LIST: 40 Top Musicians Since 1980

A Twitter handle belonging to Sungura Central in its own way celebrated the Zimbabwe Independence yesterday by compiling a list it labeled Zimbabwe’s fine artistes over the last 40 years. Sungura Central also clarified that the thread was a tribute thread and was in no way a ranking of the artists.

Here is the list as posted by Sungura Central:

  1. Oliver Mtukudzi: A career that stretched over 40 years, with an incredible 67 albums. A real Zimbabwean hero, who carried our flag around the continent and beyond.
  2. The Marxist Brothers: From Msengezi, near Chegutu, raised by a bricklayer father, and growing into one of the most influential acts of the past 40 years. Simon and Naison Chimbetu! Thank you for Dendera! Easy!!
  3. Thomas Mapfumo: Working with Picket Chiyangwa and Jonah Sithole to adapt the mbira to guitar and give us what we now know as Chimurenga music. Social justice crusader! Icon. The year is 1981 and Thomas has a glorious pair of white trousers. Dude had style.
  4. The Bhundu Boys: Rise Kagona on guitar and vocals, Biggie Tembo on guitar and vocals, bassman David Mankaba, drummer Kenny Chitsvatsva, Shakespeare Kangwena on keys. They conquered Zimbabwe, and then the world! Iconic
  5. Lovemore Majaivana: So good at jiving, that Lovemore Tshuma became Lovemore Majaivana. He created a sound and a message that has never lost relevance
  6. John Chibadura: From a shy farm boy to a true Sungura icon, and one of the best proponents of the genre! Mr Chitungwiza himself. 
  7. The Sungura Boys: It was not just a band, it was a school. Ephraim Joe led the band at its peak, and he produced great stars such as Chibadura, Zakaria, Chimbetus, Tineyi Chikupo, Mitchell Jambo, Ronnie Chataika, Macheso, Tazvida…
  8. Solomon Skuza: Freedom fighter and musician. Helped create “Kalanga Sungura”, a fast paced genre. And when he was done, he shifted seamlessly to reggae. And sang about a national scandal about a Cressida
  9. Vhuka Boys: Nicholas Zakaria and Shepherd Chinyani: Between them, these two nurtured a countless number of Sungura stars that we know today
  10. Alick Macheso: His creative genius spawned an entirely new Sungura sound, based on bass; it worked so well that everyone sees him as the standard, so much that all – regrettably – these days they all want to sound like him. A King!
  11. Ilanga: What a band! WHAT A BAND! Virgillio Ignacio, Keith Farquharson (the two keyboardists), Charlie Mangena, Andy Brown, Busi Ncube, Don Gumbo, Gibson Nyoni. Every band member here, individually, could fit in this Top 40 list 
  12. Kasongo Band: People use the word “pioneers” too loosely. But it applies here; from the war camps in Tanzania, Dhembo Kenyatta, Rex Moto Moto, Stalin Organ came home and led a different revolution. Ketai Muchawaya, Knowledge Kunenyati, Marko Sibanda brought back a new sound
  13. Tongai Moyo: From the old days fiddling with borrowed guitars at the back of Msopero Country Hotel in Kwekwe, to one of the most influential of his generation! Murozvi Mukuru! Mopao
  14. Freedom Sengwayo: Recorded gospel music when the record companies didn’t want to hear about it. Led the way for many others that came after him. Thula Sizwe!
  15. Chiwoniso: From this tiny 8 year old voice singing with her musician parents, to the smooth voice in the hip hop band Peace ot Ebony, to a Mbira queen.
  16. The Four Brothers – Marshall Munhumumwe on drums and vocals, Aleck Chipaika on rhythm, Frank Sibanda on lead and the big guy Never Mutare on bass. Seen here rocking London around 1990
  17. Devera Ngwena: They introduced themselves with this banger at Independence, and the band dominated the 1980s.
  18. The Harare Mambos: Virginia Silla, Green Jangano. “Amainini munematyira / Kana iri purezha kumusha kunemabira / Kana iri mari tobike ndari / toudza baba kuti kuno kakari” They dont write like this no more
  19. The Zig Zag Band: Outta Kwekwe, resident band at the Arimanyongo Hotel. Manu Nkomo, Gilbert Zvamaida, Davison Gunde, George Lunga, Stanley Phiri, Iden Banda, Fabian Chikamba. The created their own fusion of reggae and traditional rhythms, Chigiyo!
  20. The Pied Pipers: They gave us one of Zim’s best known love songs, “Ruva Rangu”, written by Brian Rusike. The band included legends like Jonah Mutuma, Gideon Neganje
  21. Stella Chiweshe: A real ambassador for Zimbabwe and our mbira through the years. Here she was, performing at the Festival des Politischen Liedes (‘Festival of Political Songs’), East Berlin, 1988. A queen!
  22. Fortune Muparutsa: Writer, singer, world class producer. True pioneer of the soul, R&B hybrid sound that inspired many ‘urban groovers’ years later. An absolute genius who was well ahead of his time
  23. Family Singers: When they write history of Zim gospel music, they better not forget how Shuvai and Jonathan Wutawunashe totally revolutionalised how gospel is played. Modernised it. Also the hair!
  24. Roki: A special talent. One of the leaders of urban grooves movement of the 2000s. We all hoped he’d soar higher than he has, but we love him still. Shout out to Delani Makhalima too for that revolution
  25. Winky D: From a chanter, TV presenter on Rockers Vibes, and this first big hit (Ndiri Rasta on the famous Luckspin Riddim), to one of the most influential artistes today. Helped take Zimdancehall mainstream
  26. The Charambas: Charles burst on the scene late 90s with “Jehovah NdiMwari wedu”, a fast-paced Sungura style tune. And then he switched the game up with this classic.
  27. Safirio Madzikatire: Mr Entertainer. Nuff said
  28. Mokoomba: A band that has represented the Zimbabwe flag so hard globally. We love
  29. Zexie Manatsa and the Green Arrows: The story of one of Zimbabwe’s biggest ever bands starts with two brothers…and two stolen guitars.
  30. Jah Prayzah: Can’t possibly leave out one of the hardest working men in the business.

    @jahprayzah has come a long way. Basically created his own sound, and is certainly one of the most influential artistes of the modern era! Massive talent.


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  31. Leonard Zhakata, Thomas Makion: In the early ‘90s, Zimbabwe was introduced to two guys in viscose shirts, baggy trousers, and white top hats – and they wore two belts apiece. And they changed everything
  32. Paul Matavire and the Jairos Jiri Band: In 1981, he was in the crowd when Jairos Jiri Band performed in Gweru at a Jairos Jiri Fete. After the show, he went backstage & asked to join up. His music challenged a conservative society to laugh at its hypocrisy & taboos
  33. System Tazvida: The first time many noticed System, he was that raw, refreshingly ‘rural’ lead voice on Mabhauwa. And that was why we loved him – raw and unapologetic. Wezhira!
  34. Transit Crew – Munya Nyemba, Munya Brown, Antony Liba, Samaita Zindi, Manu Frank, Temba, and the man here Culture T. They pioneered reggae in Zim. Many top reggae artistes that came here didn’t need to bring a band – they knew we has a world class band here to back them.
  35. Brian Sibalo: Never leaving Brian Sibalo out of any list. Never.
  36. Cde Chinx: What he says of his music in this video, shows why he was one of the most important artistes of the last 40 years. Top class!
  37. Mbira dzeNharira: There’s something special that they brought to mbira music, a crossover appeal that many others didn’t seem to muster. Helped keep our mbira alive and appealing to modern, broader, and even younger audiences. Sara mugomo waawegawega! Salute.
  38. Peace of Ebony – Because they are one of Zim hip hop’s pioneers! Chiwoniso, Herbert Schwamborn (Queeler, now known as Metaphysics), Tony “Chief” Chihota, Keith Farquharson. You need to understand how revolutionary a hip hop band was in 1990 Zimbabwe
  39. Leonard Dembo 
  40. Machanic Manyeruke: He was a gardener in Borrowdale in the 60s & came across a Salvation Army church, where they played instruments. First recording was ‘Rudo serwa Peter’, 1973. Amazing acoustic guitarist!

Source: Twitter 

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2 comments on “LIST: 40 Top Musicians Since 1980

  1. I thought you are saying dembo is second from last. I have realized you just listed them. Because Dembo still tops this list.

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LIST: 40 Top Musicians Since 1980