By Blessing Masakadza
Veteran Chimurenga musician Thomas Mapfumo stirred controversy with his remarks on television towards sungura giant Alick Macheso.
Mukanya, as the musician is fondly known, speaking on national television said he and the late Oliver Mtukudzi were the only internationally recognised musicians, dragging Macheso’s name in the process.
“Vanoziikanwa chete ndini na Oliver, vamwe avo vana Macheso vanogumira kunana England… (Oliver and I are the only internationally known musicians, the likes of Macheso have only gone as far as England),” he said in a video clip circulating online.
This has attracted widespread criticism with people online saying he could have made his point without naming any musician.
Several people including musicians and renowned journalists believe Mukanya went overboard in emphasising his point, singling out Macheso’s name.
Others believe Mukanya was being honest and local musicians should work hard to improve their international standing and appeal.
Arts commentator Banjamin Nyandoro said it is time Mukanya occupies the gap left by Tuku and nurture artistes big or small to reach similar levels.
“This is no longer time for Mukanya to compete with other musicians. His role now should be to occupy the gap left by Tuku and start nurturing musicians big or small to get to those levels.
“He should take a cue from Tuku who nurtured the likes of Mbeu, Munya Matarutse, Tocky Vibes and many others. Look at the collaborations he had with various artistes. This should be his role now,” he said.
Macheso, speaking at Tuku’s burial described Tuku and Mukanya as the country’s veterans in as far as music concerned.
This resulted in many concluding that Macheso was not offended by the remarks.
As much as Mukanya is a renowned artiste, music lovers believe he is out of touch with the local industry and Macheso is holding the fort and after Tuku’s death he (Macheso) is now expected to lead the juniors.
Outspoken musician Carlos Green believes Mukanya should apologise to Macheso over his remarks.
“Mukanya should apologise to Macheso,” he said.
Macheso’s contribution in uplifting sungura music is well-documented, taking over from the late veterans such as Leonard Dembo and System Tazvida.
Norwegian guitarist Eirik Holf Walmsness has gone to the extent of making videos playing Macheso’s music and last year he was in the country, attending the musician’s shows. Daily News