It always excites me to find relatively new artists doing well other than the usual so and sos we have come to know over the years. The gospel music scene in Zimbabwe is probably the most vibrant and talent nurturing compared to any other genre. Bethen Pasinawako’s debut album, Aripo, a couple of years back ranks as one of the best gospel albums ever produced in Zimbabwe and she gives us her sophomore offering, Anotida.
We played the title track, Anotida, a few weeks back on the XBC podcasts and the reception was quite overwhelming among gospel fans and others alike. The song is quite laid back and will be familiar with many people as one of the songs we used to sing in church from long back. The instrumentantion is commendable, definitely one of my favourites cuts off the album. Donhodzo is a bit more uptempo mixing many elements of gospel, rhumba and so forth. It got me on my feet and she is singing about how the time has come for us to wipe our tears and be happy again. Gundawakunda is on a similar tip and it is a celebratory piece about God’s victory in His actions. It adopts a popular sound from South African gospel of the late 90s. Mamuri is a dance track and would be great for gatherings. It reminds me of the late 80s and early 90s. It could pass for a kwaito track and i loved hearing Bethen sing in Ndebele, English and Shona on the same track.
Namatwai was an absolute surprise on this album. There is a sound i had grown to expect as i listened through the songs and this one was nowhere near that! It starts with an old school RnB flavour and a piano that is as sweet as it can get. It got me wondering how Bethen would fair singing Shona RnB then the beat changed and became much more ‘Zimbabweanised’. Anti-climax! Well to be fair the song is still great but i would like to see her explore that RnB side which sounded so great on a song or two. Pfugama Unamate is an old church hymn with a personal Bethen touch that and i think this one will be a favourite of many, young and old. It testifies to Bethen’s ability to make her music appeal to various age groups. I love the mbira on this song and the lead guitar is also well worked with an undeniable Zimbabwean sound. Nditungamirei variates between a subtle reggae sound and a familiar Rebecca Malope/Lundi kind of sound. Another good song and as the title suggests it is a track about asking for God’s guidance through life days.
I believe we have another gospel star made in Bethen Pasinawako. This brilliant album shows that she has a lot more to give with such an exciting voice. A perfect example of a great comeback. Other tracks to look out for are the sad Famba Zvakanaka and Andidana (which sounds a lot like her song Jehovah Jireh from her previous offering). I am highly impressed. Get yourself a copy!
Cover Art – 5/10
Music – 8/10
Technical Sound – 7/10
‘I Like’ Factor – 7/10