Zim’s search for perfect sound


HARARE – Since time immemorial, musicians have been inventing new genres by combining two or more different styles in exciting and unusual ways.

Fusions of different music styles have given birth to nearly all the popular music we listen to today.

For example dendera borrowed elements from kanindo and sungura dub, funk, and disco, coupled with the invention of the sampler.

Departed kings and queens of song like Simon Chimbetu, Andy Brown, Tongai Moyo, Chioniso Maraire, the ever-green legends like chimurenga music guru Thomas Mapfumo, sungura music maestro Alick Macheso and katekwe superstar Oliver Mtukudzi have all crafted new sounds aided by the experience they acquired in the music industry.

After a stint at Khiama Boys who were masters of sungura, Alick Macheso formed his own band Orchestra Mberikwazvo and came up with a different sound which was modelled around a strong bassline.

The king of sungura also borrowed some elements from rhumba.

While late mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire created a funky new sound by adding  a bit of jazz to mbira music, Zimbabwe music legend Mtukudzi borrowed elements from many genres like jit, jazz and traditional music to come up with his popular katekwe.

The late “Muzukuru” Andy Brown, whose talent and versatility on the guitar was unquestionable, added depth and value to the local traditional music through adding a rock guitar feel and a bit of jazz.

Though many musicians have fused many Zimbabwean genres, nobody has until now fused mbira and sungura in a significant way. Combining mbira and sungura is viewed by many artistes as akin to mixing oil and water.

Award-winning mbira musician Hope Masike has decided to prove the doubters of the mbira-sungura marriage wrong.

The mbira ace recently teamed up with Hatfield-based producer and guitarist, Clive “Mono” Mkundu and did a single, Rudo Harunakufina, which blends the two contrasting music styles.

“We experimented and saw that the fusion sounds good and then thought of doing many songs,” said Mono.

Masike, who will tour France, UK, Norway and Mozambique this month, launched the single last Friday.

“I did this song with my co-producer for years, Mono.More similar songs will be released soon,” said Masike.

Who knows maybe in the not-so-distant future a fusion of sungura and mbira will become a household genre in the country.

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