Urban Grooves Ngwabi Becomes Bartender

Ngwabi – once hailed as one of the best R n’ B artists to emerge in the country when urban grooves music started hitting the airwaves in 2001 – is now a bartender at Bar Labala, former Visions nightclub in Bulawayo.

In an interview with Radio VOP, Ngwabi said the music industry was not financially rewarding for urban groove musicians, adding that this is the reason why he had turned to bartending.

Ngwabi blamed music promoters for preferring international and foreign artists, saying this is the reason why urban grooves musicians were finding it hard to make a living from the industry.

“This whole issue of bringing international artistes is destroying us; it is the main reason for many local urban grooves artistes’ downfall.

“Promoters need to give us local guys a chance to grow. They need to work with us and promote our own acts.  That is the main reason why unban grooves musicians like myself are failing to make it big in this industry,” Ngwabi said in an interview.

Ngwabi added that he will continue working as a bartender to raise money to record his next music album.

“It is not about where I work but it is about how committed I am to raise money to record my next music album. The sky is the limit and I feel comfortable working here. I am working on a ten track album which is made up of old and new songs but with a new vibe. I hope to be able to raise money to record it,” he added.

Ngwabi, started his musical career at the birth of urban groove music with artistes like Plaxedes Wenyika, Sanii Makhalima and David Chifunyise.

The genre came with so much promise at the turn of the millennium, catapulted by a government decision to promote local talent by enforcing an ambitious 75% local content in all radio stations.

In 2001, former Information and Publicity minister, Professor Jonathan Moyo, announced that it was now compulsory for all radio and television stations to allocate a staggering 75% of all programming to local productions.

Government banned international songs on Power FM, as it extended the local content policy to 100%.

Artists such as Otis Ngwabi, Skhue and P.O.ZEE were the flag bearers for the new genre in the city but have since fizzled out, leaving a big void.