One of Zimbabwe’s leading radio stations Power FM, formerly 3FM, has set aside the month of June as a commemoration and celebration month of Urban Grooves.
The term Urban Grooves was given to the movement and the collection of mostly youth genres that emerged 20 years back in the year 1999.
For the month of June, Power FM listeners have an opportunity to listen and request their favorite throwback urban grooves tracks and get to relive the memories from the moments they bumped to their most loved artistes from this movement.
One should also recall that around the early years of the emergence of the urban grooves, there was a ban on foreign music and it was purely local content that characterized the airwaves.
As a result, various young creative artistes grew to become household names as they battled out for attention on local radio. The youth dominated genres slowly assumed control of radio airplay as they went up against sungura, jazz and other local genres that had been popular at the close of the 20th century.
The era of the urban grooves showed the power of music in shaping youth culture. At the time, the streets were in touch with the art.
Rocqui and EXQ during the early urban grooves days were at most taken as the leaders or representatives of the ‘salad’ generation.
Language and the street lingo were most likely the forté of Maskiri and Xtra Large who contribute with a comic twist in their music. One might recall the famous line “Mushini unobhendesa mabanana” (a machine that bends bananas) used by Jimmy and Norman in their earlier days.
Out of this movement the Makhalima’s and Take 5 dominated productions with enough hits in rotation. Chamhembe proved to a crucial uplifting project for the artists involved.
Afro pop, reggae, trap, hip hop and dancehall might have eventually branched out and solidified their positions as separate genres, enough credit has to be placed on all the pioneers of the urban grooves movement. Whether alive or deceased, contemporary artists have to give credit to the creative men and women who fought for growth of the music industry for the youth.
Power FM has come up with a commendable initiative that recognizes the foundations of youth domination of the music industry and the airwaves. The arts and culture is where it is at present courtesy of the revolutionary creatives that braved societal criticism in order to establish a legacy that we celebrate 20 years of as urban grooves.