominate my music.
“I have also added a saxophone, keyboards and congas in my new album to ensure that I come up with a completely different sound.
“Of course it’s still sungura but we have since departed from the traditional stuff that people knew,” says the pint-sized singer.
To ensure that he gives fans quality, Gasa says most of his songs were short, sharp and crispy.
“Sungura artistes are known for dragging their songs for more than 10 or so minutes but mine are just short with some as short as four minutes.
“I have realised that we were giving people junk and its high time artistes improvise to be taken seriously.
“At first, it was Macheso who completely changed the game when he left Nicholas Zakaria and copycats couldn’t create something of their own waiting to copy from him.
“As such, I have decided to show the new crop of sungura artistes how it should be done.
“We are still young to sit on our brains and we need to think outside the box.
“In my case, I am now singing in English and all this will be heard in the new album.”
• FEMALE VOCALISTS
Gasa, who experimented by adding female vocalists, says the gamble he made was now paying dividends.
“Two or so years ago, I took a huge gamble when I decided to recruit female backing vocalists and I can safely say I’m being rewarded for my efforts.
“I have even gambled further by taking them (female vocalists) to the studio and you will hear the end results since we are trying to make a difference.
“With all the artistes we have in Zimbabwe, at least we should have one of them being played on regional channels like Trace because we are also talented.
“However, this would never happen if we are not creative and my genuine fears are than we must respect our jobs and be creative.”
• FUTURE PROJECTS
Gasa, who has lined-up massive celebrations in his home town of Chinhoyi on Africa Day, said he was determined to change the game.
“As we seek to capture a new market, we will always strike a balance by not forgetting locals.
“I have always have my loyal fans in mind and the honours lie with me to show them that we have changed the game.
“We will show them who we intend to go about it on the 26th of May in Chinhoyi.
“ I’m ready to change the game and I have also invited fellow artistes of my generation namely Tatenda Pinjisi, Peter Moyo, Simon Mutambi while friends like Carlos Green, Jah Signal and of course my homeboy First Farai will also add decency at the event.”
• BRAND VISIBILITY
The former Chibuku Road to Fame winner says it was also high time he plays his part to ensure sungura gets international recognition.
“Of course the elders like Macheso, Madzibaba, Dembo played their part but they always tell us to be original.
“If we don’t improvise, we won’t go anywhere and it boggles the mind that we are still stuck in the past.
“In my case, I have taken it upon myself to ensure that I also educate my peers to embrace technology for brand visibility.
“I don’t see any reason why the crop of young sungura artistes are not embracing it since they have gadgets like smart phones among others.”
Gasa, however, concedes it won’t be easy for him to meet his goals if he doesn’t enlighten fans on his plans and vision.
“At the moment, I have done my part embracing change and tried to change the game but it requires me to really work hard and enlighten the public.
“But the truth is that as artistes we need to be creative, avoid monotony and think outside the box,” he added.
His forth-coming album carries eight tracks namely Mr Brown, Mashura, Anochema, Mbiri, Valembe vacho, Ndinokuda and Zviroto.