By Mtandazo Dube
Something has changed at Tuku Music, in fact, there is something different about Oliver Mtukudzi. Gone are the days when journalists were harassed and manhandled for trying to talk to Mtukudzi, those days when Shepherded Mutamba was in charge of the superstar’s media affairs. With Mutamba gone, maybe as journalists we should say “good riddance to bad rubbish”.
Now, Tuku is inviting journalists into his den, giving interviews, allowing them to see every aspect of how he relates with different people, his wife, his band members, what he eats or drinks, and most importantly allowing all sorts of questions about his life — personal or otherwise.
The only dent, of course, when The Sunday Mail Leisure got such an invite, was the absence of Selmor, Sandra, etcetera — Tuku’s children.
His latest album — Eheka Nhai Yahwe!” (Enjoy My Dear Friend), long hit the streets, thanks to the criminals called pirates, as the album had been released in South Africa and Europe.
Nevertheless, scores of journalists, radio presenters, deejays, artistes, music promoters and other invited guests thronged Pakare Paye Arts Centre last Thursday afternoon for the official unveiling of Tuku’s latest album.
Tuku’s 65th, a record number of releases in Zimbabwe by any musician, came on the day he turned 64, and again, there is something different about the album itself. “It’s a dance album,” declared the superstar.
“Of course there are tracks that touch on the different aspects of our lives, some whose message demands a grounded beat, but overall, we were biased towards making people want to rise and dance, to forget their troubles.”
True to his word, Tuku opens the 12-track effort with a dance track “Chori neVamwe”, a song he performed live at the launch much to the delight of those in attendance. “Chori ne Vamwe is suitable for partying.
The song is likely to be an instant favourite of many, if the response so far is anything to go by — it has a sing-along feel to it and is easy on the ear.
However, the crowd favourite at the launch was the song which features his wife Daisy aka Gogo Dee, “Masanga Bodo”.
With its complex nature, where Tuku employed several voices to weave the masterpiece, many wondered how Daisy still managed to stand out, yet she had never set foot in a recording studio before. It is another one to watch out for. On the same album is Hugh Masekela’s unmistakable horn. The South African jazz legend features on two songs, “Bhiza raMambo” and “Kusateerera”.
Another South African Afro-pop and gospel singer, who is also an actress, Maduvha Madima added her voice on “Ndinecha”. The album also carries remakes “Dzikama Wakura”, “Tamba Tamba Chidembo” and “Hadzivake”. “Dzikama Wakura” is a 1989 single while the other two are from Mtukudzi’s debut album — “Ndipeiwo Zano” released in 1978.
Said Tuku at the launch: “I didn’t expect to achieve 65 albums in my lifetime, but I’m glad we have managed to do this.” On collaborating with his wife, he said, “She wanted to be the boss, as usual, yet in the studio I am the boss. It was more of our relationship as husband and wife than what I would normally do with my backing vocalists.”
Professor Fred Zindi, who gave a speech at the luncheon praised Mtukudzi for bringing his wife on board, but asked, “Why did you take so long to bring her into the band?” Further exploration of the album reveals Tuku’s love for his Kore Kore dialect as he weaves the lyrics and instrument to create what has become his trademark sound, Tuku Music.
He makes it difficult for a listener to pick and choose songs as there is variety. “Pa Bodzi”, a track featuring percussionist Chinembiri Chidodo, digs deep into traditional beats, with katekwe sounds taking centre stage. Tracks that include “Hunapwa”, “Dzivirira” and “Asina Ndiyani” complete the 12-track effort. The Sunday Mail