ALBUM REVIEW: Zvakangonaka (2007) - Living Joy
Living Joy are a Zimbabwean trio currently based in the USA. I first came across them on Youtube having watched their video for the song Zvakangonaka which happens to be the title of their debut album. It was really refreshing to come across some youthful gospel music that made me want to dance while praising the Lord. That is hard enough to come by when Zimbabwean gospel is involved for a young guy like me.
The ladies switch between Shona, English and Ndebele, which is an aspect I liked about their album. Zvakangonaka is a track praising God for his works through dark days and sunshine. The ragga bassline is thumping with an infectious rhythm boasting of youthful zeal. They are talented beyond any doubt whatsoever; there is no questioning their vocal talent. Once you hear the lead singer singing you will not have an ounce of doubt about that. She is blessed with a strong voice and can surely hit the notes with ease. The album is laced with inspirational songs that are guaranteed to uplift many a soul. Kudos to the production team involved because unlike many gospel artists hailing from Zimbabwe these ladies have a versatile sound that borders between R’n’B and Afro Pop. Tracks I really enjoyed on this album are Farai, Ishe Ndokudai and Good.
Another track I enjoyed was More Than I Deserve (video on Youtube). It is an upbeat song with a medium fast tempo and it was so easy to sing along through the chorus. Whoever discovered this group surely has an eye for talent because they do not disappoint. Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I listened to a gospel album that made me feel really happy about being Christian. It highlights the strength of faith and is full of assurance about God’s love for us. When He Comes struck a chord because earlier today I was thinking of how the world will react when He does come. However, I was very disappointed by the inclusion of a demixed version of Zvakangonaka which was simply terrible. I am sure they included it to add weight to the number of songs on their album but they really shouldn’t have. It was the stain on a good project. I did not particularly enjoy the remix of Good either.
Among the Zimbabwean population worldwide they are still unknown but given a chance they can be right up there with the best of them. Considering that this is their debut, they did well. I expect more to come from the trio in coming years. Hopefully they will scale the heights and offer us something even better. I recommend this album to any gospel fan out there, it is worth a buy!
Get your copy @ http://www.malabath.com
Cover Art – 5.5/10 (could do better)
Music – 8/10
Mixing & Mastering – 7/10
‘I Like Factor’ – 8/10