Music has functioned as a form of entertainment and artistes have taken it as a business that has sustained their celebrity livelihoods, that of managers, producers and even their band crews.
However, the role of music in the preservation of history has been sadly overshadowed by the negativity of some of the content that been dominating the youth biased genres such as contemporary Zim dancehall that is seldom under the spotlight.
Though the new wave of music has been said to be less dignified than that of 13 to 20 years back, tracing the eras will show music as been a custodian of history.
The war of liberation in Zimbabwe is captured in the music of icons such as the late Simon Chimbetu’s “Pane Asipo”, “Tumirai Vana Kuhondo” by Baba Thomas Mapfumo and the many releases from the late Cde Chinx, bear testimony of the period culminating in the nation’s independence.
Compositions by these musicians and many others like them function as perhaps the historical account of the war of liberation. “Pane Asipo” serves as a reminder to everyone of comrades that lost their lives in pursuit of national freedom.
Around the turn of the millennium, urban grooves, an amalgamation of youth based genres such as dancehall, hip hop and r n b surfaced as a movement dominating air waves.
Urban grooves brought about a change that was initially criticized. One notable figure from this era, Maskiri, was often painted with the wrong brush for his language.
The artist was an artist bringing the culture of youth of this era to the public. Maskiri’s lingo was the slang that was dominating the streets during the early 2000s. The music of his contemporaries also presented the culture that is now at presented being juxtaposed with present youth culture.
When Zimdancehall was recognized as an emerging dominant culture largely around 2010, it was continuously criticized as an alien culture. It was under intense adverse criticism for it’s glorification of drugs and the explicitness. It must however be noted that it was presenting the problem badgering the youth.
Now society is up in arms following the surge in drug and sex dominated parties. This is a problem that had been growing and was being reflected in Zimdancehall. “Jekiseni remombe” by Lady Bee was one of the songs that presented the problem of sexually transmitted infections that were becoming rampant among the youth living dangerously.
Music is functioning as a custodian of history though some of the content might be dismissed. Artists sing their songs knowing in mind that they speak with a certain audience for most of their art is a creative presentation of the happenings of society.