Award-winning contemporary musician Hwabaraty comes at you like a shadow in the night. He could be popping, growing pretty famous in his own right these days and collecting accolades from the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards and PPC Zimbabwe Music Awards for sending chills down our spines with his snazzy, au courant flair, but it took a while for success to come.
Well, before he was making what is rhythmically, harmonically, and texturally current, the musician and cultural ambassador shelved his own solo career and used to moonlight as a ghostwriter for other musicians, penning inescapable jams.
While his journey might have begun fifteen years ago, his breakthrough only came in 2017 when he released “Woza Nhlanhla”.
Since then, his catalogue now boasts features from highly sought after artists, the likes of the late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah, Tamy Moyo, Sam Siwela, Alexio, Paula Paloma, Jeys Marabini, Mnqobi Yazo, Afrosoul, Asaph, Cooperman, Skhue, and Suka from Spain.
A big believer in giving people their flowers while they can still smell them, Hwabaraty makes a return this month with a new single “uMqakezeleni”. In Ndebele, uMqakezeleni means “clap for him/her”, hence the song is premised on the idea of giving credit where credit is due and clapping for those who have earned the applause.
Accompanied by a video that features quick transitions and the occasional visuals effects, as well as still shots from the director and editor Corey, every aspect of uMqakezeleni was curated with the message in mind. The cinematography takes viewers on an intimate journey through the life of a warrior from the Zoria tribe, a group of people who wear all black and can be identified by their tall wooden staffs.
The costume was inspired by the Gospel of Othello, a play that was originally directed and conceptualized by Patrice Naiambana-Tribal Soul Arts.
At just over two minutes, the video with its variety of aesthetics packs a lot of energy in a very short period of time.
The new song further affirms that Hwabaraty believes that music is spiritual and therefore can connect people of different backgrounds.
“I just do my role as a musician to revive our culture because at the end of the day we must know where we come from, as people, as Africans. My music is part of that cultural revival and to celebrate where we are now through music… I’m just a mouthpiece,” he told the Chronicle in a 2020 interview.
One thing that stands out about Hwabaraty is that he has avoided following formulas, lessening the risk of him being boxed in a genral stow. Instead, he is choosing to find his own labyrinth lane and sound, and it’s working for him.
uMqakezeleni video is streaming on HwabaratyVEVO Youtube Channel.