Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Macheso on JuJu, local music industry

By Blessing Masakadza

Sungura music superstar Alick Macheso says he is unfazed about people who believe he uses juju with others calling him Chigure (Nyau dancer).

alick macheso
Alick Macheso

He said there was nothing new about the term Chigure (Nyau) because he was brought up in it and in Malawi it is actually a culture.

Instead, Macheso said he is doing well because of the hard work he puts in his work.

“I spend six hours or more on stage performing live, three or four days in a row. At times I sleep in the studio recording, away from my family.

“Those who say I use juju, I challenge them because if juju could sing why don’t they give it guitars so it can bring money?”

The musician also bemoaned the dirty lyrics which have dominated local songs, especially in Zimdancehall. 

“As musicians we should strive to come up with lyrics that are family friendly, not dirty lyrics. This is something that we as musicians can be able to rectify.

“There are certain songs you can only listen while hiding in the bathroom, away from the everyone.”

Macheso denied that he sang the song ‘Chikuru Kurarama’ for his daughter Sharon who divorced with others saying it was actually meant for his erstwhile wife Tafadzwa.

“People say a lot, others said it had been sung for Tafadzwa but the message is clear. If people are not compatible even after marriage they should be allowed to separate before they kill or injure each other.

“There is no need to force things, if it is not working it is not … couples will end up boiling cooking oil and injuring each other or even striking a partner with a log on the head,” he said.

The sungura star said despite Sharon’s divorce, he will look after her and granddaughter. 

“I will look after both of them the way I did with my daughter. That is not a problem; I also look after her brother’s son.

“There are a lot of things that people don’t know. There are several families that depend on Mberikwazvo and several children who are not related to me but I pay for their school fees.”

Macheso is currently staying with ailing sungura musician Tedious Matsito’s son Muchapedza Jr and helping him in his musical journey.

“Muchapedza is staying at home. Things are not well with his father and I decided that he comes at home. He has recorded an album and it is there at the studio,” he said.

Besides his family and relatives, he has a list of children he looks after and some even stay at his place.

And he also helps his band members as he sometimes forgoes his share of gate takings and let it be shared among his band members.

The musician told the Daily News on Sunday that he believes in sharing, adding the incentive also keeps his band members happy.

“I believe in sharing the little that will be available. If after a show the outcome is not favourable, I will tell management to give my share to the band,” he said.

When he was appointed Red Cross Humanitarian Ambassador, some thought it was because of his fame but, he is actually a philanthropist with people at heart.

The humble singer, who does not live a flashy life, said he will remain modest and will continue interacting with the people. 

“I could be driving in many cars, showcasing them and spending time in expensive places, but that’s not me.”

His Orchestra Mberikwazvo band is made up of 30 people, with 23 members on a full-time basis, all being paid from the money generated from live music shows. The musician has also managed to acquire residential stands for his band members.

He believes there is more joy in giving than in receiving. 

“The band is my family and it has now grown to about 30 people. We all look up to it, this is our company.  I ensure that everyone is happy because their happiness is the key to our growth.

“I managed to acquire residential stands in Chitungwiza for the band members and there is a stretch referred to as kwaMacheso. One cannot perform well when he has rental stress. I also had a stand there and I gave it to Jonas Kasamba because I have somewhere to stay,” he said. 

“When I give I also receive. The people who come and pay at our shows are the ones giving to me, hence I have to share.”

Baba Sharo as the musician is fondly known said his heart bleeds when he looks at the music industry in general. He believes several musicians are lacking creativity and there are many copycats only good at playing what was done before. 

“They are good but only good at playing what was done before. Creativity is lacking. Taking Chitekete and naming it Chitukutu doesn’t make it new. People who know Chitekete will always recognise it.”

The sungura star said this trend kills the music industry and the artiste in the process. 

“This is killing our industry and when one sees that people are not coming to his shows they start blaming others of sabotage or juju but people will not come and listen to stuff they know is not yours,” he said.

“I released ‘Murondatsimba’ and someone got into the studio to redo the song which I believe was a mistake. There is nothing wrong in learning but when it’s copying it’s a different case.

“Someone went on a radio interview and when his song was played people said it’s my song ‘Petunia’. When he was asked about it he acted as if he did not know me or my music yet a few days before I was with him,” he said.

The singer said he takes his time perfecting his art and spends much time on stage sharing it with his fans. 

“I have established a relationship with my guitar, in the morning we are together and evening. I sleep over it and wake up with it.”

Macheso’s sons Tatenda and Esau are now pursuing careers in music playing sungura, their father’s genre. He said he does not force children into music. 

“I asked them what they wanted to do in life and they said music. I asked which genre and they said sungura. I said that’s fine, Esau plays bass guitar and Tatenda plays rhythm guitar. I will assist them,” he said.

Macheso further said he was saddened by the death of superstar Oliver Mtukudzi.

“This is the saddest development and news not only to me but the whole nation at large. He was an icon to all of us. We were robbed and all that we thought would happen this year with him present is gone,” he said. Daily News