Trust Khosa, Assistant News Editor
Leonard Zhakata’s long serving choreographer, dancer and backing vocalist, Maxwell “Yuki” Kanzara, has gone solo for now.
After 21 years of entertaining Zora cadres, as Zhakata’s legion of fans are fondly known, he has decided to flip through the pages of his long-kept songbook and test the musical waters.
Not only has Yuki shaken the dust off the songbook, he has since turned some of the song into an album titled Signal.
His is indeed a real “signal” to both old and new Zora cadres that the Zimbabwe All Stars (Zhakata’s group) is laden with talent.
The eight track, due for release later this month, was recorded at Gart Studio and mixed and mastered by veteran producer Bothwell Nyamondera.
Not only has Yuki passed the Nyamhondera test, he has also received the backing on his paymaster who has always allowed other band members to work on solo projects.
On this project, says Yuki, Zhakata was the one who gave him the greenlight and even approved and certified all the tracks.
These comprise Sarua Wako, Nguva featuring Trymore Bande, Pindirai featuring Vabati VaJesu, Shingirira, Pfuma, Wongorora and Nhare.
The 39-year-old took the opportunity to clear the air on his stance after recording a solo album.
“I’m still a Zora cadre and artiste but I felt that there was need for me to record an album and here if I can sing.
“I have a number of songs that I keep in my songbook and I have decided to empty some of them on lockdown and test the market.
“It’s not like I am trying to leave Zhakata but I am experimenting and it’s up to the people to judge is it is a good album or note,” he said.
“What really prompted me to go into the studio is the fact that I didn’t want to be idle on lockdown since shows have been suspended.
“Only virtual shows are allowed but not all music groups get the exposure to perform at this high profile shows.
“With the help of individuals, I have managed to record this eight track album and I hope fans will enjoy the album from all the eight songs on this album.”
Asked how he was managing on lockdown, the father of two said:
“I have been selling second hand clothes in Glen View and I mainly deal with children’s wear since their clothes are on demand.
“It’s however not easy because of competition but I am happy because God is doing wonders for us to be able to pull through during this trying times.
“To my boss Zhakata, he been doing his best to keep the band intact but there comes a time when one needs to do a side hustle and not lay all the eggs in one basket.
“These are some of the lessons we learnt during the Covid-19 era where it is not easy to make ends meet.
“The pandemic is affecting a lot of us and musicians are not spared so we need to think outside the box.”
Yuki is not the first Zora artiste to record a solo project while still serving their paymaster.
Zhakata is widely believed to be an open minded boss who gives his members chances and opportunities to experiment by recording solo albums.