Dumisani Ramadu Moyo is a multi-talented award-winning artist, who together with his two colleagues from Insingizi, has sold more than 250,000 copies in the USA of their album “Voices of Southern Africa Vol.1,” and received awards in France for their Imbube Acappella singing style. This has made Insingizi the best selling Band/Group of all time on a single album to come out of Zimbabwe.
They have toured almost the whole of Europe, Canada and the USA playing in Concert Halls and Festivals. Ramadu is a Vocalist, Instrumentalist, Songwriter and Producer from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. Dumisani started his music career in 1990 with Insingizi, then known as Insingizi Emnyama, but the name was shortened to the present in 2002. In 2001 he released his first solo album called “Izambulelo” which sold a few thousand copies under the UK based World music Label ARC Music. The album was successful such that it also featured in different Films and Documentaries around the world and one of the Hollywood movies “Phat Girls” featured 2 songs namely “Tholakele” and “Mwari-we”.
Still riding high with the release of “Izambulelo”, Ramadu needed to take his solo act to the stage to perform live. He eventually formed a band called “The Afro-Vibes” which was invited in big and small Festivals mostly around Austria, Germany, and Slovenia. In 2004 he co-founded a successful music project called MoZuluArt, a music group that mixes European classical music and Imbube vocal harmonies. This project has been presented to places as far as Beirut in Lebanon, Moscow, New York, Moldavia, South Africa, and Senegal.
Ramadu has worked with quite a number of Artists on and offstage. Amongst them is the Euro Blues Man Hans Theessink, Zimbabwean legendary musician Themba Ndlovu, The Mbaqanga organ wizard of the Soul Brothers Moses Ngwenya, Jeys Marabini and many more.
As a Producer, Ramadu has established his own Label, Studio and Production house. The label is called “10th District Music”, and has recorded and produced Artists such as Nobuntu, Jeys Marabini, Blessing Nqo Nkomo, Vusa Mkhaya, IYASA, Pascal Lopongo and many more. Kwantuthu Arts Magazine managed to get an exclusive interview with the musical legend.
Can you tell us what are your earliest musical influences and how have they shaped your artistic career?
As a child, I use to sing-along songs from Ladysmith Black Mambazo songs…. their 80 ́s recordings. I was fascinated by their harmonies and the way Joseph Shabalala arranged and made his compositions. Since then I always wanted to sing and my interest was in folk and traditional music. I took part in school choirs and traditional dances and even sang in Church.
I listened a lot to different music genres but mostly Lovemore Majaivana, Solomon Skuza, Steve Kekana. Ilanga, Ebony shake, Stimela, Sankomota, Bhundu Boys and Black Umfolosi. I listened to this kind of music and watched musical programs on ZTV like Ezomgido/ Mvengemvenge. So these Artists influenced me a lot and have somehow shaped my artistic career in away…I ́m a Bass vocalist by nature and my main genre is Imbube, then I can play few instruments like Guitar, Bass Guitar, and Percussion and I Produce music for other artists as well.
How would you describe your music and creative process?
My music is a mixture of Imbube and afro-pop or contemporary music. It is roots music in a way…! As an Artist, we always create anytime, anywhere…! Sometimes it happens that I have a melody, the text /lyrics or even the beat first. The creative process comes in different forms, it ́s natural, it ́s inspirational…kufana lokubona intombi enhle….amazwi avele abuye nje wodwa uyincoma…you don ́t have to think about it. Music is spiritual, it is God in a different form.
MoZuluArt is an amazing concept of mixing European classics and imbube, are they any more amazing concepts you are currently working on?
Yes, MoZuluArt is a unique project. Currently, I ́m focused on Insingizi, MoZuluArt, and my own work as a Producer behind the scenes of other Artists. I ́m sure when something new comes in, you will be notified.
Which part of your musical career do you love most being a performing artist or working as a music producer?
Honestly, I enjoy both the stage and Producing. On the producing part, I like the fact that I meet different kinds of Artists and in the process, I learn a lot of things from them too. On stage, to see the Audience smiling, crying, clapping, standing up for you after your performance is a blessing.
What are the most amazing career highlights that moved you or inspired you?
There are many highlights dating back in the early years but the first one is; To be able to sustain myself through my work is the big ongoing highlight…because many people, in the beginning, did not believe or imagine that with the kind of music I ́ll survive.
Then selling Gold on a single album of Insingizi is one of the highlights. And of course when my own compositions were featured on Hollywood comedy movie “Phat Girls” and other Documentaries. And lastly, the creation of MoZuluArt is a highlight because with this project we demonstrated how music can build bridges. Indeed Music knows no boundaries..!
Do you have any projects we can look forward to?
At the moment we are about to release the 2nd NOBUNTU album EKAHYA which we have been working on for a long time. In near future, I will be working on my 3rd album but it ́s still a long way to go.
Having had your songs features on in Hollywood movies and selling over 250 000 copies of an album what advice would you give upcoming musicians?
The advice I give to upcoming musicians is to do what they do and Focus. Be Patient and work hard while enjoying the process. In my case, all these things like songs featuring in Movies, or selling thousands of copies is just a bonus. With or without these achievements I ́m still doing and enjoying the journey. It ́s endless…!