n the vibrant tapestry of Zimbabwean music, few names shine as brightly as Alexio Kawara. Renowned for his distinctive Afro-fusion melodies, Kawara’s rise to national and international acclaim has been nothing short of extraordinary. The award-winning musician first captured the nation’s heart in the New Millennium with his smash hit “Amai,” a track that clinched the coveted third-best song of the year 2000 title.
With a string of chart-topping hits and an impressive collection of Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA), Kawara’s trajectory from school choir member to music sensation is a tale of talent, passion, and relentless determination. While still at Mazowe High School, he formed a gospel group named Black by Nature with friends Zivanai Masango, Joel Zamani, and Watson Chimombe. After the group’s dissolution, Kawara’s journey continued as he joined forces with Delani Makhalima, Brain Garikai, and Donda Khumalo to create Guess. It was within this project that “Amai,” a song penned by Kawara himself, ignited his solo career.
Embarking on his solo endeavors, Kawara’s debut album “Usazondisiya” (Don’t Leave Me) in 2003 showcased hit tracks like “Kumba Kwenyu” (Your Home) and the mesmerizing “Ndinomhanya.” These tunes, alongside the sensational “Chibvugubvugu” from his second album “Rwiyo Rwangu” (My Song) in 2004, skyrocketed his popularity. His artistic journey evolved further with collaborations, including the electrifying “Musikana Akanaka” on the compilation album “Machikichori,” which also appeared on his 2005 album “Pfimbi Yangu.”
However, it was his album “Kana” that truly set Kawara ablaze in Zimbabwe and beyond. Boasting collaborations with local luminaries like Andy Brown, Clive “Mono” Mkundu, and Newman Chipeni, this musical masterpiece featured hits like “Karwiyo Aka,” “Nyaya Yerudo,” and the resplendent “Shaina (Shine).” This period marked the genesis of his band, Shades of Black, an ensemble that continues to captivate audiences.
In a recent conversation with *The Southern African Times*, the enigmatic musician shared his ongoing dedication to his craft. Kawara revealed, “I am working on two projects. One is an EP and the other a gospel album set for release next year. The EP is a compilation of some of my unreleased material.” Reflecting on his journey, he acknowledged the instrumental role the Urban Grooves era played in catapulting his career. He noted how introducing a live band to his performances in 2004 led to a transformative new sound that resonated with audiences.
Kawara’s path to success has not been without challenges. He lamented the limited exposure and the difficulty in translating fame into financial reward for Zimbabwean artists. Only recently, with the global evolution of the music market, has this begun to change, ushering in a new era of opportunities.
Throughout his illustrious career, Kawara has collaborated with a constellation of Zimbabwean luminaries, from Tererai Mugwadi to ExQ, Ngoni Kambarami, Roki, and more. As he embarks on new projects, his collaborations may soon encompass the emerging stars of today.
Alexio Kawara’s journey from humble beginnings to becoming an icon in Zimbabwean music is a testament to his unwavering dedication, distinctive sound, and the lasting impact of his melodies. With an EP and a gospel album on the horizon, there’s no doubt that this musical maestro’s journey is far from over.