Hard times for Four Brothers

HARARE - Indeed the dead stay dumb! Marshal Munhumumwe, the late Four Brothers leader is long gone and there is no way he can be resurrected to save the once inimitable musical band from its current financial woes.

Once a popular band, The Four Brothers band is teetering on the brink of collapse after hitting a rough patch.

So dire is the situation that the once-mighty band is now battling to raise even $150 to record a single.

“Things are tight to say the least. You cannot believe it, but the truth of the matter is that we are failing to raise $150 to record our single track Chigumbu,” James Nyamande, the band’s leader told the Daily News.

“We have resorted to recording the single, not just to test the waters (market), but we cannot afford to record the full album,” said the 46-year-old musician.

Nyamande has been trying to keep The Four Brothers together but he faces a huge task given the latest turbulence which threatens to bury the once popular group for good.

Big recording companies such as Gramma Records charge between $18 and $20 per hour to record a song but costs escalate with more time spent in the studio.

Nyamande had a fall-out with Munhumumwe’s son — Marshal — over the leadership of the band.

But the Hopley Farm-based musician told the Daily News that he had reconciled with the late musician’s son.

“We are now working as a team and it is our wish to revive Munhumumwe legacy.

“However, it is a daunting task considering the serious financial constraints we are currently facing.

“We need a new set of instruments; we are still using old equipment that (the late) Marshal bought in the United Kingdom in 1985 during his first European tour,” Nyamande told the Daily News.

The song the group is hoping to record speaks about the plight of vendors and commuter omnibus operators.

“Kombi operators (driver and conductor) are given difficult targets on a daily basis by their employers,” explained Nyamande.

“As they strive to reach the target, police take what the operators toil for, and as a result, the operators are seen at the receiving end,” said Nyamande.

The Four Brothers leader is a full time musician and supplements his monthly earnings through vending.

Since the death of Munhumumwe, the band has been on a downward spiral hit by a combination of scepticism and a seemingly lack of interest from music promoters.

While everything has got its own time, for music lovers, the current state of The Four Brothers, could be a sad ending to an era of dominance.

The group had captivated, entertained and gripped Zimbabweans in the 1980s and 1990s with an impressive discography.

Popular hit — Vimbai — arguably ranks as its best offering.

Vimbai was released at the same time the late firebrand and comical minister Herbert Ushewokunze married the exquisite Vimbai Shire — whom he wed at a glittering function.

Vimbai now domiciled in the United Kingdom, toured Zimbabwe with the London Community Gospel Choir during the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) in 2003.

The Four Brothers boasts over 10 well-received albums under their name.

The group was among the first local bands to tour Europe alongside Biggie Tembo’s Bhundu Boys.


Comments (6)

Its high time that musicians in Zimbabwe need to understand that music is not just talent.Its a business.You manage it just like you manage your business.Invest,save and explore partnerships with the rest of the business world.How can such a once powerful and famous band tell us they can't raise 150 dollars.Why do bands rely only on the name of the leader.Why are they talking of reviving Munhumumwe's music.Be creative and get out of the dependency syndrome,start doing music period.Copy from all the greatest musicians in the world even the likes of new blood like D'Banj,P Square,Oskido,DJ Sbu even mtukudzi have invested in their music.When you do music think of building a legacy.Get in the mainframe of people like Strive masiyiwa when you do music.I am so sick of musicians struggling so much in Zimbabwe and just die unnoticed or with nothing.If you decide to do music full-time,there is so much that music can offer besides just singing and making albums.Open your eyes especially when you are at your peak.It will be sad to hear chute people like JaPrayzah and Sulu wonzwa kuti havasisina cash at the end,it will actually be stupid and foolish.Please mamusicians stop depending.

Dzago - 31 October 2014

Too bad to read about The Four Brothers being in bad shape. It was unfortunate that when they did Vimbai, it was the beautiful poem written by Mordecai Hamutyinei. Sadly, they refused to pay him a cent for the beautiful lyrics.

chenjerai hove - 31 October 2014

Nyamande, start his own thing and shake off the four brothers tag. The founder members are all late and you were part of that formation saka urikuzvidzosera ku assure nekungoda title ye kuti four brothers. Vanity mdara, we are never going to have another four brothers again in Zim.

Kay - 2 November 2014

Nyamande, start your own thing and shake off the four brothers tag. The founder members are all late and you were not part of that formation saka urikuzvidzosera ku assure nekungoda title ye kuti four brothers. Vanity mdara, we are never going to have another four brothers again in Zim.

Kay - 2 November 2014

The EU has removed sanctions and soon Obama will be reviewing ZIDERA. Already the UK has sent a trade delegation to assess investment opportunities in our country. But you as a Zimbabwean remain sitting on the fence analysing politics. Dont be left out start you own project. we will help you with the company registration procedures including all statutory requirements. emails us flixcomsol@gmail.com 0771 419 294, 0776 228 760

Flixcom Solutions - 3 November 2014

I symphatize with u guys as for sure it is not easy to make a living in Zimbabwe at the moment. But let's be possitive the Four Brothers were superbe so their legacy won't go that fast. I am happy that people try the preserve it. It's just sad that it is so difficult at certain times to sell good music.

Rikiman - 2 January 2015

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