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Minority languages in arts – Focusing on Wa-BB

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Wabb
Wabb

This week we touch on the issue about minority language artists. Do they exist and are they good enough? According to the constitution of Zimbabwe the following languages, namely Chewa, Chibarwe, English, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Ndebele, Shangani, Shona, sign language, Sotho, Tonga, Tswana, Venda and Xhosa, are officially recognised languages of Zimbabwe.

CurateByo Scripts
CurateByo Scripts

Beside English, Ndebele and Shona, all these other minority languages have a significant population that definitely is in need of entertainment. How relevant would it be that artists emerge from communities that speak minority languages and sing in their mother tongue?

This would be great, no lie, not only for their communities but the whole of Zimbabwe. Having 14 languages in the constitution and only being conversant in two or three should be a thing of the past and an embarrassment.

I was so glad to see the local news now being presented in a number of minority languages, it felt so good to see that we are finally moving forward. Big up to Montrose Studios, a lot of positive initiatives are cropping up and it shows that Bulawayo does not lag behind in anything, because the people are surely able to take the bull by its horns.

I can bet a few people know basic Venda greetings mainly because of South-African soapies, but we have Zimbabwean Venda speaking people among us. Recently the movie “Shetani” was shot in Hwange and acted in Nambya language.

It was so massive, all business people in the community wholly supported it, it was a dream come true.  It is a whole paradigm shift and mentality change needed, although some of these facts are just obvious.

Big shout out to Skys Metro FM (100.3FM) for finally opening its doors, it has been long awaited! We finally do not have to submit music to stations in other cities and pray and hope it gets played.  This is the most awesome news for the City Of Kings and minority language artists should definitely make us as this is the best place to get airplay.

Whilst preaching for minority artists to stand up, some artists have been pushing regardless. Nambya dancehall artist Wa-bb has been around for a few years and he is just getting stronger. Wa-bb is a reggae dancehall artist who sings predominately in Nambya.

He has worked with producers like Joe Maseko, Thulani aka Face, BukhosiMaphosa aka Biko and Gareth aka Skwib. He has featured and worked with artists like Biko, DBNNK, Fari J, Gabz Fire, Rippah and Mjox. In December 2015 Wa-bb launched his first official album at Horizon Club in Bulawayo. He is a force not to ignore and his music is just wonderful. I got with Wa-bb and we  had a young interview.

Wabb
Wabb

Valz: What projects have you been up to since the launch of your debut album “Kwejah”

Wa-bb: I’m currently working on an album which has more of a laid back mellow sound compared to my 1st album, it also includes remixes of some songs from the 1st album “Kwejah”

 

Valz: You have performed out of Zimbabwe, how was that experience

Wa-bb: True I have performed in Zambia with a live band at a birthday bash for Admiral in Lusaka, Kampala South. It was a great experience as the audience appreciated my vocal style which sounded different from the local style.

 

Valz: What platform are you using to promote your material

Wa-bb: I’m using social media basically to push my works & with the challenge of singing in a minority language I only get decent airplay on National FM. I have therefore given up on other radio stations which have my music in their libraries and decide not to give me a chance.

 

Valz: With minority languages being given recognition, News now being reported in more languages, Montrose studios having a slot on ZBC News, movies being shot in minority languages; how have these developments been of benefit to Nambyamusic

Wa-bb: This is a good initiative by our local TV broadcaster & it has given us room to express ourselves in our mother tongue. The number of screen productions in these languages are rather low but there’s room for growth. Our music has the ability to be used as soundtracks in local screen productions as more films are produced in minority languages. Thumbs up to our local TV broadcaster.

 

Valz: You have incorporated live instruments at an earlier stage than most artists which is commendable, how is your music sounding now

Wabb
Wabb

Wa-bb: Our music is sounding better by the day as we are grooming band players in a genre that was created by us and still needs a name for identification purposes. Live sound is more interactive & expresses more emotions hence our decision to go live rather than digital.

 

Valz: We have spotted individuals in the city donning Wa-BB printed t-shirts, are these promotional or you’re venturing into clothing

Wabb
Wabb

Yes Wa-B.B is more than just a brand, it’s also a fashion label. We venturing into clothing lines & we are getting good mileage which has led us to embark on graphics and printing our own materials in an effort to grow our label. We will be launching the clothing line before end of this year.

 wabb2

Valz: You have hosted family shows and youth concerts at various locations in Hillside and Burnside, what is the vision behind this and how is the response

Our vision is of promoting art and culture our way, placing more emphasis on the minority languages & their cultural diversity. On family shows we aim at uniting the family unit hence we provide entertainment for the whole family. Youth concerts are being hosted as a way to keep our youths busy by creating a platform for them to express themselves through art.

 

Valz: You are venturing not only into seeking opportunities but providing opportunities to other artists, is this the path you’re taking?

Wa-bb: Yes we are not just seeking opportunities but also providing opportunities for young artists who show great potential yet don’t have resources to nurture their talents. This move allows us to keep the youths out of the streets & give them an opportunity to realize something from their artistic skills rather than waiting for formal employment which may never come their way.

 

Valz: Your influence is surely going to go far. I have a poem titled “Chum Nipper” that was inspired by your song “Mother Of One”. Even poets are picking up concepts from you haha, which other people are you looking at working with

Wa-bb: I’m humbled that my works are being appreciated and inspiring other artists in their productions. I look forward to working with poets,film makers and advertisers on both radio and TV. I have worked with various artists who do hip hop, gospel & Afro-jazz. I’m on a drive to create a new genre andit’s working.

 

Valz: What are you planning to shut down 2016 with, what should fans expect

Wa-bb: We are going to be releasing an album in October with a signature created by Wa-B.B Outernational, a sound that fuses reggae and a jazzy feel for a mature crowd, laced with a purely African sound driven to put us on an international platform. We however still feature on the dancehall arena as that is where my roots are. Guidance and protection from the most high God… Iwhauwhe… uNambyawokutanga

 

And there we have another episode of CurateByo Scripts. You can follow Wa-BB on social media; Facebook – Wa-B.B | Twitter – @WabbZim | Youtube – Wa-B.B