Imagining contemporary Zamrock with enid ze’s debut EP

enid ze, is the sonicscape brainchild fleshed by Zimbabwean-born Yale University graduate of Philosophy of Religion and musician Nyasha Chiundiza. The work of mediating his imagination and daydreams through music has been a part of Nyasha’s life from the age of eight as he was growing up in the suburbs of Harare, Zimbabwe. Under the moniker enid ze, the music created by the artist can be described as pop-rock created from a state of mind floating between experiences of home and abroad. However, this category of definition omits so much of the experimental and genre untethered creative work done by Nyasha as enid ze. At the heart of his creations and this experience, ze is inspired by Zamrock (W.I.T.C.H., Wells Fargo, Keith Mhlevu, Paul Ngozi and his Ngozi Family) along with the Southern African musical movement of the 70s which took its inspiration from Garage and Psychedelic Rock. Last month saw Nyasha release his debut EP Better is Gold, an eight track wonder which one could argue attempts to imaginatively answer the impossible question: “what would Zamrock sound like today?”. Melancholic, exuberant and defiant with the curiosity, shock and nostalgia that comes with being in new places, revisiting old places, facing new quandaries and old ones. Of new loves, old loves—geographically and psychically situated. Quite effortlessly ze contemporizes the Zamrock sound, assisted with newer sounds from Rnb to Grunge. To quote a post by composer, producer and collaborator on the project Chris Ruggiero:

enid ze is a continuation and reimagining of the Southern African tradition of Zamrock…where global pop and rock come to cohere in specific existential experiences of living many worlds at once. Listen to the panting on the title track “Better is Gold” and remember Letta Mbulu. When you hear “Marechera” recall modernist African writer Dambudzo Marechera’s poem, Punkpoem:

In the song
Are waterfruits;
In the plush and flow
Firestars eternally fixed.
Guitar strings lash
My back, draw blood –
The out of control voice
Skids shrieking across
Tarmac audiences.

When you hear “Shuwa” hear the word “sure” but also the waves on the beaches of Maputo, Mozambique. Or the beer gardens of downtown Harare. Also listen to how far home and how close it is, how unrest and rest lie together like a lion and lamb. “Better is Gold” is about the condition of seeking more than you see—not in the future but in the things that you find along the way. “Better” is better than gold.

The title of the EP, Better Is Gold started as a goofy mantra that quickly became a witty shorthand to describe what compels him to make music, shares ze. Other titles on the release include “Doves Down”, “Memoria” and “Sankara” which to me immediately invoked the spirit and political ideological legacy of Burkinabé militant social justice campaigner and President of Burkina Faso—land of the upright people—Thomas Sankara. “Shuwa”, which happens to be my favourite song from the EP at the moment, is the first a music video has been produced for; a wonderfully layered and meditative assemblage piece created by Velma Rosai-Makhandia. Expanding more on his relationship with music and what guides his creative practice enid shared:

For me music is about striving and endless curiosity. I’m not making music from a definitive template. I have so much to express. This is just the beginning. I love discovering and locating very personal emotions in different genres, allowing a genre to become vehicle in which the emotions can travel…King Midas had the power to turn things to gold but he turned ‘everything’—even his own daughter—into gold. Not everything should be gold. Cause then even gold loses its value. In the traditions of alchemy—even gold is not gold. It’s better than gold. I’m curious about the ‘better’.

Better is Gold, is available for download on all major streaming sites! 

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