Zimbabwe: New Dimension – Praising God Through Music

By Edgar Moyana, The Herald – A new interdenominational gospel group named New Dimension has emerged onto the local music scene and has released its 7-track compilation album titled “Power of Praise”. Formed in August this year at United Methodist Church, Inner City, New Dimension was a brainchild of United States based group Innovators and is organised as an interdenominational group.

Its arrival onto the local gospel music scene will add variety and taste to the already available music choices currently on offer by our local gospel musicians.

Their songs are familiar hymns and choruses which they re-arranged and used different genres of music such as jazz and house to add taste and quality to the songs.

While speaking during an interview, Innovators and New Dimension member Dzago Chatsama said his group Innovators came up with the idea to form an interdenominational group which they decided to sell to youths at his United Methodist Church, Inner City branch.

He said part of the inspiration to form New Dimension came from their admiration of ZimPraise which he described as a united interdenominational group which since its formation had managed to bridge denominational boundaries through gospel music.

“New Dimension is part of the bigger dream we had of praising God through music. We have plans to recruit many new members so that the group grows very big. We were partly inspired by the ZimPraise guys. Their choir was birthed in Apostolic Faith Mission Church but now includes many from different denominations.

“What we admired from ZimPraise was their unity and ability to bridge denominational boundaries which commonly separates the Christian community. All they do is just focus on praising God through gospel music. They are just one big family” said Dzago.

At the moment, artistes who make up New Dimension include Farai Brighton Chitenderu, Noreen Tatenda Ngaribvume, Dzago Chatsama, Kuda Nyamuchiwa, Trevor Mhariwa and Tonderai Mujaji, all from different churches.

“These artistes who are members of New Dimension are people who are talented with a passion for music but lack resources to expose themselves or record their own albums” said Dzago.

Dzago said the fact that New Dimension was birthed in his UMC church made it a UMC product. However, he said the concept of the group being interdenominational was retained due to the fact that it incorporated members from different churches.

Among tracks to expect from this compilations project includes songs such as “Hakuna Hama Kupinda Jesu”, “Makanaka Mambo Jesu”,

“Baba Wedu Wakatsidza”, “Mumwe Mukana”, “Anondida, Endai Pamberi”, “O’Mwari Muri Zuva Redu” and a bonus Innovators song “Dai Asiri Jesu”.

Responding to why the group borrowed heavily from the hymn book and from choruses sung in different Pentecostal churches, Dzago had this to say:

“The challenge with music these days is that if you are new to the industry with no recording experience it takes longer for you to be accepted by listeners. So you start with songs people already know but present them in your own way. The advantage with that is that it helps you establish a market for your style of music.

“In our case, as New Dimension, the first day we released this project, we sold more than 200 albums. So we know people are already buying into our idea. It means we have already established a market for our music. In our next project we will write our own songs” said Dzago.

He added that New Dimension was run in the manner of a professional business organisation where concepts of market penetration and profitability defined their business strategy.

Apart from selling their CDs cheaply at US$3 to penetrate their target market, Dzago said they occasionally offered free copies of their CDs in shops and at churches to give people a feel of their music.

“We are taking gospel music commercially. In this era, music is something you can buy to enjoy. These days gospel music is no longer just about singing in church.

“The commercial aspect in our approach to gospel music comes from the fact that music is music despite it being gospel or secular. There are costs incurred from producing an album.

“For some of us, music is a full time business. That is where we gain our livelihood. So if you give it out for free you will struggle with repaying your costs. No studio will allow you free recording of your music just because its gospel” said Dzago.

He added that much of gospel music in Zimbabwe suffered in terms of song, music and video quality due to the fact that most musicians fail to take their music seriously.

“Most people who claim to do gospel music for free or who charge sub-economic prices for their CDs and shows usually have financial backing from other sources” said Dzago.

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