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Jit (also known as jiti, jit-jive and the Harare beat) is a style of popular Zimbabwean dance music. It features a swift rhythm played on drums and accompanied by a guitar. Jit evolved out many diverse influences, including domestic chimurenga, Congolese rumba and Tanzanian guitar styles. The genre was popularized in the 1980s by bands like Chazezesa Challengers, The Four Brothers and Bhundu Boys. Jit is one of Zimbabwean fast beat, but there is a confusion between the more popular "sungura" which is said to be jit which was popularised by Chazezesa Challengers and many others including Alick macheso and Orchestra Mberikwazvo.
Jit was popularised by Four Brothers fronted by Marshall Munhumumwe, Bhundu Boys fronted by late Biggy Tembo actual name" Mhosva Marasha" the most known name being his stage name.The likes of late James Chimombe, Paul Mpofu played jit. Paul Mpofu's all-time hit "Murambinda" has out lived the test of time as it has become a wedding anthem used to celebrate so many a wedding. The Zimbabwean musicians who play jit are so many including the author Gibbs Chitate, Mr. Bulk "Chiyangwa, Cephas Mashakada and the Muddy Face which also used to play with Job Mashanda the late,Andy Brown and the Storm some of his songs, Charles Charamba and the Fishers of Man although he is a gospel singer his sound borders around jit, Paul Matavire only to mention but just a few.Gibbs Chitate fuses his beat with jazz riffs as jit and jazz bear the same name in other circles in Zimbabwe especially Murehwa where it is also known as jazz.Gibbs calls his type of jit "Urban Jit" due to its mellowness and soft tempo which comprises fused elements of calypso,country,and any other genre depending on the composition as a way to improve its appeal to the new generation as culture is always evolving. Jit music is originally played by people singing in a circle and playing to or singing with one or two drums called "Mutumba" and these drums are played in rhythm with each other and in sync with the song" vocals".One will be leading with the vocals and the rest will answer to the call and sometimes sing altogether in harmony, the lead vocalist may chant and the people answering will give the vocalist room to do all the adlibing before they answer. In the early 1970s there was a very popular group called "Dzumbunu Choir". This group used to play raw jit with the basic instruments of drum or drums and "hosho" jingles.Dzumbunu Choir was resident at Goromonzi or Arcturus area about sixty kilometres out of Harare on the North eastern side.As people sing they may use jingles or "hosho" shakers as African music is generally percussive. Jit is in nowadays mostly used in its raw content by political parties as a campaign vehicle due to its flexibility in acccomodating chants, singing,expressiveness and infectious tunes that are so catchy and easy to learn if a new song is introduced.
It is very unfotunate that "sungura has taken the fast paced tempo class of Zimbabwean music due to it having been promoted by record companies who seek commercialisation of sound as opposed to maintaining the social culture and tradition of a people. Sungura is a basterdised Kenyan rumba and the singing to a certain degree emulates the "kanindo" or East African rumba. Jit type of music is celebratory in its context when used socially either in marriage celebrations, success in games or bumper harvests and many others function of the society.The songs maybe satirical with a deep hidden meaning and a good selection of words of praise or counseling. Jit can be fused with a lot of different types of instruments such as,saxophone,flute even xylophones "marimba"and some would think it has crossed over to jazz.If one listens to James Chimombe's music one may wonder if he/she is not listening to Jazz music as it borders along that fine line. Jit music in the Northeastern part of Zimbabwe called Murehwa it is known as Jazz or "Pfonda" as mentioned earlier on. You will notice why it boarders along with Jazz. Jit can be played in slow beats or fast depending with the occasion. This type of sound is very versatile and exciting.The Zimbabwean master of song Oliver Mutukudzi has some of his songs in jit and Thomas Mapfumo as well.
Jit is a highly danceable beat that commands the listener to dance and there are so many types of dances associated with it such as hwishu, tuwisti, kongonya, borodhero, honda, chipisi and many others. Bhorodhero is the most popular one due to it being popularised by Alick Macheso and System Tazvida's Chazezesa Challengers in their repetuers. The name bhorodhero is a derivative from a race course's name in Harare called Borrowdale race Course as the dance resembles a galloping horse.