Grammy award winner impressed with Zimbabwe
American singer and songwriter Robert Earl “Kool” Bell, one of the founding members of the band Kool and the Gang, was impressed by local music talent.
The American Grammy award-winning artiste was in the country for a two-week tour that started on May 10.
Speaking before his departure to the United States on Friday, Kool said local musicians had the potential to make it big on the global stage if they get the necessary exposure. He also described Zimbabwe as safe and peaceful, with loving and welcoming people.
“I was here because I have a partnership with Diamond Studios where we are scouting for raw talent under the international artist development programme,” said Kool.
“We spoke of this initiative some seven months ago, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it was difficult to make it happen earlier. This is my first time to be in Zimbabwe and I am happy with what I have seen, the peace and loving community.”
The revered singer signed a deal with Diamond Studios and two local artistes — the 14-year-old rapper Brendon Msipa and Christian Kagona, affectionately known as Kruz. Diamond Studios founder Steady Munyanyi said the deal signalled the dawn of a new era for local artistes, particularly those under his stable.
“This is a great initiative of mentoring and scouting artistes, and they will be put on the international level. There is need to up the game to meet international standards, and this where Robert Kool and his vast experience come in. We hosted him for two weeks and he had the chance to tour and also meet some of our raw talent,” said Munyanyi.
“This is a business negotiation with Robert Kool and it will go a long way in developing our artistes.”
The studios’ artist and repertoire manager, Fred Farai Nyakudanga, adds: “We are officially releasing Kruz’s debut single ‘Ndakakuudza’ on May 28. Kruz is a talented artiste with a promising future and is son to Rise Kagona, one of the founders of Bhundu Boys.”
Kool and the Gang enjoyed critical acclaim for its soul and funk music, with hits like “Celebrations”, “Cherish”, “Ladies Night” and “Get Down On It”. Kool, who has been in the game for the past 55 years, had advice for upcoming singers.
“I am happy to be associated with raw talent, especially in Africa. To the young artistes, if you want to stay relevant and live longer in the music scene, just have relevant and powerful lyrics,” said the decorated singer.
The musician is currently working on a new album,“Perfect Union”, which will be released in August. A single, “Pursuit of Happiness”, from the forthcoming project was sampled during his tour.
On the album, the singer reunited with the remaining Kool and the Gang members — Dennis Thomas and George Brown. Meanwhile, Kool got an opportunity to sample the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
During the tour, he also broached the subject of creating Celebration City Housing Complex in the resort town, which will be marketed to the rich black athletic and entertainment community in the United States.
The proposed complex is envisaged to include “the greatest memorial African Excellence Park” featuring a 30-foot bronze sculpture of world boxing legend Muhammed Ali. The award-winning musician is expected back in the country next year for a show.
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A late night beer binge at a Highfield bar ended in tragedy after a soldier allegedly died at the hands of a suspected lady of the night.
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