…as measures are tightened ahead of album launch
WHILE it seems the responsible authorities have lost the battle against piracy in Zimbabwe, sungura kingpin, Alick Macheso, who is the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society (ZRCS) humanitarian ambassador, is optimistic that through support from the government and fans something can be done.
Speaking to NewsDay on the sidelines of his first official Press conference – where he spoke about the release and launch of his forthcoming album, Tsoka Dzerwendo, organised by Jive Zimbabwe – Macheso said technology has affected their works unlike in the 1980s.
He appealed for stiffer penalties on pirates ahead of the album launch set for March 21.
“Technology is good, but to us, as musicians, it has destroyed our jobs since our projects are being used to make other people rich while, we as the owners, get nothing. Our government must take action against such individuals,” Macheso said.
“We thank our fans, who have been craving for this new album for a long time and, as Orchestra Mberikwazvo, we listened to their appeals by setting March 21 as the release date of the new album, and we are requesting they buy original CDs as a way of contributing to the welfare of the band members.”
He called on stakeholders to join hands in the fight against piracy.
“The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Music Rights Association and other stakeholders should join hands and approach our government so it can enact laws to punish both the buyer and the seller of pirated CDs,” Macheso said. “These pirates can sell up to 30 000 CDs, make lots of money and if arrested they are fined $20 and return to the streets to make more money.”
He said he did not want to rush his new album, but wanted to come up with a perfect product that would hold its own on the market, while according himself time to listen to albums by other musicians.
Macheso said videos for the album, which he produced at his Alema Studios with the assistance of renowned producer Bothwell Nyamhondera, will be produced later in the year.
Macheso said doors were open for those band members, who once deserted him, saying they were part of the Orchestra Mberikazvo family.
The Madhawu hit-maker has been a victim of piracy with his albums, Kwatakabva Mitunhu (Kure Kwekure), Ndezvashe, Vapupuri Pupurai Zvinoda Kutendwa and Kwatakabva Mitunhu being pirated before they were released.
Early this year, an album, branded with his name and image, composing of six tracks that were clearly not done by him, flooded the market ahead of his long-awaited 10th album release.
For this forthcoming album, as a way of trying to counter piracy, mobile teams co-ordinated by Nash Pants and ZRCS, who are Macheso’s partners and primary distributors of the album, will be in different streets across the country selling thousands of CDs to be sold within two days.
“We are going to unveil a fleet of vehicles to distribute the original CDs that will be selling at $1 at all our Nash Paints branches and all Zimbabwe Red Cross Society depots across the country so that the CDs are readily available to the fans,” Nash Paints representative, Evans Masvaike said.
ZRCS secretary-general, Maxwell Phiri said they are confident of their logistics and they will make sure that when the CD comes out on March 21, it will reach all corners of the country.
“Macheso has risen beyond being just another musician, through his ambassadorial status with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society. He has become a symbol of hope for the less privileged and those that have been fortunate enough on his humanitarian forays across Zimbabwe can bear testimony to this,” he said.
“The product, which Macheso will unleash onto the market is not just destined to cement his undoubted class as a musician of note, but the album also speaks to the stomachs of the hungry man and out of his own volition, the man has pledged a significant chunk of proceeds from CD sales towards the suffering and disadvantaged communities.”
Phiri also bemoaned piracy, saying it has become a sickness that continues eating into the fibre of local music industry, urging relevant authorities, ordinary citizens and the law enforcement agents to help Macheso generate some respectable income from this effort for the underprivileged.
“By buying Macheso’s original CDs, which at $1 each are quite affordable, one would have contributed to the Red Cross’s local resource mobilisation towards the rampant food insecurity. The new album is, therefor,e coming at a good time and moved by what he has witnessed and experienced during our outreach programmes, Macheso has committed a reasonable chunk of proceeds from his album to those in need,” he said.
The Tsoka Dzerwendo mania continues to grow on the local showbiz scene, as fans are eager to hear what the maestro has brewed in what could be a make-or-break project for the veteran musician, who has starved his fans for almost three years.-AMH