Charles Charamba’s music lives

For more than two decades, he has given the world a rare musical delicacy, a sumptuous meal many souls have fed on and a tapestry of soothing messages — believers and non-believers alike — have benefitted from. 

In the late 1990s, Charles Charamba burst into the gospel musical scene in Zimbabwe with a distinct vocal stylisation, a rich buffet of lyrical content and rare biblical interpretations that swept fans and worshippers off their feet. 

Away from the sheepish, conservative and ultra-restrictive Eurocentric gospel hymns and tunes approach, Charamba carved his career as a musician who uses fertile imagination and deep knowledge of the Bible to reach out to his fans in a very interesting narrative-non-fiction style. 

In the end, his music hit everyone but did not hurt anyone, as Bob Marley would have put it. 

That music invaded the market in the buses, kombis, shops, homes, worship places, bars and little everywhere else, because in its core, there is something for everyone to pick on. 

Emotionally engaging, thought provoking, easy to sing along, easy to relate to, fascinating in packaging of the word and soothing, Charamba, immediately became a household name. 

Prior to that, the gospel music scene had been dominated by Mechanic Manyeruke and Jordan Chataika among a few others who were very conservative and when Charamba burst onto the scene, his music gave a refreshing depth and impetus to the gospel turf. 

I know readers expect me to bring his wife Olivia into the matrix of my narrative, but she has a different special place and when time comes, I will delve into her very interesting music, too. 

Charles Charamba

No pan entrende! 

Unlike the moribund and laid back conservative guitars of his predecessors, Charamba brought in new and pulsating shifting tapestry of sounds, that fans could dance and sing along, in almost any space. 

His band, the Fishers of Men, indeed fished many hearts and souls from the wilderness, dragged them closer to the creator, before they even knew about it. 

Songs like “Moses”, “Ikoko”, “Sarudza”, “Buruka”, “Machira Chete”, “Mukadzi Musamariya”, “Mhinduro Iriko”, “Pashoko Pangoma”, “Ndinokakama”, “Abba Father”, “Kana Vanhu Vangu”, and many others are legendary and speak to his vast knowledge of gospel and depth of character. 

With each song he released Charamba tightened his grip on the gospel turf, and even created prodigies who now imitate him. 

One impressive attribute about Charles Charamba is his ability to avoid bragging about his educational qualifications. 

The reason is simple, his plinth is to let his fans to focus on his music and not his own persona. 

But get it from me, Charamba is very educated and this explains his ability to produce quality music. 

His interpretation of the Bible in his songs is not ordinary. 

His diction is not ordinary. 

His knowledge is superb and his stage work, professional and top notch. 

Charamba also reads a lot and loves nature’s exhaustless generosity that manifests through the vast tourist attractions in Zimbabwe. 

But who is Charles Charamba? 

Born in 1971 in Mudzi District Mashonaland East province, his music affirms him as a “wise man from the east” of Zimbabwe, if you use his profile as a man who churned out top selling album after album in Zimbabwe. 

Charles and wife Idaishe Olivia Charamba

A former pastor with the Apostolic Faith Mission church in Zimbabwe, he has successfully formed his own church where he has done great work. 

But this instalment is about music. 

Charamba has won many accolades, very, very, deserved ones. 

These include the “Song and Video of the Year” at the National Arts Merit Awards (NAMA), “Best Gospel Artiste” at the Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA), and the “Life Time Achievement Award.” 

He met Idaishe Olivia Charamba in St Mary’s Apostolic Faith Mission Church in Chitungwiza where they served in a choir before falling in love and getting married in 1997. 

They have been blessed with five children, three daughters Eternity, Shalom, and Tagamuchira and two sons Aveneni and Timukudze. 

All his children have been given access to studio time and have proved to have music in their blood. 

There is no way one can talk of Zimbabwean gospel music without talking about Charles Charamba. 

It will be a fallacy. 

Whenever Charamba’s music is discussed, it brings out the outstanding spectre of religion and religiosity, the belief and the execution of the belief. 

Let me leave it there.


Positive Eye News

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