By Tafadzwa Zimoyo
It is now two years and two days since the death of the legendary music icon Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and his management has confirmed that the album he was working on before his death will be out this quarter.
Tuku died at the age of 66 after battling diabetes for sometime.
When he passed on, his discography included 67 albums, and was working on the 68th.
During the course of his long career, Tuku took themes relevant to social issues of the time, thus in the 80s he sang songs in celebration of independence, and sang about HIV and AIDS in the 90s.
In an interview, Tuku’s last manager Walter Wanyanya confirmed the latest developments and said preparations were at an advanced stage for the album launch.
“The album’s name is called “Abiangu 2” which is a Shona – Chikorekore dialect meaning friends,” he said.”
Wanyanya said the album had 14 tracks, but did not want to share some of the song’s names and the name of the artists featured on the project.
“It follows after “Abiangu 1” which was released in 2011,” he said. “It will be ready for release this quarter and it features different artists from various countries which include Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
“The album was produced by the late Dr Tuku himself and mixed and mastered by Vusa Moyo.”
Wanyanya took to social media to remembered the legend and cherish his happy moments with him.
“What an honour it was to have carried their (the late Tuku and Hugh Masekela) bags and walk behind them in service,” he posted.
“Forever grateful. We celebrate you daily. I will always treasure the time I spent with you and the lessons you taught me daily. Thank you for showing me the ability to love, learn and teach. Your legacy is set in stone.”
Tuku’s daughter Selmor dropped a single “Ngwarai” to mark the second anniversary of the death of his father.
“The release of Ngwarai was my way of remembering him,” she said. “We couldn’t visit his grave, unfortunately, to put flowers because of the lockdown restrictions, but we will do so as soon as this is over.
“I miss him so much. I miss that phone call he always made every year on our birthdays to sing to us. We will never hear that voice again.”
Tuku was a prolific songwriter and he also wrote the music for, and starred in Jit, the first feature film with an all-Zimbabwean cast in 1991, and then acted and provided the soundtrack for the massively popular Neria in 1993, of the story of a woman reduced to poverty because customary law did not allow her to inherit her husband’s property.
Neria won Tuku the M-Net best soundtrack award from the South African television channel, while the title song became yet another hit.
He wrote and directed Was My Child (1995), a musical drama on the plight of Zimbabwe’s street children and his profile, especially in the United States was helped by the American singer Bonnie Raitt, who covered his song “Hear Me Lord” on her 2002 album Silver Lining.
In March 2003, the “Tozeza Baba” hit maker made it to the cover of Time magazine titled “The People’s Voice,”.
In the United Kingdom that year, he played at the Royal Festival Hall in London, while later visits included Womad in 2014.
He has produced songs with South African outfit Black Mambazo as well as Hugh Masekela, the trumpeter and singer known as the “father of SouthAfrican jazz”, who used his music in the fight against apartheid and died in 2018.
Besides winning several awards, Tuku was also rated by Forbes magazine one of Africa’s 10 most bankable artists.
He was not only a musician, but known for his philanthropic work.
Tuku established the Pakare Paye Arts Centre in his home town in Norton, which became an epicentre for talent identification and training. The Herald.