“This is the type of the music that the whole world has been waiting for,” was the reaction of reggae music lover Phillip Tshililo after listening to the newly released debut album of Ras Willie (real name Wilson Dzebu) that hit the shelves last Friday.
The album, entitled Vhulunga Zwau (conserve your heritage), is a traditional reggae offering that is strongly based on the traditional beliefs, customs and stories of local communities passed through generations by word of mouth.
Dzebu, who hails from Makonde village outside Thohoyandou, said he decided to traditionalise local reggae music after realising that a huge gap existed in terms of linking the present, the future and the past lifestyles of the African people. “The album is rooted in tradition and aimed at conserving the history, customs and cultural beliefs of the local people. A community that does not conserve its history and culture is doomed forever. That is why I decided to revolutionize the local reggae music fraternity by coming up with a unique type of music that will definitely last for decades,” he said.
The road for Ras Willie to get where he is today has been a long and winding one. “I started playing music at the age of eight with the late Azwivhavhi Ndou during the heydays of the now-defunct Thinawanga Band. For many years, I was a keyboard and bass guitarist for reggae legend Shufflers Ragimana, but because of my tight schedule, I had to shelve my music career for over 20 years. However, the music bug continued to bite me until I went to the studio to record my debut album.”
Dzebu said he was delighted that the album was received with excitement by music lovers. “I can’t believe the massive support I’m receiving from all corners of the country. The album has sold more than 1 000 copies in the first three days of its release and it continues to sell like hot cakes. There is surely a bright future in the music industry and I’m here to stay. I’m also pleased because the album is receiving massive airplay at various radio stations. The past week has been hectic because I have been moving from one radio station to another for interviews. The plan is to host a big festival to launch the album.”
Folklore songs that are making the album unique include Mmbebeda, Funguvhu, Mathora, Donngi yo fela u luga, Sendekela, Mutshavhona, Nwana nwananga, Magaraba, Ndi linde, Mueni and Zwahashu. The album was recorded, engineered and mastered by Godzilla de Legend at G Records, Musina. All vocals and instruments were played by Ras Willie except for lead guitar, which was done by Elton de Guitarist.
Ras Willie can be contacted on Facebook (Wilson Dzebu) or on 081 592 5167