I swear i didn’t mean to rhyme in that post title, it just happened. Accidentally, I swear.
Sometime last year i got approached by Danny That Guy, someone i hold in high regard, and he asked me if i wanted to be part of the Pungwe Sessions Volume 2 album. The album was to be executive produced by the UK based Zimbabwean monster producer Rymez. This opportunity could not have come at a better time for me. I had just re-branded and changed my official artist name from Sharky to Soko Matemai. My 2nd album Take Back The Land had dropped in 2017 and i had gone for over 2 years without releasing an album. I saw this as an opportunity to put in work and i grabbed the opportunity with both hands. Now i need you to understand that I knew of the Pungwe Sessions Volume I which had dropped in 2014. I was quite an avid reader of the famous African Hip Hop Blog when it still existed so i had an idea of what Pungwe Sessions was about. However, i took to Google to find out more about the executive producer of the Pungwe Sessions.
I was in awe at the Google search results. I promptly followed Rymez on all the social media platforms, and headed to YouTube to get acquainted with some of his own music, and his latest release at the time was Don Walk, a song he did with Steflon Don. I am unashamed to say i could not contain my excitement at this point. I’m sure we can all agree that from time to time , Zimbabweans discover someone who is outside the country doing big things in their respective fields, raising the country’s flag high and we CLAIM THEM. With our chests! This is what was happening to me right now.
I couldn’t help but feel like i was about to rub shoulders with royalty, because i mean if this guy has worked with Steflon Don, Sean Paul, Future, and the Grime Godfather himself, Wiley, and i was about to be involved in a project that he is executive producing, then surely i have worked with all those people too? By association? (is there such a thing?) Anyway i was beside myself with excitement. At this point i had no idea who else was going to be on this album, i just knew that there were quite a handful of Zimbabwean artists who had been approached the same way i was.
I could only go to the studio after hours because i had to be at work during the day. When i got to the house where the studio was located, i saw familiar faces which helped me relax. The Managing Director of Point Black, Phil Chard was there. Danny was there. Simba Tagz was co-producing the album. My brother Michael Chiunda was there. There were lot of other creatives in that place. The vibe was ELECTRIC. Rymez turned out to be an easy going guy who was very easy to work with. After listening to some beats i ended up jumping on a track that Michael had already put a verse to. That song would later be called Pungwe Music and is now the 3rd single that’s been released from the album. There was a white board that hung in that room where the studio was and on that board there was a list of names of artists next to song titles. That board would later morph into the album track list. Some tracks however, did not make it onto the album, but a lot of work was put in during the 8-day-long writing and recording camp that was was organized by Point Black with the assistance and support of Goethe-Zentrum Harare/ Zimbabwe German Society.I went to the studio for 2 days in a row and ended up on 2 songs, one with Michael Chiunda and King Kandoro and the 2nd one with Rn’B vocal sensation Garry Mapanzure.
Check out the entire tracklist right here.
Are you excited yet? If not, i need you to remember that despite 2020 being the “cursed”year of the Covid 19 pandemic, this is the year that the first Zimbabwean feature film made it to Netflix. The award-winning Cook Off starts showing on Netflix on the 1st of June 2020. This is the very same year that South Africa’s biggest Netflix series Blood and Water broke records by being number 1 in several countries across the globe and guess what? The theme song to this amazing show was written and sang by Frya and produced by Mr Kamera, both proudly Zimbabwean. This is the year that Rymez, a big name on the UK music scene, came back to Zimbabwe to work with local artists such as Nutty O, Michael Chiunda and Chengeto, and produced an album that is worthy of competing on the international music scene ; music that is worthy of being added to official Apple Music Playlists for people to stream.
Zimbabwe’s creative exports are increasing and we are ready to represent the country with great pride. Pungwe Sessions Vol. II is a collaborative album brought to you by Point Black, supported in partnership with Goethe-Zentrum Harare/ Zimbabwe German Society.
For any queries contact Phil Chard on +263 772 419 739 / +27 79 595 0271 or via email on firstname.lastname@example.org
See you on the 5th of June when the album is officially released and don’t forget , the hashtag is #PungweSessions !!
Soko Matemai (Kong)