As Zimbabweans continue to chew bubbles and swallow air in anticipation of a quick and successful resolution to the sleazy political crisis ravaging the country, protest singer Viomak continues to call a spade a spade, and if her music is to be played at a political rally all the political clowns in Zimbabwe will hide their faces in shame. Viomak only started experimenting with protest music in 2005, but her determination, versatility and imagination have seen her turning up to be the sole woman protest singer in Zimbabwe. Thanks be to the woman who has stood against many gender and political odds to give protest music a chance in a bid to bring about leadership sanity in Zimbabwe.
The album sleeve that she designed tells a hidden story of her face looking like a circus clown. This she says exposes the circus of the situation in Zimbabwe and how Zimbabwean political leaders have become clowns. This could be the most relevant political music album of this time. It’s very unfortunate that such kind of music is banned in Zimbabwe otherwise this must to listen album was going to give solace to many deranged Zimbabweans who are unwillingly embroiled in the Zimbabwe circus politics, if only they could afford to listen to it in the comfort of their freedom. With a picture of an MDC membership card in her right hand and the picture of a Zanu pf membership card in her left hand Viomak compares Mugabe and Tsvangirai to 6 and 9. Don’t ask me where she got both membership cards from. All I know is she is non partisan, and the picture works very well with the title. The title of the album sounds promising enough.
Of course it will take a while before some people appreciate her type of music but the good thing is starters always shape the way forward and at the end of it all the crown goes to them .Whilst many people were busy making arrangements for a great Christmas holiday, Viomak was busy in and about the studio doing some touches to her album which was officially released on 25 December 2008.Viomak’s music remains in a style of its own. Its truthful nature is becoming a beacon of strength to wannabe protest singers. This is another step towards something truly special. Some political singers have avoided mentioning names. Some have remained silent on criticizing the MDC. ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ certainly inspires confidence that “freedom of expression is the backbone to a democratic society” to quote her words.
With this album Viomak has not only reinvented the musical wheel in Zimbabwe, but has shown that music is a great art that can be utilized in various ways to free one’s voice and feelings. In its uniqueness the album is packed with well thought out lyrics that blend well with awesome guitar chords, exciting drum beats, marimbas and soulful vocals that rub up against well- adapted organs and neatly tailored basslines completing the package . Her music talks and her voice sings. If you are the type of person who is not bothered about the politics of Zimbabwe this album will not interest you. However, the good thing is you can ignore the lyrics and dance to the sizzling Zimbabwean beat (as she calls it) that cushion the lyrics.
The album is one kind of a companion that can lead you through trying times without causing harm to anyone, as long as you play it in the absence of narrow minded people. If you are the sort of person who likes meaningful and inspirational songs that speak on behalf of the oppressed then ‘Zimbabwe Circus’ is a must for you, as it carries the type of music that speaks for your oppressed soul in a way that will make you applaud Viomak for the great work which most of us have failed to achieve.
The album is politically charged and is sung in a gentle way that might also put you off if you are the type of person who is into the aggressive and harsh type of voices. Viomak’s seriousness about the political situation in Zimbabwe takes toll through her vocals and lyrics. One can only imagine how emotional she was as she recorded the music .The lyrics are written in a jocular manner and that could have eased up her mood. It is up to you to judge too. I have done my part. The choice of instruments that accompany all the songs is superb too. Viomak who had to sing the rough lyrics of her songs to her producer in Zimbabwe on the phone to produce instruments of which she then added her vocals in a studio in Britain, says she faced a terrible time dealing with ‘telemusic production’, but her perseverance made her to pull through successfully. The Zimbabwean producers’ expertise with instruments matched with Viomak’s soft-to-loud vocal style to add depth to an album that is pleasant all the way through.