Ikenna: Tell us about your band. What's the story behind its formation?
Faray: Faray the Great Band is a four-piece music outfit I put together in 2014 in Gweru, Zimbabwe. It consists of myself on the acoustic guitar and lead vocals, Marky Tino on keyboards, Liberty Chinouriri on Bass guitar, and Praise Chinouriri on the drums.
I had been composing songs for the album, Foundations, since 2013. So, finally, I got these friends of mine and myself into the studio to record the album in 2014. We used to play local jam sessions and church services together. And so, since then, the band has stood.
People are amazed that I can compose and arrange such music without any formal music background...
Ikenna: You do great music for an enlightened audience. Did you have any formal music background?
Faray: I get asked that question a lot. People are amazed that I can compose and arrange such music without any formal music background. I learnt music listening to other great musicians like Oliver Mtukudzi, Hugh Masekela Keita, Lee Ritenour, ... the list goes on. It’s through passion that we picked up the guitars and learnt through trial and error until we got it right. We gained experience in church.
Ikenna: In recent times, news coming from Zimbabwe is mostly dismal. Your music is about the most sublime thing reaching us from Zimbabwe. So tell us, how's the reception of your music at home?
Faray: Yes, it is true Zimbabwe is going through rough times, and the citizens are struggling to make ends meet. Despite these, the audiences are highly appreciative of my music in Zimbabwe. They are finding it easy to relate to the message of peace, love and hope that is explained in the songs. People need something to believe in, and a voice of encouragement. My song, 'Tariro' [Hope], carries such an uplifting message, and it is touching many souls.
Ikenna: There's always a person behind every name. So, share with us a bit of Faray. Who is Faray? Who's the person behind the legendary music?
Faray: Faray is my birthname, and it means 'to rejoice greatly'. Like my name says, I believe that I am a bringer of joy to the world. Faray is a composer, singer, songwriter and guitarist. He is aged 26, young, energetic, and highly motivated to excel. Faray is an ambassador of peace, love and joy who believes in God, excellence and fruitfulness.
Moto weRudo - Fire of Love
Ikenna: 'Moto weRudo' actually captivated me. The musical arrangement is nothing short of musical ingenuity. I only regretted that the lyrics weren't delivered in English. But then I wish to know: what were you actually saying with such consistent vocal quality of yours? And what inspired such a legendary creation?
Faray: Thank you so much. Moto weRudo is translated into English to mean ‘fire of love’. It is a poetic song of a young man who has been swept off his feet by a beautiful young lady. He uses fire to describe the intensity and depth of his passion for her. Ndotsva ne moto werudo [I am burning with love for you]. And he asks for her hand in marriage [roora] so that she comes to put out this fire within him. He confesses that surely no other woman can give him the kind of love he gets from her.
This particular track is a fusion of the traditional Zimbabwean Mbira sound and an Afrocentric West African feel. Love is the inspiration behind the song; the kind of feeling you get when you discover your soulmate.
Ikenna: What are the challenges you face with delivering such great music you're now getting known for?
Faray: The cost factor is the major issue, though it is also a blessing in disguise. With high technological advancement in music technology, digital music has flooded the market more than live recorded music. Digital music has the lowest production cost and is sold at lower prices as compared to live recorded music. However the market value of live recorded music has been devalued by digital music, thus lowering sales returns on live music projects. Secondly I have to be on point always; be it for studio sessions or on a live stage performance. My act has to be nothing less of the best.
Ikenna: Does your music champion a cause or does it seek simply to entertain?
Faray: I actually have a vision and my own mission to accomplish in the music industry. My vision is to lift the standard in the entertainment industry through playing economically suitable music. My mission being to provide excellent competitive entertainment and become a distinguished brand in the world. It is more than just entertaining people; I encourage, inspire, motivate and stand out as a role model of excellence in society.
Ikenna: Do you have any projects currently in the works?
Faray: Yes. I am working on my next album to come out in 2018. Currently, I am focused on promoting this album "Foundations" and doing some international tours.
Believe in yourself, live life to the fullest, and count every blessing in your life.
Ikenna: What are we to expect from you in the coming years? International collaborations, perhaps?
Faray: Expect the extraordinary, expect collaborations with international artists. My next album will comprise of English songs and some Zulu.
Ikenna: There are a good number who love your music. I believe you have a word for them.
Faray: I am highly grateful to all who love my works and support my efforts. May the good Lord bless you all highly. My aim is to bring out the best in others, and so I say to all, "believe in yourself, live life to the fullest, and count every blessing in your life."
Ikenna: It's been a pleasant experience reaching out to you. We hope you stay long amongst us music lovers, even as we hope to hear more of you.
Faray: Thank you so much…
Thank you Faray for the wonderful music you have given us.