Vasco Chaya & Anesu Mirisawu
THE recent measures announced by government to curb the spread of coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic will further worsen individual band members’ welfare as they usually rely on live concerts for survival.
This comes as the music industry has been under tough lockdown measures since March last year as music bands never had the opportunity to hold live concerts.
The recent second Covid-19 wave has seen another hard national lockdown which commenced last week and will run for 30 days with high hopes of it being extended.
Leonard Zhakata band member Gibson “Spaghet” Chisoni told the Daily News yesterday that the situation has been tough for the instrumentalists who include guitarists, drummers, dancers and backing vocalists.
“Most of us (band members) are now pursuing other financial avenues such that we can be able to make ends meet in these trying times. As for me, I am now into buying and selling. I cannot say the business is good but I am surviving,” Chisoni said.
Born and bred in Shamva some 34 years ago, Spaghet joined Zhakata in early 2000s as a dancer and backing vocalist.
During the lockdown period, he usually sells live chickens along major roads in Harare.
“At times we survive through well-wishers. We cannot blame the band leaders because they are also suffering. We are all in a tight situation,” he said.
Alick Macheso chanter Jonas Kasamba said the band members are struggling to make ends meet.
“The advantage I have over others is that I am residing at my own house in Chitungwiza. I feel sorry for others who pay rent on a monthly basis. However, I need money for survival. I am surviving through selling vegetables but it’s tough,” the Congolese chanter told this publication.
Another Congolese chanter Gift “Shiga Shiga” Katulika also bemoaned the Covid-19 national lockdown.
“I have sold most of my household goods to make ends meet. I used to rely on well-wishers in the form of promoters Thompson Dondo and Regis Munenzwa but it is very unfortunate that they all died in a space of a week due to Covid-19,” the Utakataka Express band member said.
Mathias Mhere’s vocalist and band member, Martha Anibal, 27, no longer focuses on music.
“Our lives have been affected by Covid-19, hence I have decided to look for a secondary job in Harare while waiting for the situation to improve. We are just hoping God will rescue us during these trying times,” Anibal said.
Anibal is employed by one of the leading telecommunications companies.
“I advise other band members to look for some side hustles/jobs to survive since our leaders have also been hit hard by the pandemic,” she said.
One of Mambo Dhuterere’s band members Taurai “Gringo Junior” Boora shared the same sentiments.
“Both band leaders and band members are in a tight situation hence members cannot just expect from the leaders. As for me, I am now into farming and that venture is helping me to put food on my family table,” Boora said.
Boora is into sweet potato farming in Nyabira.
Apart from pursuing music, Boora whose father was comedian Lazarus “Gringo” Boora is also pursuing their family legacy.
“Both music and acting is not paying due to the effects of Covid-19 national lockdown. I urge fellow band members to find something to do for the meantime while waiting for the arrival of vaccines,” he said.
On the other hand, musicians admitted the tough situation saying they are doing their level best to keep their boats afloat.
“Obviously it is not an easy feat or task to sustain such a big outfit but we have been fortunate and blessed enough to be able to keep everyone catered for through our various stakeholders and partners whom I can’t mention by name,” Suluman Chimbetu’s manager Carlton Mparutsa told the Daily News yesterday.
Mbeu concurred with Chimbetu saying it’s tough but they cannot afford to see their band members dying of hunger.
“Since 2020 when the Covid-19-induced lockdown started it has not been business as usual and for the purposes of upkeep for our band we have largely been relying on revenue from commercials and digital sales to cushion our band members.
“We are selling our regalia online to our new and old fan base,” Mbeu said.