HARARE – Charles Chipanga spent over 5 years working with legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi as a marimba player. In 2011 Mtukudzi fell out with several members of his Black Spirits band including Charles and his soon to be wife Namatayi Mubariki who was a backing singer.
The husband and wife team of Charles and Namatayi Chipanga are now pursuing their solo careers. Nehanda Radio caught up with Charles to find out how the journey has been so far outside the Mtukudzi sphere of influence.
Charles Chipanga: We have brought in a new flavour in Gospel music which is percussive jazz ethnic and contemporary sound which means every new thing needs time to grow and so far we have penetrated the corporate market, festivals and conferences which I think is a steady growth on a solo career.
Very rare to have a husband and wife musical team. Tell us about your working relationship with Namatayi?
I treat Namatayi as an artist on stage, I found her singing and playing instruments which is one of the qualities that brought us together. So on stage she aint my wife, she is an artist and vocal director and am just a marimba player next to her.
Whatever she does on stage that she feels will help the message she is caring in the song to be heard, I support her and she does the same to me, Actually its easier to work with someone who understands your vision and feelings at the same time.
Given you played with Oliver Mtukudzi, many are surprised you went into gospel music, or should that not surprise anyone?
It should not be a surprise, I was always a christian and was doing my christian album even before leaving Tuku. Actually I recorded my 1st album way back in 1998 with Albert Nyathi helping me but it never had much airplay. I was a worship leader at my church still while playing with Tuku.
Our readers will obviously be curious about what sort of relationship you have with Tuku given that you and your wife used to be in his band and left amid reports of disharmony over salaries.
Hahaha we went past it my brother, salaries were always an issue back then but we no longer have the Boss and employee relationship but father and son relationship. Or rather Legend and marimba player relationship.
How has piracy affected you? What are your thoughts on it and what can be done to resolve the problem and help artists like yourself?
So far piracy has not affected me personally maybe because I haven’t released a “hit” that got everyone pirating but have seem my fellow musicians struggling with and its painful I must say.
The problems can be resolved by us musicians, first we should not pirate our own music by ” duplicating” it. Am sure if we stick to “replication”, there is a certain quality that we make our people get accustomed to.
Also in a quest to be well known, lets not give music for free and to the pirates to spread it. If we have one voice am sure the law enforcing authorities will hear us, although there is so little that they have done, considering what they can do when they want anything illegal stopped.
Tell us what you do in a your spare time?
I love meat. I do braai with friends and watch a lot of movies. I also enjoy watching other bands perform.