BACK in 2011, a little-known Harare group, Munandi Express, won the Chibuku Road to Fame national finals.
Besides the grand prize of US$5 000, Munandi Express also got a recording contract with Gramma Records.
While Munandi Express comprised crème de la crème instrumentalists, as their name suggests, the group never went beyond the Chibuku Road to Fame contest.
Sadder still, Munandi Express fluffed the chance to go into the mainstream music scene due to the failure to make use of the recording contract.
That said, Munandi Express disbanded soon after being crowned winners. A premature end to a group that had promised to be a gem!
The money was shared among group members. Thereafter, some went overseas and a few remained in the country.
Sadder still, the group had produced quality music, tapping into their experiences as session musicians.
It appeared the group suffered a stillbirth because the members participated with one goal in mind: to win the prize money. And that was what happened.
Since the inception of the Chibuku Road to Fame contest in 2001, winners can be traced to their formative years and few groups have stood the test of time.
Past winners include Blackface (2006), Bopoma Stars (2009), Club Shanga (2010), Munandi Express (2011), Terry and the Bliss (2012) and Hambakwe Stars (2013).
A week ago, 911 band won this year’s Chibuku Road to Fame at a packed Takashinga Cricket Club in Highfield, Harare.
The Afro-jazz group was way ahead of competition to clinch a recording contract and, of course, the prize money.
In second position was High 5, an Afro-fusion outfit from Mashonaland province which got US$10 000 for its efforts.
And the second runner-up Kweseka from Matabeleland North province won US$7 000.
But to date, Romeo Gasa, Mark Ngwazi and Club Shanga are some of the few previous participants whose careers were birthed at Chibuku Road to Fame.
These groups have also continued making music and also joined mainstream music scene.
Many groups have passed through Chibuku Road to Fame but only a few survive in the industry.
However, Chibuku Road to Fame is not to blame since it is more like a reality show, your Idols, X Factor and the like.
Chibuku Road to Fame is there to unearth and expose gems that are expected to rock the local music industry.
With each edition of Chibuku Road to Fame, audiences get value for their money through entertainment and freebies.
Starting at provincial level, the competitions witness an impressive turnout and an entry of artists representing various genres.
The vibrant performances showcase immense talent and creativity that Zimbabwe’s music industry has to offer.
Organised by Delta Beverages through Chibuku brand and the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe who identify and nurture artists, the longest-running talent search show is part of the local entertainment calendar.
The music talent identification platform allows up-and-coming artistes to step into stardom as they begin their musical journey.
Orgnisers however need to make a follow-up on the winners and ensure that the fame does not end on the road, but stays for good.