The aim of Featured Song: Classics of Zimbabwean Music is to celebrate Zimbabwean culture, which is the subject of most of the songs we feature. We also see this as a way of honouring and celebrating Zimbabwean musicians who have produced good music over the years. Featured Song seeks to create more awareness for Zimbabwean music and to highlight the achievements of Zimbabwean artistes. Through the Featured Song, we not only keep visitors to this site informed about financial sector developments but also have the opportunity to entertain them in our own small way. There are many out there who – like us – love music and don’t mind combining work with a bit of pleasure. The Featured Song explains why the song stands out lyrically and instrumentally. Where possible, it also reminds us who else covered the song and which instrumentalists played on it and made it great. Which song do you think deserves to be featured here? Tell us why on firstname.lastname@example.org
Skokiaan by August Musarurwa and The Bulawayo Sweet Rhythm Band
Originally recorded and released in 1947, this is arguably Zimbabwe’s most famous musical export, popularised internationally by Louis Armstrong when he added some vocals for his 1954 recording. He opened the floodgates for other international artistes such as Kermit Ruffins and Herb Alpert (with Hugh Masekela), amongst many others, to cover it. Across the Limpopo, jazz guitar maestro Jimmy Dludlu and the African Jazz Pioneers also covered the song. Skokiaan’s significance is that it shows how Africa influenced American jazz in particular and popular music in general. Musarurwa’s 1947 and 1954 recordings illustrate how unique the indigenous forms of jazz emerging out of Africa in response to global music trends were. Evidently, while African jazz was influenced from abroad, it also contributed to global trends. The Musarurwa family reportedly still receives royalties for this recording, so it’s a cultural export that also earns the country the much needed foreign currency at a time Zimbabwe, with a huge trade deficit, imports more than it exports. “Good music is for the long haul and can straddle the centuries as has August Musarurwa’s “Skokiaan”, the phenomenal classic that no self-respecting jazzman can ignore,” says David Mungoshi, an applied linguist and retired teacher, a published poet, a short story writer and award-winning novelist.