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I-Octane show – a chance for Zimbabwe’s artistes to shine


When one of Jamaica’s top reggae and dancehall artistes, I-Octane performs in Zimbabwe’s capital city Harare on December 12 at the City Sports Centre, it will not only be one of those memorable moments when a top Jamaican artiste or group has graced the land but will also be a platform for Zimbabwean artistes who practice the same genre to prove their mettle.

The likes of Busy Signal and Luciano, among a legion of other big Jamaican singers, have been in Zimbabwe before and these are some of the guys who have inspired the crop of Zimbabwean artistes who are today known as Zim Dancehall singers.

By way of coming and performing on the Zimbabwean turf, these singers of international repute are actually helping in elevating the levels of local artistes who derive a lot from their idols by the mere fact of sharing or alternating on stage with their idols.

While I-Octane – whose real name is Byiome Muir – will be out to prove why his catalogue of music like “My Life” (2011), “Straight from the Heart” (2011), “Crying to the Nation (2012), “My Journey (2014) and “New Chapter” (2015) deserve to be world hits, Zimbabwean chanters will also use the same platform as a springboard to further propel their stature as artistes to reckon with on the world music map.

With the likes of Soul Jah Love, Winky D, Kinnah, Sniper Storm, Shinsoman, Dadza D, Freeman, Hwindi President, Mostaff, Lady Squanda, Platinum Prince, Ninja Kid, Templeman, Garry B, DJ Cables and a host of other artistes and DJs from Chillspot Records, Chipaz Sound, Merciless Zim, Stansplash and Leny Matherhorn, it is pretty obvious that the visiting Jamaican star will have to up his bar.

Not taking anything away from I–Octane, considering his international status as a musician, there is, however, also no chance to rule out the potential of the local acts, most of whom are top players in the game in as far Zimbabwean standards are concerned.

Ask anyone on the streets about the name Winky D and they will testify that he is not just a darling of local fans of the dancehall genre but is also export material.

Winky D has wowed fans in the United Kingdom before, so has the likes of Freeman.

Soul Jah Love or “Chibaba”, as he calls himself, is another sure fire singer whose unique way of rapping has placed him on the pedestal of Zim Dancehall music.

Nothing needs to be said of the rest of the artistes who figure on the list as they have their own unique ways of doing things, something which raises the expectations of music lovers ahead of the gig .

Partson Chimobodza of Chipaz Promotions said: “This is one way of taking people into the Christmas holiday and also a special way of entering into the New Year in style.

It is also a fulfillment of the mission by the Zim Dancehall artistes to transform themselves into international brands.”

Cutting Productions, in conjunction with Chipaz Promotions, are the brains behind the gig.

Born Byiome Muir on April 29 1984 in Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, I-Octane plays socially conscious reggae and dancehall music, which applies also to the African and Zimbabwean set-up.

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