Shamie Mabvudzi is one of the pioneer urbanites after engraving his name in Urban Grooves history as one half of the Shame and Nathan duo which gave us hits like Aripo, Hazvinei and featured on ExQ's single Pandakakuona. Years later and Shamie (changed from Shame) comes back to the forefront with a solo album entitled 'The Journey' (self explanatory!).
From the first listen it is without a doubt that Shamie comes through with a new dose of maturity and engages in live instruments to enhance his new sound. Usandisiye opens up this album and as the title suggests he is begging a current flame to stay with him at all costs because his heart simply cannot take the heartache that comes with it. There is slight use of the autotune effect which many might not even pick up on, good thing is it does not disrupt the flow of the song at all. One of my favourite tunes from this offering is Huya which we played on the Radio Kunakirwa Edition in May. It received mixed reviews from the listeners, most being positive so Shamie is definitely on the right path. This is a song about forgiveness (or at least asking for it) and touches on relationship shortcomings. Huya showcases Shamie's strength in catchy lyrics that many can relate to.
Uhambo is a slow tempo duet with Linda Mali and the lady is very talented to say the least. Her vocals were so smooth and they married the beat to perfection. In it's own way it's the track that carries the title for this album and centres on trials and tribulations faced in the quest for success in life. Iwewe for me is the stand out tune on this album, the beat is a catchy fusion of different styles and the chorus is an easy sing along. Given the option to choose, this is my pick for a potential hit on this album. Mid-way through the song Shamie uses a very well worked saxophone and it elevates the song to new heights. Kudos for the good singing as well. The depth of Torai really left me thinking about how delicate life is. the refrain goes something like this:
"Torai zvenyu, torai zvenyu nguva yangu yakwana"
It is so simple but he gives a perspective to life that we often overlook on a day to day basis. It's a well worked song to top that off.
The Journey shows the many sides to Shamie as a musician. He shows his versatility in experimenting with different genres like Jazz, RnB, House and AfroPop while maintaining the mood of the whole album. Vocally, Shamie is no TK Paradza, Trevor Dongo or Sanii Makhalima but uses his voice to his strengths so you will hardly catch him out of the zone he knows which is good. All else being constant, the disappointment of this album is in the mixing and mastering. Some instances provided muffled sound, slightly noisy clashes and the overall vocal mixing was not quite uniform. This is the one let down of this album and it being potentially the most important technical aspect of the final product it leaves a lot to be desired. It limits the potential of the album greatly in a competitive market where quality is becoming more and more prevalent. I hope that on the next release Shamie can switch gears concerning that. All in all, this is a decent offering that can grow on you.
Cover Art - 7/10
Music - 6/10
Technical Sound - 5/10
'I Like' Factor - 6/10