The Cool Crooners of Bulawayo is an internationally-acclaimed group of vocalists who have taken Zimbabwean township music to the world. The group’s music is light, polished and old-school. They combine perfect harmonies performed in a seamless manner, a brass section, rhythm and electric guitar. Singing in Ndebele, mbaqanga is the main body of their music.
Cool Crooners came as a result of the merging of Golden Rhythm Crooners and another vocal group, the Cool Four. The group’s most famous hit is undoubtedly the popular hit Ibhulugwe Lami. The song was featured on their Blue Sky album which they did under former manager Jacki Cahi’s leadership. The Cool Crooners were intergral to the Zimbabwe National Jazz Festival and the Winter Jazz Festival for many years.
The group has to date recorded and released Isilato (2006), Bulugwe Lami (2002) and Blue Sky (2001). Their music is relaxing and easy to listen to. Their most popular songs include Blue Sky (a notorious South African prison), Bulugwe Lami (My Trousers), Umkhulu lo Msebenzi (A tough job ahead of us), Gubuzela (Mugger), Cell Phone, Itshomi Yami (My Friend) and Baleka Mfana (Run Away, Boy).
They have performed at the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Palco Festival (Nyon, Switzerland), in San Sebastian (Spain), in Cannes (France) and in New York’s Central Park.
- Lucky Thodhlana
- George Salimu
- Timothy Mkandla
- Mike Magwaza
Their Bulawayo Story
They are undeniably the oldest and still active group in the country and despite trotting the globe for decades, the Bulugwe Lami hit makers insist they have not received due respect and support in their city, where they started from and still trading in — Bulawayo. They are the oldest group in Bulawayo, but never have they been included in their (promoters) events, they should be proud to have people like them as part of their works, they are a rare troop. Sometimes they advertise with their name, but come the day of the event, they won’t be booked. They had been in contact with many renowned artistes, the likes of Sam Mataure and the late Oliver Mtukudzi, who always made an effort to visit them whenever they held shows in the city and they always asked why they were not on those shows too and why they always got outside gigs, but never got something in Bulawayo.
Death of Abel Sithole
The death of Abel Sinwametsi Sithole, one of the exponents of Zimbabwean music, cast a pall over a city that was still euphoric over the triumphant hosting of the Bulawayo Arts Awards a day before he died in 2017. The crooner died at Mpilo Central Hospital in 2017 at the age of 81.