It’s a chilly Saturday night in Harare and as the big names of Zimbabwean music do their thing across the city Ammara Brown starts her set at the Red Bar in Newlands. It’s fun, it’s different, it’s sassy and for those who knew her father, it’s a clear demonstration of girl who has an ample supply of her dad’s musical genes.
The 24 year old beauty is making her own waves on the Harare nightlife scene. Zimbo Jam witnessed her performance at Red Bar on June 30 and we were reminded of why she was voted one of the top singers in Africa a few years ago. She is gold undiscovered, but you will soon take notice.
After a lull in activity on the Zimbabwean scene, Ammara is now pushing her music harder and fans can expect a lot more from her in the coming months.
She is the daughter of the late music legend, Andy Brown, who died earlier in 2012. From her it is evident that talent runs in the family, but also that she has enough uniqueness and presence to stand on her own.
Amarra started performing from an early age, alongside her father and has been playing the mbira since age 9. She rose to continent-wide fame after competing in the 2008 pan-African franchise of the reality television show, Idols East Africa, in which she competed alongside singers from around the continent.
Zimbabweans dominated the finals and others locals who were favourites on the show were Adiona Maboreke (wife to Munyaradzi Chidzonga) and final winner of the show, Eric Moyo.
After the competition, she continued with her music in South Africa and returned to Zimbabwe last year.
She joined her dad, Andy, and step-mom, Chiwoniso Maraire, at their historic combined performance at the Book Café last year. It was the first time that Andy and Chiwoniso had shared the stage in about ten years.
But it’s this year where Ammara has stepped things up into a higher gear. She performed recently at Amanzi, in Highlands, Harare, alongside Zimbabwean rock band Evicted. During HIFA 2012 she shared the stage once again with mbira Queen Chiwoniso.
With the peak of the Harare winter approaching, Red Bar saw the mercury levels rise as Ammara performed once again alongside Evicted. Together they created an exhilarating sound, totally rocked the crowd, and left everyone on the dance floor.
As her thick, dark, curly hair almost excitedly moved to the infectious beats, her voice effortlessly spread throughout the venue. One can definitely see the growth in her performances from earlier days. Her talent, so powerfully displayed during Idols, is now matured and more polished. She is a true performer, it is natural to her, she looks relaxed and comfortable on stage and her energy is contagious.
As she whipped out covers of popular songs like Think Like A Man, and Where Have You Been, together with her own original compositions, the crowd couldn’t help but move their feet to electrifying rhythms. Evicted accompanied her lyrical delivery with their high voltage brand of instrumentation.
Ammara also displayed her dance moves, mixing both African and Western styles in her choreography which was well received by the audience. What was more impressive was she did it all in heels.
Another highlight of the night was when rapper, MC Chita, did a freestyle rap to one of the songs.
The night ended with the crowd requesting one more song. In true Zimbabwean style, the audience chanted , “One more , one more, one more!”
Ammara obliged and returned to sing a classic, one of her father’s most popular songs, Mapurisa. The atmosphere in the venue exploded and people of all walks of life came together to rip up the dance floor.
Be sure to catch the feisty beauty doing live performances around Harare and keep your ears out for her upcoming album.