Following hard on the heels of his peer Sam Mtukudzi who released his debut Rume Rimwe in December 2007 another of the pioneers of Pakare Paye Arts Centre, Munyaradzi Mataruse (20), is in the studio stitching together his own debut Dengu Remhodzi under Tuku Music label. One of the early products of the center, having joined Pakare Paye at the age of 16 and coming from a background of traditional dance, Munyaradzi is now tuning more into what he describes as contemporary hard jazz/traditional fusion.
An entirely youthful outfit grouped together as The Jazz Flock, Munyaradzi’s band will not have their tender ages be any hindrance in pursuit of their big dreams in music. “If the likes of Oliver Mtukudzi and Thomas Mapfumo made hits when they were in their early 20s nothing can stop me,” Munyaradzi told tukumusic.com.
“We have had first class facilities to train and develop at the center and there is no reason to fail.” Dengu Remhodzi is not a particular theme song on the album but is rather a collective theme for the album. It has not been easy going for young Munyaradzi who arrived at Pakare Paye with the barest idea of electric instruments using each day as a learning process under the guidance of Tuku himself and his peers Sam and Poda who were sort of “old hands”.
But before he laid his hands on the guitar Munyaradzi did a stint with the centre’s own Bandarimba Marimba Band diversifying into contemporary music each day at a time. “To find Tuku saying we were ready to record has not been easy. He is tough when it comes to quality and does not allow shoddy work. So, yes, here I am in the studio. Nothing will stop me now.” – tukumusic.com
After 25 years performing, recording and touring with Oliver Tuku Mtukudzi - the longest serving band member of The Black Spirits - Erick Kasamba aka Picky is calling it a day to venture into business in the small mining town of Bindura, north of Harare. Picky’s last official show in Zimbabwe was in Chisipite, Harare, on Saturday 14 June while his last official one abroad was set for Durban, South Africa, during the weekend of 21-22 June, at a peace concert with Tuku to raise funds to support victims of xenophobic violence that rocked SA in recent months.
But Picky is not exactly done, as yet. He returns for a one-off bash to bid farewell to Tuku Music fans at a venue and date to be advised in due course. Charismatic and easy going - almost unnoticeable until he landed on stage - Picky concedes developing and maturing as an artist during his time with Tuku and The Black Spirits.
He mastered the percussions with the ingenuity of a tutor and helped form, shape and develop that inimitable frontline backing Tuku on the vocals in between their infectious katekwe driven dances. Picky is a recorded artist too. To his credit are singles, Mwana Mwana Chete, Sifikile done with Orange Juice Band, Ndangariro Dzangu (Ndichigunun’una seNherera) a remix from James Chitanga’s own version with the New Image Band. His debut album was Vakafa Vatambura.
In the following interview with tukumusic.com Picky reflects on is career at Tuku Music and talks also about the new family business that will now be occupying him as he retires from the rigors of foreign travels, performing. Tuku also speaks on Picky’s contribution to the success of Tuku Music and how much he will personally miss his long time percussionist.