HARARE – One of the pioneers of urban grooves in Zimbabwe, Leonard Mapfumo has received a deal of a lifetime that could propel his career to new heights.
Mapfumo has been signed by South Africa’s Blue Diamond Trading Company and will commence working with them before year end.
Blue Diamond expressed interest in Mapfumo’s music after hearing the song Two Chete which is on his album The Journey.
Mapfumo, who is part owner of the Heshi Mfeshi record label together with his manager and producer Joe Machingura, is happy to have secured the deal with the South African company.
“It really is a great feeling that I have been recognised by a South African company”, said Mapfumo.
“I was a bit sceptical at first, especially when they called me. I thought it was one of those pranks that the local radio stations do and I did not take them seriously.
“They called me again and this time I listened and they said they would come to Zimbabwe if we arranged a meeting. We did arrange a meeting and they came”.
Mapfumo said he hopes the deal will help to place Zimbabwean music on the limelight.
“At the moment it seems like our music has been sidelined and with a deal like this we hope to be more visible.
“I hope it will enable us to compete regionally and continentally. People should know that Zimbabwe has competitive music and musicians”.
The urban groover said the South African company signed him on because they thought his album, The Journey had not been marketed well.
His manager and executive producer Machingura insisted Mapfumo was still a Heshi Mfeshi artiste.
“The arrangement that we have with them is like those we had with Metro and other recording companies.
They signed Mapfumo for marketing in South Africa and other African countries.
“The first part of the three-year deal is to shoot a video for the song Two Chete before the year ends. It is scheduled to be done in South Africa and will be marketed in South Africa.
“It is really an honour to have one of your artistes recognised in a foreign country, especially in an established market like South Africa. It brings hope to our artistes’ careers.
“Even for the genre it is a great step as it shows that someone out there has faith in our cause,” he said.
Machingura added this year has been a fortunate one for Mapfumo who has been in the industry for over 10 years.
“He is having his maiden United Kingdom tour towards the end of December and we have also closed this deal.
“This is going to be a major boost in his career and the label is very proud of the turn of events,” he said.
Blue Diamond is also said to have expressed interest in two other Heshi Mfeshi artistes, Yoz a rapper and T-Sheme a rhumba artiste.
Mapfumo first made his mark with the song Seiko on which he featured Roki.
He also produced other hits including Maidei, Two Chete, Shevedza, Ndiwe, Miss Makadii, Mvura, Chiuyaka remix and others.
His albums are R and L, NaMapfumo and The Journey.