Joe Shirimani creates electrifying sounds

Date:13 March 2015 - By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

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Veteran musician, singer and producer Joe Shirimani is a multi-award-winning artist who has so far stood the test of time.

Many of the artists who entered the music industry at the same time that he did are nowhere to be seen. Shirimani remains among a few who are still pushing hard to be heard and remain stable.

“I started music at the tender age of eight when my father bought a guitar that he used to play in the evening to entertain us at home,” he recalls. “After learning to play the guitar by using  my father's, I bought my own guitar.”

Shirimani learnt to compose his own songs and not only play other people’s music. This convinced him to attempt a career in the music business.

“I decided to buy my own guitar to practice my own songs,” he said. “I formed a youth band. We called ourselves Kimayos (short for ‘kind masters of youth sound’). The band was famous in our village and used to play at weddings, halls and at school concerts. People loved what we were doing.”

In 1992, Shirimani released a solo album, titled Black is Beautiful. The album was released by BMB records. “It kickedstarted my music career as a solo artist, introducing me to the Xitsonga market,” he shares. “Record companies started to truly recognise my abilities as an artist and producer.”

In 1994, he discovered and produced Esta M's album, Sakamela, which sold in excess of 50 000 copies (platinum sales status). In the same year, he discovered and produced Penny Penny's album, which sold in excess of 150 000 copies (triple platinum).

“That was the beginning of my true success in the music industry - what a way to begin!” he remembers. “I released Hambanini, which had a hit track, Notshi, in 1997. It managed to sell more than 50 000 units.”

After massive success, and the problems and demands that so often come along with success, Shirimani left the music business to answer to his ancestral calling to become a traditional healer. He took a complete break from the industry for several years.

His comeback album, Ta Tika, is currently number 1 in the Xitsonga Tradtional music industry in term of sales, radio play/charts.

He scooped the best Xitsonga Album in 2014 at the South African Traditional Music Awards (Satma), and the Dr Thomas Chauke Artist of the Year at the Munghana Lonene FM awards ceremony.


Joe Shirimani is a veteran sound maker and singer.


By: Tshifhiwa Mukwevho

Tshifhiwa Given Mukwevho was born in 1984 in Madombidzha village, not far from Louis Trichardt in the Limpopo Province. After submitting articles for roughly a year for Limpopo Mirror's youth supplement, Makoya, he started writing for the main newspaper. He is a prolific writer who published his first book, titled A Traumatic Revenge in 2011. It focusses on life on the street and how to survive amidst poverty. His second book titled The Violent Gestures of Life was published in 2014.