The Breeze: Angel voices in our midst

PATIENCE MUSA

The world has known many girl groups since the 1930s when one of the all-time greatest American jazz trio, the Boswell Sisters, which had Martha, Connie and Helvetia, burst onto the scene.

Other groups such as American R&B singing group, the Pointers Sisters, English pop girl group, Bananarama, an American female singing group, the Supremes, Speed, SWV, Destiny’s Child and the popular English pop girl group, the Spice Girls and the Little Mix, also made their mark.

Remember Chimora, a South African three member group put together by Sello Chicco Twala way back in the 80s?

They gave us hits like Mayibuye iAfrika, Eli Eli and they really rocked our local music television shows.

Zimbabwe has not been quite that lucky when it comes to girl groups.

Before independence there were plenty of girl groups and choirs doing the most at Stodart Hall and Mai Musodzi Hall in Mbare, Harare.

After independence there have been mainly collaborations.

Azaru is one of the earliest girl groups of note that included Marble Madondo.  

But, the group disbanded just after a few releases.

Nobuntu is another with three albums to date and very active.

However, the Zimbabwean music landscape changed when three young ladies got together in 2007 and called themselves the Breeze.

Their meeting was quite unexpected, quite by ‘default’.

The group’s spokesperson and member Nyaradzo Advovo Maphosa explained: “We started off as three girls, sitting in church, the Arcadia SDA Church in the same pew, singing.

We thought the harmonies were great, so we thought to try something out (together).”

Maphosa, Melody “Melz” Muvuti, Sharon Shaz Govha and Bekezela Becky Moyo are soloists in their own rights but they just felt there would be more ‘flexibility and room’ to be creative if they sang together as a group.

“As a group we have the freedom to have different leads and everyone else provides either backing vocals or duos or trios in one group.

Such latitude makes the song writer stretch her imagination far and wide,” Maphosa said.

One of the most interesting  facts about this group is how they began the journey with just three and today the four -Maphosa, Muvuti, Govha and Moyo- are the face of the group  while six  other ‘honorary’ members sometimes record with the group.

Their first album Hossana was released in 2014, after they had done quite a bit of globe stage trotting.

Their fans were hungry for their music and the Twelve track album opened even more doors for the group.

In 2017, the group released a second album – The Breeze Story – in celebration of the group’s tenth anniversary.

For this album, the group went above and beyond contracting five award winning premier producers- Oskid, Nigel Nyangombe, MacD , Media For Development Trust Studio’s and South African based producer Riffi Wacho.

To date The Breeze Story is the group’s most popular album.

Last year when most artistes decided to sit it out, the group worked on Wanyamalala, a single recorded in May but released in August.

The delay was largely due to Covid-19 complications.

“The recording was so touch and go because of curfews. Sometimes you need 8-10 hours in a studio running into the wee hours but with curfew everything had to be abridged. That meant more studio days. Not easy for us or the producers,” Maphosa said.

She added: “We wanted to create a happy vibe during a morbid time and remind people that God is alive and we can all still take challenges to the cross. There is also an empowering message to the girl child.”

The ladies tend to write their songs together but with Masaisai released last month, Maphosa penned this one alone, inspired by music she grew up listening to.

The idea was to keep the song Zim-centric. The song was recorded last year in February just before lockdowns became the norm and it turned out to be ‘prophetic’.

She urged everyone to go online for religious services, fellowshipping and inspiration.

As if the Masaisai single alone was not enough, there are  two bonus tracks, Mwana Asingachemi and Nobody But Jesus.

With passion ocean deep, the ladies have turned the Breeze business into an everyday eight to five job and sometimes they throw in weekends if need be.

Maphosa said the Covid-19 pandemic forced the group to engage their fans more on social media platforms.

“The environment is now so unpredictable. You can lockdown any time. We have also had to do everything faster and make good use of the little time. When it comes to protection we have had to do extra to protect ourselves as individuals hence the group from contracting Covid-19.”

Breeze music videos are available on the YouTube channel, watching them reveals the growth the group has experienced and that trigger excitement for the EP release later in the year.

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