Zimbabwe is richly blessed with many young and talented gospel artistes whose artistic talents will soon change the face of the gospel music industry in Zimbabwe and internationally if music promoters and the corporate world could continue supporting them.
I attended the Kirk Franklin concert last week which was hosted by B.B Music and supported by Unilever, New Life Covenant Church, Gospel Music Ireland, Coca-Cola, Celebration Church, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, Rainbow Towers Group and G-Tide. The concert was a must-attend for anyone wishing for an early Christmas treat this festive season.
I believe everyone who paid their US$20 for the cheapest ticket at the concert would probably have been saying that they were attending the concert to enjoy Kirk Franklin’s hip-hop gospel music.
Very few would be saying that they were attending to cheer and enjoy the music of Sebastian Magacha, Zimpraise or any other local gospel artiste in concert on Tuesday night.
This would be possible due to the fact that Kirk Franklin is a world- acclaimed and multi-award-winning gospel music artiste whose success has to a larger extent been fanned by the media locally and internationally.
The same cannot be said about most of our young and up-and-coming talented artistes who are still making their names in gospel music.
Be that as it may, what the concert offered at the International Conference Centre was a delightful experience of more than five hours of live gospel music.
The show kicked off with splendid performances from local gospel artistes who included the likes of Pastor G, Priestly, ZINA, Minister, Sebastian Magacha, Zimpraise and others.
I am sure that most of our local gospel music artistes who gave their best at the Kirk Franklin Concert must have enjoyed a shadowy reputation among fans of gospel music before the concert.
But this was soon changed when thousands of gospel music lovers who attended the show were thrilled by their polished acts during the concert.
Although Kirk Franklin was undeniably in a class of his own with his stylish performances, I have reason to believe that he must have felt surprised to witness first-hand the type of talent Zimbabwe has in gospel music entertainment.
At the concert I spoke to some youths during and after the concert to find out how they enjoyed the live music of Kirk Franklin and our own local artistes.
Tafadzwa Murombedzi said she was blessed by the stage performances of Priestly who played hip-hop music. She said although she is not a fan of hip-hop music, the artiste had been good and many youths
enjoyed the music genre. She added that churches should consider adopting hip-hop and other genres of music to have more impact on youthful Christians.
“I have enjoyed the hip-hop style of praise music by Priestly. The artiste is good and I think churches should adopt different styles of praise and worship such as rock n’ roll and hip-hop if they want to have an impact on Christians especially youths.
“I believe they should move with the times. I am not much of a hip-hop fan but I listen to it because my fellow youths enjoy it,” said Tafadzwa.
Caleb Nehanda, who lives in Waterfalls, said gospel music sounded better especially with such artistes as Priestly, Pastor G and Sebastian Magacha, who showed a lot of talent on stage at the concert.
“I was blessed by the music and stage performances of Priestly, Magacha and Pastor G. I think they were a cut above the rest during the concert.”
Grace Zindoga of Hatfield said she was blessed by the music of Kirk Franklin.
She said the American-born artiste was the best in gospel music entertainment because of his well composed songs such as “Now Behold the Lamb”, “Hosanna” and “Want You”.
“I think Kirk Franklin gave his best tonight and I enjoyed his music. I was really blessed by his tracks, ‘Now Behold the Lamb’, ‘Hosanna’ and ‘Want You’ ,” said Grace.
Peter Duwa said he was blessed by the dances of ZINA.
“I love dancing so much and when I saw the dances of ZINA, I just loved them. I also enjoyed the fact that you can dance like that for God in church,” he said.
After the concert, one could tell that people had had a good time as shown by the smiles on everyone’s face.
I should say thumbs-up to all the concert organisers and the corporate world for giving our local gospel music artistes a platform to display their talents.
I believe the gospel music industry in Zimbabwe is poised for growth if the talent and artistry displayed by our local artistes on Tuesday night at the Kirk Franklin concert is anything to go by.