Rising Afro-Fusion star announces debut album

The launch will be graced by surprise artists and will see Anibal performing all the songs that are featured on the album. 

The brilliance of award-winning Afro-fusion artist Mary Anibal continues to rise to the surface with each passing day. Last week Friday, the gifted vocalist and Mbira playerheld a press conference at The Garden in Newlands, Harare to announce the release of her debut album Maria Wenyuwhich is set for Alliance Francaise de Harare on June 8.

The launch will be graced by surprise artists and will see Anibal performing all the songs that are featured on the album. 

Earlier this year, the performing artist and her band made an appearance in Stone Town, Zanzibar for the annual Sauti za Busara African music festival that took place from February 9 to 11. Last month, she took her Zimbabwean traditional music compositions to Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire for the 13th edition of the Market for Performing Arts of Abidjan (Masa) joining 34 other artists and artistic groups that represented 13 countries.

The presser moderated by Chiedza Mufunde, was also an opportunity for attendees to sample some of the songs from the upcoming album followed by a captivating evening performance at the Kwandinobva Live Sessions, hosted at the same venue.

The Maria Wenyu album features surprise collaborations with gifted artists as well as producers including former Ilanga keyboard player and sound engineer Keith Farquharsonwho recently established a studio in Harare. Tari G Fingers, Rodney Cleanshizzle, Volker Heller, and Trust Samende are additional producers.

With 12 songs, including the title track Maria Wenyu, Rungano, Yeuka, Simuka, Gogoride, Mvura, Bhonzo muderere, Paraffin, Narini, Nditarirei, Ndibatsire and Vana ava, the album is completely loaded.

The majority of her songs deal with so cietal themes such as human trafficking, mental health, gender-based violence, child marriage, child labour, and other issues.

The artist revealed to IndependentXtra that the song Gogoride came as an inspiration after the murder of Tapiwa Makore who was killed in a suspected case of ritual murder in 2020She kick-started her professional career in 2016 as a Mbira session musician. Her moment of reckoning came in 2017 when she performed at the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) with the multicultural groupSa Roy and Forest Jam band from Madagascar.

Mary launched her solo career in 2020 and two years later released Gogoride, Mvura and Narini all at once. “I was just testing the waters,” she said. “When I released the first single (Bhonzo muderere) it was not well received but I was surprised at the airplay the song received in different countries. This gave me the strength to keep releasing more.”

The song Simuka, recorded by Trust Samende,is a deeply personal exploration of mental health issues, a theme relatable to both men and women. “The song was more like an instruction to myself because I was always that one person who looked down upon myself,” she explained.

Samende also worked as a sound engineer and producer on the song Vana ava, which discusses child labor, child marriage, and child exploitation. Rodney Cleanshizzle contributed to the song Yeuka, while Tari G Fingers wrote the song Narini.  Chiweddar contributed to the production of the songs Mvura, Maria wenyu, and Bhonzo muderere, the latter is a tribute to frontline workers who tirelessly served during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides singing and writing songs, Anibal is also a dedicated music educator having taught professionally at the Zimbabwe Theatre Academy in 2021. Currently, she teaches at Music Crossroads Academy Zimbabwe (MCAZ) as well as Eaglesvale Senior School and Hartman House Primary where she does vocal coaching.

In 2021 she won in the Music Against Child Labour Grassroots Category and was presented with an award by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

She was awarded the Best Traditional/Chinyakare Chimurenga Award by the Zimbabwe Traditional Music Awards (Zima) in 2023.

She has also toured Dubai during the Dubai 2020 Expo and has performed at ETHNO Mozambique and the Habari Africa Festival in Toronto Canada.

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