Musicians unleash the next generation

HARARE - An ambitious new generation made up of sons of established musicians has burst onto the Zimbabwean scene determined to bolster legacies crafted by their fathers.

Unlike Suluman Chimbetu, Peter Young Igwe Moyo, Tendai and Morgan Dembo who ventured into meaningful music after the death of their fathers, the new crop of rookie musicians is entering professional music while their fathers are still alive.

This new breed of talented musicians includes Gary Tight (19), son of Willom Tight; Takakunda Mukundu (15), eldest son of guitarist-cum-producer Clive Mono Mukundu as well as Learnmore Mjintu (20), son of popular sungura guitarist Innocent Mjintu.

Gary, who completed his ‘A’ Level studies at Churchill High School last year and is now a student at the Zimbabwe College of Music, clearly is the most established of these rookies.

At only 19, he already leads his own band called Zion Originated that regularly plays at the Book Café. Even though he is still a greenhorn, the young vocalist-cum-guitarist has shared the stage with music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi, zora star Leonard Zhakata and late mbira queen Chiwoniso Maraire.

Gary, who has been holding joint shows with his father to promote the latter’s recently released 15-track album that features Malian music superstar Salif Keita, cherishes the great music lessons he is getting from his father.

“I feel it is a great privilege for me and my father to be able to play together on the same stage even though both of us have different bands. It is also an opportunity for me to popularise my music,” said the ex-Churchill High School student.

Willom told the Daily News on Sunday that he was also enjoying his stage perfomances with his son and getting the opportunity to groom the young musician.

“Our “Father and Son” shows have grown very popular. Many people have been pushing us to continue with the joint shows. Whenever we hold “Father and Son” gigs we usually sing a song called Toite Basa which chronicles the journey I have travelled grooming him to be the musician he has become today,” said the Ndinoda Wangu singer.

“For my family music is a lifestyle. Even my last born who is three years old can sing. I have a wide range of musical instruments which are at the disposal of my children.”

Unlike many musicians who are not keen to initiate their children, celebrated guitarist Clive Mono Mukundu has no regrets about his decision to teach his son to play the guitar.
Mono said the fact that 15-year-old Takakunda is a member of the Prince Edward School Jazz Band and the lead guitarist of Gary Tight’s Zion Originated demonstrates that his efforts have not been in vain.

“I started teaching him to play the guitar last year.

“All along he had been playing drums and percussion. He is 15 years old now and I also started playing the guitar when I was that age,” said the former guitarist in Mtukudzi’s Black Spirits Band.

“I am grooming him so that he becomes better prepared for the challenges that he is going to face in the music industry. When I got into the industry I did not have guidance and I don’t want him to go through the same struggles I went through.”

Mono added that his son joined Gary Tight’s band with his blessings.

“Various established artistes wanted him to be part of their bands but I recommended Gary’s band because they belong to the same age group,” Mono said.

The sungura music genre is not short of musicians who are keen to see their children flourish in the music world.

Veteran rhythm guitarist Innocent Mjintu is proud of how his son, Learnmore, is blossoming into a polished musician.

Young Mjintu plays lead guitar and also does backing vocals in his father’s band.

“I personally taught Learnmore to play the guitar and we worked together on my last album Kunakirwa Chete,” said the former Barura Express and Orchestra Mberikwazvo rhythm guitarist.

“People seem to love our combination and he has become a darling of our fans in entertainment venues outside Harare where we usually play. They always ask for ‘junior’. I am grooming him to take over from me and I am confident that my music legacy will continue even after I retire.”

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