ALBUM REVIEW: Shumba DJs - Tambayi Funky Anthems (2009)
Zimbabwean house music hasn't quite established itself compared to the other youthful genres. Having noted that, the genre is experiencing an exciting time after the success of the Native Flash and Zim DJ albums with hits such as Jobho (Remix) and House of Stone. Shumba DJs are relatively new to the scene 'by name' but with years of experience as DJs on the local and international stage. For this debut offering they have teamed up with Beatovenz on a 5 album deal.
The album opens up with One of These Days which is a dance classic. The song adopts a sound that house lovers would instantly connect with and would light up dancefloors across the world without fail. The song maintains the same tempo throughout with some excellent use of the bongo which makes the song very catchy. Zvamauya Zvanaka is a feel good song about how our relations with friends and family mean a lot to us. It explores the euphoria of seeing loved ones after a long time and the joys of rediscovering that closeness. The song is well sung as well. Tambai made me think of the days when kwaito was still the real deal when artists like M'du, Arthur, Abashante and B.O.P were churning out hits on a regular basis. It has that 'old school' feel to it. I felt the same way listening to Happy Birthday where Primrose Gwata sang her lungs out! I am guessing these guys must have been kwaito/digong fans at some point.
Wynd For Me by BKay and Kazz is the first song from this album that came out some time back. The song is a straight banger and BKay and Kazz (anaWezhira, Masvingo Massive!) are definitely among some of Zimbabwe's best exports within the diaspora. They prove this without a doubt on this tracks singing about the beauty of a girl who is on the dancefloor who is looking lonely. These guys surely know how to hype up a track and with the Shumba DJs producing a well worked beat this is a collaboration at its best. On My Way sounded experimental and leans more to the techno side of music. It's not really my taste but the composition is still good. Mandela The Great was a very meaningful contribution highlighting that even when we have fun there are sons and daughters who have helped Africa to become what it is today. Their call for Africa to unite is one that many artists should consider. Loved the female vocals on this song.
All in all this 17 track offering is a testimony of what talent, hard work and experience can give you. Besides the songs already mentioned i greatly enjoyed the song Kumusha. Many of us outside Zimbabwe can relate to this song. I believe the number of tracks on this album could have been cut down to a good 12 - 14. That way they would have taken the very best tracks as one or two cuts are rather luke warm. For a debut these guys did well regardless and it's a worthy purchase. I believe Zimbabwean House is truly taking shape and any house music lovers this one is for you. Great work guys!
Cover Art - 5/10
Music - 7/10
Technical Sound - 6.5/10
'I Like' Factor - 7/10