Happy 60th Birthday Tuku

HARARE - Like any child, my taste of music was influenced by my parents early, especially father’s catalogue collection that was dominated by western sounds from musical acts like Beatles, Hurricanes and Manhattans.

Back then in the 1980s, my father had a special preference for local music and selected his music careful.

He was for the music that spoke and celebrated a new Zimbabwe.

Among my father’s vast collection was the music of Oliver Mtukudzi aka Tuku.

Tuku’s music and that of several other local musicians drew me closer to the local sound and my appreciation of the genre was boundless.

The musicians’ deep understanding of cultural traditions and their rich lyrics sung in local languages transformed social and even educational spheres.

I could make a distinction between musicians that had depth and portrayed an understanding of our culture. Their melody, punctuated by powerful lyrics made one proudly Zimbabwean.

Over the years, Tuku has been my favourite although sungura ace Alick Machdeso also excites me.

Tuku’s ability to churn out hits and his seeming aptitude to remain standing in times of adversity intrigued me. He possesses a staying power rare in most musicians.

Career wise, there was a period he seemed like going through a rough patch.

It was as if he had a writer’s block! Remember, Chirimupoto and his gospel detour on the album Rumbidzai Jehova which set tongues with others talking of Tuku’s musical collapse.

But the seemingly downtrend proved a punch; it was like Tuku was arming himself silently. And whooh, it was a real comeback for the superstar.

He was able to produce super hits afterwards with his gospel album becoming a national anthem, from nowhere. The album could be heard loud I cars and people’s homes.

Indeed Tuku’s star was shining and he became the most sought after live performer.

While there were several tainted scenarios in Tuku’s social life and misfortunes, he continued his musical journey and maintained his humour and wit. This was a marvel to the average man and those high up as he saved as a living testimony.

To me Tuku resembles a brilliant artiste. When I became a journalist, my wish was to meet the superstar and have a one on one chat about his music and everything else that makes him tick.

While I enjoy writing hard news stories and politics, it had never come to me that one day I could be writing arts and entertainment – a field that Tuku dominates.

Tuku’s 60th birthday provided the rare opportunity to interview the superstar I had always admired. Indeed I had a date with the superstar at his Pakare Paye arts centre in Norton.

While I have been to Pakare Paye arts centre before, every opportune time to be at this arts facility brings joy and enlightenment.

Once at the centre I was ushered by the receptionist who kept me entertained as Tuku was still on his way.

For the time, I was free to roam the reception area and tour the rest or Pakare Paye arts centre while the music legend made his way.

The reception area is generally impressive and is furnished majestically while complemented by neatly arranged photographs which are lined up on the walls.

For once the walls around the centre look like a hall of fame for Tuku as the photographic images captures his life and family history.

On the walls is an array of awards certificates decorating his walls that speak volumes on his prowess to speak on a diverse range of issues.

As I admired the walls, Tuku’s publicity Shepherd Mutamba arrived and later Tuku came in and I knew all was well.

Tuku and I had a very interesting indepth interview that I would like to share with the Daily News readers as he celebrates his 60th birthday today.

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