Respect | Zoro

Irie Magazine World Reggae Edition - December 2015 - Respect - Zoro


Zolile ‘ZORO’ Matikinca was born in the townships of Cape Town, Guguletu, during the peak of apartheid. The apartheid regime labeled his address Native Yard 9. Growing up under the oppression and violence, Zoro came to think of himself as a soldier early on in life. His quest was to always fight the system and uplift the people. Being the first-born son in a musical family, music came natural. At the age of eight he started singing in a community gospel choir, but kept listening to his uncle’s banned reggae collection.

In 1989 Zoro was shot by a policeman when he tried to stop the police from hitting a woman. This paralyzed him from the waist and down and was told he would never walk again, But through determination and faith he found strength to get back on his feet and found that his passion for music was stronger than ever before. Through the nineties Zoro established himself as a major reggae voice in the Cape Province. Together with the Chronic Clan he created a trademark sound of conscious dancehall and Soul music from his studio in Guguletu. As the founder of Chronic clan and Spliff Records Zoro discovered many of the south- African reggae artists such as Black Dillinger, Crosby, Alcapone JJ, Jesse Dan and he inspired many more.

In August 2003, after finishing a compilation with his former label, ‘Dope Records’, Zoro was signed with the Swedish label Juju Records and went to Sweden to record with the Breakmecanix production, Måns Asplun. After the successes of Timbuktu and Helt Off, they started producing Zoros afro reggae inspired album. For three years Zoro recorded songs and performed in virtually every reggae club and on all major reggae festivals in Scandinavia. He shared stages with well known names such as Angelique Kidjo, Habib Koité, Mamani Keita & Nicolas Repac, Zeritu Kebede, ini Kamoze, Julian Marley, Chezedek, Anthony Jones, Sal Dibba to name some. In 2003 Zoro came with his first vinyl single BAMBAM, In 2006 Zoro finished his first solo album ‘Gugs News’. And then a project with a newly formed group by the name Ariise, featuring groups like The Congo’s, Gladiators, The last poets and stick man from dead prez and Carlton Livingston.

Zoro’s mission is to establish himself as a corner stone for roots reggae in Cape Town, South Africa. For a music that developed during Jamaica’s struggle for independence from British colonial rule in the early 1960s, it is fitting that reggae’s branches would eventually drop seeds in Africa, as reggae has been the music that promotes equality and justice it is only natural that south Africans relate.

Africans embraced their Caribbean relatives and the music they created was warmly adopted from Cape Town to Conakry. Pioneering Jamaican artists Desmond Dekker and Jimmy Cliff were African favorites in the 1960s Then, Jamaican icons Bob Marley and Peter Tosh inspired politically outspoken African reggae stars such as Alpha Blondy from Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa’s Lucky Dube. Subsequent African artists have woven together old and new sounds, making reggae more vital and vibrant than ever.

Just on the verge of Zoros success and in his finishing of his second album with juju records Zoro got sick unexpectedly and found him self on a crossroad of life and death having to choose between music or staying alive, Zoro chose life, For three years he was not able to use his voice after a AORTA operation that went wrong.

But after much work and determination Zoro came back with even a much more unique and soulful sound in his voice which you can hear in his album Roots’n`soul. Now he is in the studio again ready for a comeback in 2016-2017 with several interesting projects. From African Sounds to roots reggae. Persist to promote and forward the message of Nelson Mandela’s, peace! equality! and unity! Sometimes singing in Matiba’s native language isiXhosa makes him different and unique than most African reggae artists. With raw voice, soulful melodies and meaningful lyrics Zoros music is taking this mandela message of Love further and make conscious and uplifting music for the people all over the world. Showing that not only can one always rise from a struggle and live, but also be much stronger!

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