Cee Jay Besa
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Cee Jay Besa

Coppell, Texas, United States | SELF

Coppell, Texas, United States | SELF
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Feb
13
Cee Jay Besa @ Zambezi Sports Grill

None, Texas, USA

None, Texas, USA

Oct
09
Cee Jay Besa @ The Vue Toronto Canada

None, Ontario, Canada

None, Ontario, Canada

Jul
10
Cee Jay Besa @ Mary Fitzgerald Square

Johannesburg, Georgia, South Africa

Johannesburg, Georgia, South Africa

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Music

Press



Cee Jay returns from Jozi

Jul 08 |09:43
By Belinda Mvududu and Nigel Pfunde
US-based jazz crooner, Cee-Jay real name Kudakwashe Besa returned home from a successful tour of South Africa. The charismatic jazz sensation held a series of live shows on the sidelines of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Cee-Jay had also gone to South Africa to promote his latest album Ndangariro hence the tour was dubbed the “Ndangariro Tour�. Cee-Jay said that he had a successful tour across the Limpopo where he staged a number of shows in and around Johannesburg. “I can’t complain my man. “My SA tour was fantastic. It was an eye-opener as well, since I managed to hook up with some good producers there.

“Obviously, it’s hard to break a new market but I am optimistic that I will make it,� said Cee-Jay. He said his memorable show was at Baseline night club. “It was a beautiful night at Baseline and I enjoyed the love that I got from both Zimbos and South Africans who graced the club,� he said.

Baseline is a popular joint in Gauteng Province and it has played host to other Zimbabwean artistes like Jah Seed who used to host reggae sessions by South African DJ Admiral. Cee-Jay will hold his homecoming show tonight at Mannenberg Jazz Club at Five Avenue Shopping Centre.

This is his first show after returning from his Ndangariro Tour in South Africa. Despite living and working in the US, Cee-Jay remains proudly Zimbabwean; he has even worked with a lot of local artistes on his latest album, Ndangariro album. These include Jimmy Buzusii, Roslyne Mangwiro, Killah Makhoya and Anthony Mukanga.

He has also tried to export Zimbabwean music by hosting the American leg of the ZIMA party at his Texas base. Cee-Jay promised a massive show at Mannenberg tonight.
- H Metro Zim


Khosa
UNITED States-based Zimbabwe-born jazz crooner, Cee-Jay real name Kudakwashe Besa flew back into the country last week ahead of his shows in South Africa during the 2010 World Cup beginning on Friday
The charismatic crooner will be promoting his latest album Ndangariro during his brief stint in the country. Cee-Jay’s 11-track album rich in both text and appeal is readily available in the UK and the US. It will be launched on home soil this month-end, promises Cee-Jay. Prior to his launch of the craftily woven album in Zimbabwe, Cee-Jay will first hold at least five shows in and around the Gauteng province in South Africa during the mammoth global soccer showpiece.

Cee-Jay, who will be backed by local session musicians, plays at Ko Spotong in Melville on June 11. The affable crooner holds his second gig at Tshisa Nyama Club in Johannesburg on June 19. On June 23, he takes his act to Baseline for another gig set to attract a cosmopolitan crowd.

In a wide-ranging interview with H-Metro upon touching down at the Harare International Airport, Cee-Jay said he was elated to be back home. “I have my roots at heart,� he said. “Zimbabwe still remains my home, despite all the fame that I have garnered. As I promised before, I’m ready to rock South Africa with a number of high-profile shows.

I will also rope in a number of local artistes for the mission. I would like to utilise the World Cup to market my products,� he said. Back to his latest project, Ndangariro: it is simply what the doctor has ordered. The opening three songs Munaye, Ndini Here and Idya Neni exhort people to live in harmony.

He also worked with local guitarist Q Montana and vocalist Taz (formerly of Africa Revenge). Other tracks on this album include Mafaro, Chikoro, Famba Zvakanaka, Shiririra, Ngatibatanei and Mutare. Other Zimbabwean artistes he featured on this album include Jimmy Busizi, Rosylen Mangwiro, Killa Makhoya and Anthony Mukanga.

Meanwhile, Cee-Jay intends to rope in Alexio Kawara for his tour of the UK and the US later this year. He is also set to hold a number of shows in Mutare and Bulawayo after the World Cup. Meanwhile, to show his deep-seated passion and desire to export local music, Cee Jay recently hosted a successful ZIMA party held at Club Murphy in his base in Texas.

“I hosted the American leg of the ZIMA party to market Zimbabwean music out there. I was impressed with the response of African-Americans to local music,� he said. “We want to create an identity for Zimbabwean music just as much as Salif Keita has created an identity for West African music.� Very soon, the young crooner will be turning his music passion into payment.
- H Metro Zimbabwe


UNITED States-based musician Kudakwashe "Cee Jay" Besa is one of the few Zimbabwean artists that have managed a dance with World Cup festivities in South Africa.

Cee Jay flew into Zimbabwe at the beginning of the month on his way to his SA tour that had three shows lined up.

He has already performed at Ko'Spotong Club in Melville and Club 241 in Four Ways while his last show is slated for Wednesday at Mary Fitzgerald Centre in New Town.

The afro-jazz singer said he would stage shows back home next month before he returns to his base in Texas.

The local shows would be held under the Ndangariro Tour brand since he would be launching his third album with the same title that was released in the US last month.

Ndangariro Tour will involve shows in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare when the musician is expected to team up with Alexio Kawara, Willis Wataffi and Q-Montana.

Cee Jay is pursuing music professionally and stages one or two shows whenever he comes home.

His challenge is to convince the local market that his music is worthy their attention and the musician says he would do so through staging more shows back home. He said his tour would also break the ground for a programme that would see jazz and urban grooves musicians performing in Canada before the end of the year.

"I have talked to Nox Guni, Sani Makhalima, Stunner and Ex-Q in relation to the programme.

"A US company wants to host young musicians from Zimbabwe in tours of UK, US and Canada," said Cee Jay.

"We hope the programme will be successful so that we can give most of these talented youngsters international exposure."

He said he had been privileged to take part in successful festivals featuring African musicians and thought local artists should be introduced to such events.

"I have been part of the Dallas City Arts Festival for several years and I feel there is need to have more Zimbabwean artists at the fete.

"It is a good platform for exposure."

Cee Jay has curtain-raised for Zimbabwean artists like Alick Macheso, Oliver Mtukudzi and Allan Chimbetu on their US and UK tours.

His interaction with seasoned African musicians abroad has seen him shifting from his original hip hop style to Afro-Jazz.

"Afro-jazz is a more mature and challenging genre.

"While it is easy to compose hip-hop beats on a computer, this genre needs the real instruments and I have done a lot of work to come up with my debut jazz album titled
- The Standard


Music & Dance - Other Beats
Monday, 26 April 2010 08:32
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As Cee Jay Besa prepares for the release of his new CD Ndangariro due out this May, he has joined forces with the Zimbabwe Music Awards (ZIMA) in order to raise awareness and appreciation of Zimbabwean Music at home and away by hosting the USA leg of The ZIMA World Party.

Cee Jay, in conjuction with ZIMA's Executive Producer, Carl Josh Ncube, will stage this party in Dallas, Texas on Saturday, May 15th. The party will include appearances and participation from the cream of Zimbabwe's US-based acts such as The Mambos, Tisu Live Band, Edene, Just Lyphe, and many others.



Cee Jay (left) & Just Lyphe live at the House Of Blues, Dallas, in support of Malaika.



Cee Jay himself is scheduled to perform with his live band on the night. It will also be the launch of his Ndangariro Tour which will see him live in Zimbabwe at the end of May in Harare and Bulawayo and then he will take his show to The World Cup 2010 where he is confirmed for back-to-back live shows. The tour will also take Cee Jay to Maputo, Mozambique during the World Cup period.

Cee Jay says, "I have been following the efforts of Carl Ncube and his team and have been moved by their passion for the growth of Zimbabwean music and for wanting to see artists appreciated in Zim and around the world and wanted to be a part of that because I am an ambassador of our music to the world. It's the least I could do to uplift the efforts of my fellow men coz I am also passionate about standing on the front lines of this progress we all want to see for all Zim artists."

To RSVP for the ZIMA USA party in Dallas, TX, visit www.POARecords.com. To check out Cee Jay's music, visit www.Rudeboy-Records.com. For more information on the Zimbabwe Music Awards, visit www.ZIMA.co.zw.

- The Zimbo Jam


UNITED States-based musician Kudakwashe "Cee Jay" Besa is one of the few Zimbabwean artists that have managed a dance with World Cup festivities in South Africa.

Cee Jay flew into Zimbabwe at the beginning of the month on his way to his SA tour that had three shows lined up.

He has already performed at Ko'Spotong Club in Melville and Club 241 in Four Ways while his last show is slated for Wednesday at Mary Fitzgerald Centre in New Town.

The afro-jazz singer said he would stage shows back home next month before he returns to his base in Texas.

The local shows would be held under the Ndangariro Tour brand since he would be launching his third album with the same title that was released in the US last month.

Ndangariro Tour will involve shows in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare when the musician is expected to team up with Alexio Kawara, Willis Wataffi and Q-Montana.

Cee Jay is pursuing music professionally and stages one or two shows whenever he comes home.

His challenge is to convince the local market that his music is worthy their attention and the musician says he would do so through staging more shows back home. He said his tour would also break the ground for a programme that would see jazz and urban grooves musicians performing in Canada before the end of the year.

"I have talked to Nox Guni, Sani Makhalima, Stunner and Ex-Q in relation to the programme.

"A US company wants to host young musicians from Zimbabwe in tours of UK, US and Canada," said Cee Jay.

"We hope the programme will be successful so that we can give most of these talented youngsters international exposure."

He said he had been privileged to take part in successful festivals featuring African musicians and thought local artists should be introduced to such events.

"I have been part of the Dallas City Arts Festival for several years and I feel there is need to have more Zimbabwean artists at the fete.

"It is a good platform for exposure."

Cee Jay has curtain-raised for Zimbabwean artists like Alick Macheso, Oliver Mtukudzi and Allan Chimbetu on their US and UK tours.

His interaction with seasoned African musicians abroad has seen him shifting from his original hip hop style to Afro-Jazz.

"Afro-jazz is a more mature and challenging genre.

"While it is easy to compose hip-hop beats on a computer, this genre needs the real instruments and I have done a lot of work to come up with my debut jazz album titled Ndangariro."
- Nehanda Radio


2 years after the surprisingly refreshing One Ariega and a year after One Ariega Reloaded, Cee Jay Besa is showing why he is one of the hardest Zimbabwean musicians right now with a brand new album entitled Ndangariro.

Munaye opens up this CD and Cee Jay picks up from where he left off last time with a newer and improved version of the short song dedicated to his son. Ndini Here left a lasting impression on me. This is a song where every reason to thank God is put forward and makes one realise that there is a lot we can be thankful for yet many a time we choose not to give Him thanks. The joys of divine favour are explored through music with a jazzy appeal. Mafaro left me feeling very nostalgic. Cee Jays makes reference to things we used to enjoy as family and friends back home in Zimbabwe pachiurawa mombe, nekubikwa sadza vana vasanotumwa kunotsvaka tsotso dzekuvesa moto nadzo. It then hit me in how he titled his album Ndangariro as a dedication to his late father but in actuality he covers a broader sense of it all without so knowing. The man has a way of expressing himself which makes his music heartfelt and honest. The title track justifies this and it is one of the most meaningful and heart stopping songs dedicated to a parent i have heard in a while. Chokwadi ngatikudze vabereki vachiri vapenyu.

Vahombe is more mid tempo and faster than most cuts off this album. He traces back to days of tales and folklore to give a narration of how we embrace the beauty of success. I saw a live performance of Famba Zvakanaka and this song has become a favourite at Cee Jay's live shows. It is a mature take on relationships where he wishes a former love well as they part ways to focus on their individual lives. My favourite line is: 'Nyangwe taparadzana ndichafambisa zita rako mune zvakanaka.' For those old school music lovers, the song Chikoro will rate highly and is one that shall stand the test of time. You would mistake it for a song made in the early 90s and not taking anything away from it at all. Cee Jay is simply that good and his social commentary makes this song even better. I would recommend that any father who wants to encourage his son to do the best he can in life should play this song for him. I guess as a young guy my stand out track is undoubtedly the bonus tracks Mutare featuring talented brothers Bkay n Kazz and rapper Just Lyphe. This one is an up tempo track that drips of Zimbabweaness and Tony G did justice on the production. Cee Jay does his thing to perfection, the brothers from Masvingo prove why they are Zimbabwe's most talented duo, Just Lyphe gives us the best verse we have ever heard from him (ever!) and Tony G reminds us why he is one of the most sought after producers = A TIGHT TRACK. Period.

Ndangariro is the best album from Cee Jay Besa. In writing this review i am thinking of sending a copy back home to my family (that's how good it is). This is a refreshing and improved Cee Jay who comes back stronger than before with a brilliant emphasis on pentatonic scales for the bass guitar. The backing vocalists were simply outstanding throughout the album, everything was well rehearsed. I think there was a lot of preparation into the making of this album. At this rate, i see this man becoming one of the biggest Zimbabwean acts in Africa and beyond. Highly recommended, get yourself a copy!

Cover Art - 6/10
Music - 8.5/10
Technical Sound - 8/10
'I Like' Factor - 9/10

Posted by XBC Jumpoff at 7:41 AM



- XBC Jumpoff


As Cee Jay Besa prepares for the release of his new album Ndangariro due out this May, he has also joined forces with ZIMA in order to raise awareness and appreciation of Zimbabwean Music home and away by hosting the USA leg of The ZIMA World Party.

In conjunction with Carl Josh Ncube and ZIMA they will stage this party in Dallas Texas tentatively scheduled for May 15th. The party will include several Zimbabwean Acts such as The Mambos, Tisu Live Band, Edene, Just Lyphe and Cee Jay himself is scheduled to perform with his live band on the night.

It will also be the launch of his Ndangariro Tour which will see him live in Zimbabwe at the end of May in Harare and Bulawayo and then he will take his show to The World Cup 2010 where he is confirmed for a few live shows. The tour will also see Cee Jay perform in Maputo Mozambique during the World Cup period.

Cee Jay says "I have been following the efforts of Carl Ncube and his team and have been moved by their passion for the growth of Zimbabwean music and for wanting to see artists appreciated in Zim and around the world and wanted to be a part of that because I am an ambassador of our music to the World.

It’s the least I could do to uplift the efforts of my fellow men coz I am also passionate about standing on the frontlines of this progress we all want to see for all Zim artists".
- http://zimpartypeople.com




Zimbabwe: Cee Jay's Back Home - With Loaded Album
Ngoni Muzofa
2 July 2009

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FOR Cee Jay, One Ariega Reloaded -- a 15-track album the US-based musician is in Zimbabwe to promote -- represents more than just creative work. It epitomises a "coming home", literally and figuratively.

After a decade in the diaspora which bore two albums catering for his immediate market in terms of form and content, the latest offering attempts to reconnect with his "true self" and with local audiences who are getting a feel of his sound for the first time.

Born Kudakwashe Besa and raised in the mean streets of Mbare, Cee Jay's is a story of rising from obscurity to prominence through determination, grit and sacrifice -- a theme he explores vigorously in songs such as Sinsi which features Melvin C.

"This album aims to inspire myself and others to soldier on in spite of what life throws at us. It is about striving for success against the odds stacked against you, and also about unity, peace and togetherness. It seeks to bring understanding on who we are as a people, where we are coming from and where we are going."

It is from the humble Mbare surroundings that Cee Jay got acquainted with music, learning to play the acoustic guitar and receiving mentorship from the late Edwin Hama. Growing up at the peak of the reggae phenomenon in the 1980s he could not escape its influence which is telling in his songs such as Huyanga.

"We listened to the late Bob Marley and drew immense inspiration from him. I was also a Lucky Dube fan for whom I wrote a song Tell Me Why dedicated to his memory following his tragic death."

Fort Worth, Texas -- where he is now based -- ushered in the world of hip hop and brought about his first album, Screwed, Blued and Tattooed which, according to Cee Jay, sold over 9 000 copies. This was followed by Desperate Measures which he promoted extensively in the UK and Canada.

Cee Jay says the third album is a break from the mundane themes he explored in previous offerings and is "geared towards enlightening listeners on the challenges of life in the Diaspora" and the attendant problems they pose to the fabric of the family in such songs as Ndinodzoka and Ziyaspora, which bring to the fore that life abroad is not as rosy as it is made out to be.

Turning to Zimbabwe, Cee Jay notes that the local music industry has failed to harness the digital age -- which includes the internet -- for its benefit in terms of generating income from music downloads.

He salutes the Mannenberg for its efforts to give artists the opportunity to go on the internet and says the powers that be in the industry and government should hasten the process of bringing the music industry into the digital age.

Tomorrow he hosts a CD release party at the Mannenberg, backed by Huggies Entertainment and Spinalong.
- Zimbabwe Independent



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United States based Zimbabwean hip hop artiste, Cee Jay , real name Kudakwashe Besa,, says his 10-year stay in the States has not severed his ties with home.

Cee Jay, in the country to promote his latest album One Ariega Reloaded, says he has always wanted to stay connected with home through his music.

"Although I am seas away from home, my mission through my music is always to try to stay connected with the Zimbabwean people, speaking about Zimbabwean issues.

"For example, there are over 800 Zimbabweans staying in Toronto and these need something to remind them of home, and I’ve done that through my music," says the artiste, as he devours his favourite dish — sadza and chicken.

Unlike the majority of his Zimbabwean contemporaries who have stayed in the US for close to a decade — Cee Jay is still proud of his roots, and still composes most of his songs in the mother tongue.

During our wide-ranging interview, he explains how he finds the language as an effective tool of communicating issues affecting Zimbabweans through music.

"English is our second language, and that is why I used Shona on the latest album I am promoting here because I wanted to stay connected with home, and communicate the joys, sorrows and challenges that Zimbabweans as a people face."

But why did he decide to come back home and launch the album in Zimbabwe, instead of the US, where everything is bigger and more abundant?

"I didn’t feel like I was complete if the album didn’t reach my place of origin.

"My late mentor Edwin Hama always told me to ensure that I should start at home everything I want to do," he said. "I thought bringing the album home would paint my true picture, after staying in the Diaspora for close to 10 years.

"Through it, I also try to inform people that life in the Diaspora is not always as rosy as they think. Yes, there are certain comforts in the Diaspora, but none of them can surpass those at home."

Cee Jay said he would never make up for all the years "I’ve lost by not being in Zimbabwe".

His deep feeling for his African roots comes out strongly in Tell Me Why, featured on the compilation album Konzeresa Riddim, by Zimbabwean artistes in the Diaspora, and also on his latest album.

"I wrote and recorded Tell Me Why on the same day that Lucky Dube was killed. It pained me that someone could do such a horrible thing to an icon of peace who gave so much to African liberation."

But Cee Jay believes staying in the US has opened up new and enriching vistas to him as an African artiste.

He speaks with particular passion of the abundant opportunities at one’s disposal in the US, from education, employment to music.

"There is the good and bad. For example, when I was a student I realised the tuition fees were higher than here. Also, the Zimbabwean education system is harder. For example, here you go for O-Levels for four tough years, whereas in the US they grade you as you go.

"In education it is easier for us Zimbabweans to achieve degrees," he said.

Growing up in Mbare, Cee Jay says the ghetto exposure has helped him to adapt to the fast life in the US.

While studying for his two-year degree in computer science, Cee Jay did his music, studied and worked in the customer service sector of the banks, to make a living.

He attributes this tenacity to his upbringing in one of Zimbabwe’s toughest high-density areas — Mbare.

"The most important thing that I learnt staying in Mbare was how to deal with hardships at an early age," he said. "Life in the ghetto teaches you to be agile and to communicate at all levels.

"I put this to good use when I eventually went to the States where life is fast. Although I stay in Texas, there are cities like Dallas where life in the ghetto is tough and rough, although slightly different from Mbare, in a way."

After working in the city banks, and upon completing his degree, during which he joined over 5 000 students — local and foreign who rely on such employment to bankroll their education — CJ established his own studio, Rudeboy Records, in 2000.

"Back home, I’d always been a musician," he said, "but not at a professional level. Things, however, started happening when I started the studio that grew and I ended up producing local acts in the States, a development that saw the birth of the Rudeboy All Stars compilation album."

The album performed beyond his expectations, selling over 9 000 copies.

"The exposure was good and the album was selling well, although I didn’t realise it at time. My song, The Quarter Back, released in 2005, with an accompanying video, went on to become a hit on radio stations such as K104."

"Most of the songs were Zimbabwe-American songs, although when I first did it I had wanted it to be American, but people bought it because of its Zimbabwean element. I marketed it more on the streets of Texas and around it."

Cee Jay singles out its cross-cultural aspect as another reason for the album’s success. "The Rudeboy All Stars album was a mixture of cultures and races from the States and Africa, black and white MCs and it was enlightening in that we realised that we had a lot in common as people, in spite of our backgrounds and levels of civilisation," he said.

But that was just the beginning: he went on to link up with the Zimbabwe Dancehall Crew, led by Slaggy Yut, based in England.

Cee Jay said his quest for music with a positive message and bearing on African people and roots, linked him to the crew, and saw him shifting, for a while from his hip hop and embracing reggae/ ragga.

"In the States, you are sort of cut off from the rest of the world, but what linked me to them was the positivity in their message — unity, peace and harmony. I wanted to emulate that in my music, since I was still learning and evolving from my former self," he says.

The result gave birth to Desperate Measures, featuring Malvin Cee, Jusa and DJ Tinah, who supplied the rest of the tracks that made up the album.

The album saw Cee Jay embarking on a whirlwind tour of the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, in 2007.

Cee Jay timed the release and launch of all his three albums to coincide with Zimbabwe’s Independence Day on April 18 because "Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora celebrate our country’s independence big time".

Cee Jay arrived home in mid-May and will return to the US next month.

He said he had great respect for leading artistes such as Oliver Mtukudzi and son Sam, Alexio Kawara, Ex Q and Xtra Large.

"With Tuku, we were neighbours in Kwakwe and we also met and did shows with him in the States. One of my first stops is always Tuku because of his words of wisdom.

"I also have respect for Sam (Mtukudzi), he is like a brother to me," he says.

Cee Jay is a bit evasive when it comes to his personal and private life.

"I was born in Bindura. Zve age hazvitengese music yangu (my age doesn’t market my music), and also my marital status has nothing to do with music," he says.

Meanwhile, today, the artiste will be signing autographs, together with Alexio Kawara at Spinalong at Spar in Letombo Park in Msasa.

- The Herald


Discography

Desperate Measures (2007)
One Ariega (2008)
One Ariega Reloaded (2009)
Ndangariro (2010)

Photos

Bio

The World Cup Fifa 2010 in South Africa brought the world face to face with one of the best young bands out of Zimbabwe. Cee Jay Besa is an Afro Jazz musician from the Harare based in the USA. This band had fan parks in Pretoria, Johannesburg and Cape Town on fire with their energetic young show. Inclusive of star players and artists in their own right, T Soda(Bass), Ian T Mukwere (Mbira Maestro), Stephen Otiengo(Drums) and Simba Mak( Keys). Together they tour Europe, UK, Canada and USA to spread their conscious music of Love, Peace and Unity. Cee Jay has released 3 cds independently. A seasoned African sound for this young band that tours around the world and whose resume' and following continues to grow