Zex Manatsa’s son launches new

Zex Manatsa’s son launches new Green Arrows in England

The Green Arrows fuse Southern African jazz and traditional sounds with contemporary indie, rock and pop to create a fresh sound with an inspiring humanitarian message.

Zex Manatsa’s son launches new

green arrows (Medium)A new Zimbabwean band is about to take the UK by storm.

The Green Arrows performed a thrilling set at last month’s Zimbabwe Achievers Awards and will officially launch in their hometown of Luton on 25 May.

This talented group, led by Aaron Manatsa, produce their own music, dance and poetry. Fusing Southern African jazz and traditional sounds with contemporary indie, rock and pop they create a fresh sound with an inspiring humanitarian message.

If you think you’ve heard of these guys before, you’d be right. The original Green Arrows band was led by Aaron’s father Zex Manatsa in the 1970s and his son is now bringing the band’s sound to a new audience in England.

Zex created the Green Arrows in Mhangura, Zimbabwe, in 1968. A few years later, South African saxophonist West Nkosi, who was also a consultant for Gallo Records, discovered the band and became their producer. The resulting album Chipo Chiroorwa and the single of the same name sold so well that the band moved to the capital city of Harare. Their success continued in the 1970s and 80s, with several well-received tours and hit records.

Their hits included “Bambo Mwakwatila”, “Vaparidzi Vawanda”, “Mwana Waenda”, “Chechule Anavala Bottom”, and “Chimwamuna Chamimba”.The use of Malawian languages in some of their compositions appealed to the Malawians who in those days made up the majority of the migrant labour force in Zimbabwe.

Zex’s low, raspy, lead vocal and bass playing defined the group’s sound, while his brother Stanley played the leading electric guitar with a fused ‘wawa’ sound effect.

At the peak of his career, Zex inspired and mentored top musicians such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Lovemore Majaivana, Thomas Mapfumo and Simon Chimbetu.

Zex continued to make history when he married his wife Stella on 29 August 1979 at the national stadium (where he would open for Bob Marley in a few months’ time). More than 60,000 people paid to witness the ceremony and a huge concert by some of Zimbabwe’s biggest bands.

Zex and Stella entered as Mapfumo performed one of his most popular tunes ‘Africa’. Bishop Abel Muzorewa, who was at the time prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, made the mistake of organising a political rally on the same day — and later blamed Zex for the poor attendance at his rally. The Daily Mail’s   had a front page headline the following day read “Zex’s Wedding Spoils Muzorewa’s Rally”.

In the 1990s Zex was involved in a horrific car accident and attributed his survival to the workings of God. He eventually retired to pursue religious work. However his legacy lives on in his six sons who are all professional musicians, with Aaron a bass guitarist just like his father.

The band will launch at Luton Library Theatre on Sat 25 May at 7.30pm

Tickets are £15. Book by calling Manatsa Music on: 07765342020