By Bhekumuzi Ncube
Zimbabwe music icon Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi has no plans to retire despite turning 65 years old. Tuku’s manager Walter Wanyanya said Tuku is stronger than ever to produce music and inspire young artistes.
“Music is not a profession in which someone is required to step down at old age. Tuku is yet to deliver more music to fans. His illustrious music career is for life,” he said.
The sensational afro-jazz legend entered the music industry in 1975 when he released his single Stop after Orange, and has never looked back.
His astonishing career saw him produce 65 albums that went platinum, and include Ndega Zvangu, Neria and Africa which was recorded in 1980, and included hit tracks like Zimbabwe and Mazongonyedze.
Tuku’s determination to inspire and motivate local artistes to fame saw him collaborate with various artistes like Sulumani Chimbetu in 2011 for their blockbuster hit, Kwedu.
The captivating collaboration was followed by another great single, Pata Pata in 2012 featuring Afro Tenors. His last album Eheka! Nhai Yahwe was launched last year, and featured South African jazz superstar, Hugh Masekela. The album was welcomed with warm hands by Zimbabweans. South
African young jazz sensations Berita and The Muffinz also got the chance of doing collaborations with the legend. Wanyanya said Tuku’s 66th album was nearly finished.
“Tuku is still not done in sharing his talent to fans. We are currently working on a new album which is 90% done. People can look forward to the album launch very soon,” he said.
Tuku’s ambition to groom young talent led to the foundation of the Pakare Paye Arts Centre located in Norton about 45 kilometres from Harare in 2004.
The Centre has contributed immensely in grooming new talent and career development in music, dance, drama, poetry and story-telling. In film, Tuku starred in a film production titled Jit which is a romantic comedy and was the first commercial film produced entirely with a Zimbabwean cast. He also starred in Neria, which also had his soundtrack. Wanyanya said Tuku was still helping filmmakers with soundtracks.
“Tuku produces soundtracks of filmmakers both local and beyond borders. We are currently working with an American superstar on a documentary about the recognition of Basketball in Africa,” he said.
Tuku’s mesmerising concerts locally and internationally saw the renowned artiste of all time being honoured with multi-awards which include The Best Selling Artists in Zimbabwe, M-Net Best Soundtrack (Neria), Nama (Best Group/Male Vocalist), Kora (Best Arrangement for Ndakuvara), Sama Finalist (Best Traditional/African Adult Contemporary DVD), and Kora (Best African Male Artist and Nama (Best Group/Male Vocalist).
Local artistes congratulated Tuku stating that he is an idol to upcoming artistes. Inkululeko Yabantsha School of Arts (Iyasa) founder, Nkululeko Dube who was invited with his group to liven Tuku’s birthday bash at the weekend said it was an honour being invited by Tuku.
“Tuku is among the first pioneers of Zimbabwe music. Iyasa was humbled to be given the opportunity to celebrate and share moments with the Neria hit maker,” he said. -@NcubeBhekumuzi