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World: African Moods: Solo Female Artist Moods: Featuring Bass Jazz: African Jazz Spoken Word: With Music

By Location
Zimbabwe

Edith WeUtonga

Edith WeUtonga

At the fall of the Zimbabwean Spring of 2010, Edith WeUtonga released her debut album ‘Utonga’, with much zeal and confidence. She played all the baselines on the entire album of songs she wrote and co-produced. Overnight, Edith became a sensation with her songs receiving massive and unrivalled air play on all radio stations across the country. Even though there is a serious piracy challenge in Zimbabwe just as the rest of the African continent, Edith managed to sell (up to date) a little over 4000 units of her album, independently. Nothing to write home about compared to the local traditional powerhouses who are driven by huge budgets and vigorous marketing strategies by their record companies. In independent terms this becomes a phenomenal and unprecedented figure especially considering the state of the local economy and the depleted buying patterns of the shrunken population.

She became and remains the only female bass player in the country and takes pride in how she plays the instrument with no feminine strums but just pure musicianship and skill that it deserves. This has endured her greatly with the masses at her public live shows and she and her seven-piece female dominated band have become very much sought after. Apart from the fact that on there are three other girls on rhythm guitar, percussion and mbira, Edith also goes by the assumed second name of WeUtonga which literally means ‘of Dawn’ – a name she adapted after surviving a horrific car crash which killed one of the colleagues she was travelling with and permanently injured the other. She thought this to be a second chance at life especially seeing that she was in early stages of pregnancy at the time.

In the time of her recovery from the accident, Edith took herself on a crash course of the bass guitar to shrug off the anxieties of the ‘miracle baby’ on the way who had survived a heavy dose of medicines and drugs not recommended for pregnant mothers earlier when she had been treated for her serious head and facial injuries by medical staff who hadn’t realized she was heavy with child. Edith enjoys listening to Zimbabwean legend Thomas Mapfumo, Koffi Olomide Baby Face all of whom greatly epitomize the essence of song writing, composing and arranging. She is not ashamed to admit that these musicians influence her a lot and that if you listen carefully to the tracks on Utonga, you may hear some of it flowing through. The album Utonga carries ten songs of international repute in this new genre that Edith WeUtonga calls Zimbabwe contemporary Traditional Shona Folklore. She is ripe for the international stage and will not stop at anything to utilize and fulfill this second chance of Utonga that she has been thrust onto her. Even the media back in Zimbabwe has described her as a legend in the making – what after she has been nominated in five categories for the local mainstream arts merit awards - Best Song, Best Artiste, Best Album, Best video and Best Actress for a lead role she performed in a one woman theatre play, which is her other love.