Diana Samkange: My journey in music spans 15 years of excellence

Samkange says she is inspired by musicians such as the late superstar, Oliver Mtukudzi and seasoned veteran Zimbabwean jazz music guru, Tanga Wekwa Sando

Wellington Kudiwa

With a career spanning 15 years – song bird Diana Samkange seems to have been buried under an avalenche of success. All this thanks to her vocal talents.

Seen by her legion of fans as one of Zimbabwe’s top female artists – Diana has somehow proved them correct by participating in successful shows around the world on major platforms.

She has performed on stage in South Africa, Scotland and Tanzania. Such performances are hugely considered as the pinnacle level that every successful local artist should reach,that is, representing your country on the international stage.

In an interview with this reporter, Samkange said her musical gift came naturally as she was raised and bred in a family full of musically talented members.

“From music composers to choir directors and instrumentalists to vocalists, my family members were already involved in the music industry, so automatically it was my destiny to become a musician as well,” she said.

Tanga Wekwa Sando

“For the past 15 years, I have been in this journey and I really owe my fans for their support as it keeps me motivated and inspired,” she said.

“So far, I have held tours in England, Scotland, Wales, South Africa and Tanzania just to mention a few.”

Samkange said that she was also inspired by other musicians such as the late superstar, Oliver Mtukudzi and seasoned veteran Zimbabwean jazz music guru, Tanga Wekwa Sando, who is also her mentor. She said she got advice from these two giants to launch her career upwards.

“I owe my achievements to Baba Mtukudzi as well as Tanga Wekwa Sando, who is the one who groomed me. I was also inspired by other artists such as South Africa’s Siphokazi, Thandiswa Mazwai and Cameroonian superstar, Eric Badu. I got plenty of inspiration from their music so it really helped me a lot.”

The veteran songstress has been credited by many for being one of the top female artists responsible for the recognition of women in the male dominated Zimbabwean music landscape.

Bloodshaw Chikosi and Calvin Mavhunga

The fact that her voice has been on national radio for fifteen years, undoubtedly proves that she is a force to reckon with as plenty of male artists have totally faded away from the limelight during the same period.

She said if she had the power, she would make sure that female artists get the same attention as their male counterparts.

“If I had the capacity, I would make sure there is equal recognition between male and female musicians. They would get equal opportunities such as performing on stage at major music platforms,events and festivals. This view that male musicians are above female artists should end,” she said.

Diana, who describes her music as spiritual, has five albums under her belt with recent songs such as Kumagumo Erudo and Kumandinde, helping to put her in the local spotlight as a solo artist.

She is also one third of the group 2BG which comprises of members Bloodshaw Chikosi and Calvin Mavhunga. The trio’s group dominated national radio and television in the early days of the urban grooves era.

Together they topped the charts and the sky was the limit for them as they unleashed their lyrical prowess – earning them a spot as one of the urban grooves pioneers.

Despite success with group, Samkange has gone solo and has released five albums and has been nominated numerous times for the country’s most prestigious Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA) for her solo performances.

Stella Chiweshe

“I have been nominated frequently for ZIMA awards as well as acknowledgements. I have worked hard for all of this. I think the best song that I have released so far as a solo performer is Kumagumo Erudo,” she said.

When asked about what is required to achieve such a feat, she said it was all about being humble.
“I believe that the qualities that make a good musician is the artistic part and the wisdom to humble yourself all the time. Also, my advise to other artists is that never let yourself to be taken advantage of by people who intend to get a ride on your ticket of fame.”

Samkange, who fancies a dream collaboration with mbira guru, Stella Chiweshe,is married and blessed with two children.

She has, in recent months, returned to do what she knows best, making music, as she had taken a sabbatical to take care of her newly born baby.

“For me, my next step is to finalise my sixth solo album. I had taken a break from music as I have been blessed with my second child. So, the album will be my big comeback in the business that I so dearly love,” she said.

Armoured with experience, perseverance, humbleness and a very good musical voice, the musical journey for Samkange has only the sky as the limit as she is eager to bounce back into the fray.

 

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