2015 highs and lows in the arts

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IF it were in football, dancehall kingpin Winky D would be the soccer star of the year and high riding Jah Prayzah would be runner-up.
It has been a year of mixed fortunes for artistes.
Dwindling fan-bases and the scourge of piracy continued to haunt the performers.
But these challenges did not in any way diminish the genius of the artistes in the various genres.
Winky D, the dancehall godfather, remains firmly planted on his throne.
His compositions and stage performance throughout the year show he cannot be easily dethroned.
Many were exposed as pretenders-to-the-throne.
As the year comes to a close, it is Winky D who firmly holds the sceptre.
Not only has he been making feel-good music but has been coining catchy phrases along the way.
While some might argue that Jah Prayzah must be the gigantic picture that covers the 2015 music calendar, it is Winky D’s image that emblazon it because he ‘competed’ against international acts and emerged victorious.
The lanky musician, not once or twice but on numerous occasions, performed alongside international acts and literally outperformed them.
The dreadlocked musician has perfected his stage work over the years. Instead of being a supporting act, he has become the main act so-to-speak.
Killer T is another dancehall artiste who has ridden a purple patch this year.
His song ‘Tombofarawo Kani’ has become a party anthem.
Dancehall has entrenched itself as the favourite genre in the country especially with Sungura star Alick Macheso failing to release any new material in recent years.
It seems things have not gone according to plan for Baba Sharo, as the Sungura artiste is affectionately known.
Macheso has promised new works but none has come forth and fans are disappointed.
It appears Macheso has lost his mojo and many a fan hopes 2016 will be a better year for him.
One cannot discuss 2015 without mentioning the contribution of talented Uzumba-born musician Jah Prayzah.
His work throughout the year qualifies him to be first runner-up to Winky D.
Jah Prayzah’s 2015 album, Jerusarema, continues to enjoy airplay and is a must-play at almost any do.
Moneywise, Jah Prayzah has smiled all the way to the bank this year.
He is one artiste who has been fully booked for months.
Pocketing an average US$3 000 per show, the artist is definitely not among those complaining about low returns.
We hope the musician has made investments that will cushion him in future.
Fame and fortune, it seems, are not permanent features in the cutthroat music industry.
One just has to look at Tocky Vibes, who rode a wave many thought would not subside but as the year comes to a close it appears the musician has been swallowed by the same.
Jah Prayzah’s ‘Eriza’, ‘Tiise Maoko’ and ‘Jerusarema’ will put the musician on the lists to close the year.
The artiste was voted at Star FM People’s Choice Awards as the most influential person under the age of 40 and Artiste-of-the-Year.
The country also proved a favourite destination for Jamaican artistes.
Jamaican Reggae sensation Luciano was the first to grace Zimbabwe in 2015 and put up a sterling performance at the Pacific Zimbabwe Sun Splash show that left fans clamouring for more.
His visit is also remembered by a collaboration he did with Jah Prayzah on the track ‘Roots’ which makes up the Jerusarema album.
Garfield Delano Spence, better known as Konshens, also visited to celebrate 120 years of Delta Beverage’s Castle Lager brand.
Another artiste, Glendale Goshia Gordon, popularly known as Busy Signal, thrilled locals on his maiden gig in the country.
“I have been to a number of African countries and I must say that Zimbabwean crowd is the best,” said Busy Signal after performing a few of his hits.
I-Octane also came and he is not the last, as the famous Morgan Heritage family is expected to close and usher Zimbabweans into the New Year.
Besides Jamaican musicians, Zimbabweans also witnessed acts from US’ Babyface and Toni Braxton, Nigerian’s Davido as well as Zahara and Ringo from South Africa.
On the comedy front, the biggest highlight was Annie Kansiime’s maiden performance in the country.
Her shows were sold-out.
And the Ugandan did not disappoint as she delivered flawless acts.
As many wind-up operations for the year, the arts industry is stepping up for the busy festive period.
We hope revellers will get value for money.

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