Zimbabwean performing artists have often faced hard choices in their music and careers given the polarized political climate of the past decade, in particular, and constraints on their freedom of expression.
Some criticized the government and found themselves marginalized, obliged to move abroad to express themselves freely - Thomas Mapfumo, for example, who now lives in the U.S. state of Washington.
Others have steered clear of politics and concentrated on making music to encourage Zimbabweans to unite and speak with one voice, such as Edene Timbe, voted best female urban groove musician in 2007.
Edene’s latest hit song, “One Heart” from her latest album, “Heart Beat,” has been well received by a nation hungering for unity and a new beginning.
The 24-year-old artist says her personal life and the experiences Zimbabweans have gone through inspired her to write such a powerful song.
“One Heart” has been getting rave reviews from critics who say its message is timely, the lyrics mature for such a young artist. She says instead of being manipulated by politicians, youths must become advocates of peace.
Edene launched her musical career in 2007 with her first album called, simply, "Edene." She says her favorite song on this first album is “If Only.”
Along with success has come the threat of music piracy – unauthorized recordings sold on the street and cutting into her income. But she says artists must deal with it and pursue their visions.
Like most Zimbabwean musicians, Edene got into music through the church choir. Though many Zimbabwean parents discourage their children from seeking careers in music, Edene says hers have been supportive.
Edene says she has been inspired by the music of U.S. based Zimbabwean artist Chiwoniso Maraire and would like to collaborate with her. She has also found inspiration in the music of reggae legend Bob Marley, who was instrumental in reconciling warring Jamaican factions through his 1978 “One Love” concert.
Such is the power of non-partisan music and it is the hope of most Zimbabweans – including Edene – that it will help unite and heal the country.