Anibal’s debut album signals exceptional talent

The launch was a top-notch live music production that will likely stand out as one of the most memorable live acts of the year.

Mary Anibal’s impressive performance at the launch of her debut album, Maria Wenyu, at Alliance Francaise de Harare last Saturday, signals the Afro-fusion artist’s potential to succeed legends such as Stella Chiweshe and Chiwoniso Maraire.

The launch was a top-notch live music production that will likely stand out as one of the most memorable live acts of the year.

The album is currently being mastered by Keith Farquharson, the legendary keyboard player of the iconic band Ilanga who recorded Chiwoniso’s acclaimed albums Ancient Voices (1997) and Rebel Woman (2006).

The event drew a diverse audience, including EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Jobst von Kirchmann, Zimura (Zimbabwe Music Rights Association) board chair Albert Nyathi, music professional Carine Tredgold and a special appearance by contemporary musician Jah Prayzah.

Before stepping on the stage, Anibal gave the audience a brief rundown of her history musically which was met with enthusiasm, with Nyathi comparing her to Beninois-French singer-songwriter Angelique Kidjo.

Naturally gifted and technically skilled, Anibal is a vocal gymnast who can hop, skip and somersault on her bandmates’ rhythms, as witnessed during her performance as in the heart-wrenching Ndibatsireyi, a duet with guitarist and singer Kudzie Kayz. The deeply emotional song was inspired by Anibal’s observations of the struggles faced by homeless children.

Against the backdrop of a live art painting in progress, Anibal and her five-piece band started with Nditarireyi, a prayer to God for divine protection. She gradually slid into her set with songs such as Gogoride and the laid-back Zevezeve, a rendition of the traditional Shona song, Tayimboreva.

The song Bhonzo Muderere, a tribute to frontline workers and people who hassled during the Covid-19 pandemic, had the crowd singing along to its fast-paced rhythm, characterised by a groovy and rich bass guitar tone synonymous with salsa music. In the track Paraffin, she took on a different role, advocating for the rights of a man forced by his family to marry a woman he does not love, despite having his own choice.

Several guest artists performed, including award-winning performing artist Ndomupeishe Chipendo, who brought students from the Arundel High School Mbira Club where she is a music teacher.

Last year the students performed Anibal’s song, Mvura, during a National Institute of Allied Arts event where they were eventually awarded higher honors for their performance.

With her latest album, Anibal has announced herself as one of Zimbabwe’s most gifted performing artists, a powerful vocalist and performer extraordinaire and the country’s very own Dobet Gnahore.

She is currently in her second year pursuing a degree in Music Business, Musicology and Technology at Midlands State University. She hinted at an upcoming project focused on empowering women, as well as a schedule of new shows and tours.

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