Mbira songstress Hope Masike has challenged local female musicians to up their game and stop being content with being backing vocalists for their male counterparts.
The talented musician, who is also a fashion designer and a painter, is among a few Zimbabwean female musicians who have taken the bull by its horns as she leads her own band Kakuwe.
Masike is also a key instrumentalist for Kakuwe.
In an exclusive interview, she said that local female musicians should take leading roles and prove they can also be good leaders and not limit themselves to promote their careers.
“We need more women-led music businesses, from fronting and music promotions as times have changed and in this era, women should be seen taking leading roles and even playing instruments instead of just being mere backing vocalists,” Masike said.
She said women must be empowered to create jobs through music.
“Gone are the days when we would think that we are unable to take leading roles in the music industry,” she said.
“I want to continue to be an example [to show] that women are capable of running businesses just like their male counterparts in this creative industry in Zimbabwe.
“As women, we should run our own record labels; let’s run online music stores, festivals and media houses as businesses even more effectively than we run our own kitchens.
“Let’s make money through this music industry.”
Masike said as a way of showing her courage, she will in March be organising a tribute concert themed Gwenyambirakadzi to celebrate the women that paved way for fellow female artistes to be accepted and respected in society.
“In celebration of all those who fought for our space in this male-dominated profession, I will be hosting a tribute concert to the female mbira players who went against societal expectations and played instruments that were only played by men,” she said.
“This inaugural concert will honour artistes, among them Mbuya Stella Chiweshe, the late Chiwoniso Maraire and Tete Joyce Warikandwa who defied the odds and took on a culture, which some shun even today.”
Masike’s band has grown tremendously over the years and has become one of the best examples of professionalism in Zimbabwe’s music industry.
The mbira specialist said she wanted to take her brand to another level as she prepares to release her third album.
Since her breakthrough in the music industry, Masike has performed at prestigious events that include Bergen Afro Arts Festival in Norway and has rubbed shoulders with world renowned musicians such as Salif Keita.
She has also collaborated with seasoned artistes like Anniken Paulsen, a Norwegian composer cum pianist, Ibou Cissokh of Senegal, Sheila Massungue of Mozambique and Anthony Maina from Kenya.