Zimbabwe’s recording industry has been given a major boost in the first month of 2016 with the opening of two new recording studios.
Musician Dereck Mpofu recently opened his own recording studio, where he is set to record artists of all ages and genres. Mpofu is an accomplished instrumentalist, vocal coach and producer. In an interview with The Herald, he said: "I am optimistic that this studio will go a long in nurturing new talent as well as help grow the music industry through a versatile producer with years of experience. I got my production skills at Nguva Yakwana Records in the mid-2000s under Ivy Kombo straight from school and perfected them under Clive 'Mono' Mukundu, who I have been working with and will continue to work with as he helped me set up this new studio."
Mpofu, also known as the 'Green Ambassador', is set to launch his new album in February, titled Churches Go Green in conjuction with an ambitious environmental campaign among various churches. An artist with a strong social conscience, in 2015 Mpofu was behind one of numerous anti-xenophobia songs in the wake of xenophobic violence in neighbouring South Africa.
Meanwhile, prominent Zimbabwean economist Tongai Tarubona has set up a studio to groom budding artists. Black Identity Studio is located in Harare's central business district. Tarubona, a senior economist at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, told The Standard: "Music is becoming a serious business in the country and many young people are taking an interest in playing different instruments that is why I saw it fit to set up a studio where artistes can be taught how to play instruments."
Tarubona, who recently released his fifth studio album, Shambakodzi (a Zimbabwean term for a pot), continued: "This has been my first love since childhood, but I started doing music professionally in 2011. At first it was a difficult trying to juggle between my work as an economist and music. However, music and economics go hand-in-hand because both are social sciences and it became so easy for me because they relate to each other well."
Mpofu and Tarubona’s studios are the latest in a string of new recording facilities set up by Zimbabwean artists in recent years, evidence of the growth of the local music industry. In May 2015, Sungura king Alick Macheso opened a new studio at his Aquatic Complex offices in Chitungwiza using studio equipment from Washington DC in the US, shipped to Zimbabwe with assistance from the local Red Cross Society. In January 2015, gospel artists Itai Sandras and Alpha Nhambure teamed up to establish a recording studio in Harare called Ado Studios and Events, focusing on upcoming talent. In October 2014, Prophet Passion Java and his wife Yasmin opened a state-of-the-art recording studio for gospel artists, named PR Records, in the upmarket suburb of Borrowdale, Harare. In May 2013, Mbira songstress Diana Samkange established a new recording studio, named Mangwenya after her style of playing the mbira, to assist upcoming artists.