Zim remembers Dembo

HARARE - This week Zimbabwe remembers legendary sungura musician Leonard “Musorowenyoka” Dembo who died 19 years ago on April 9 aged just 37.

Dembo, widely regarded by many as the best sungura musician ever, is perhaps best remembered for his 1991 album Chitekete which sold over 100 000 copies in just three months.

The title track of the same album made history when it was played at the Miss World Pageant in Namibia in 1996, becoming the first Zimbabwean song ever to achieve such a feat.

In line with tradition, the late sungura musician’s family has put in place plans to hold a gig in honour of the legendary guitarist, songwriter and vocalist.

Dembo’s son Tendai, who now leads his father’s former backing band, the Barura Express, told the Daily news that the commemorative gig would be held soon.

“It is unfortunate that this year we are behind schedule. We were supposed to begin commemorations this week since my father died on April 9 almost 20 years ago,” said Tendai.

The young Dembo, who like his late father, plays the lead guitar, said the delay in holding the memorial concert has come about because their main partner Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions is currently committed with other projects.

“We are optimistic that the commemorations will be held later this month when our partners and organisers including Chipaz Promotions will be less tied up,” added Tendai.

Chimbodza confirmed his involvement in this year’s edition of the Dembo commemorations.

“I am partnering the Dembo family to commemorate the late music icon.

“I am currently busy organising Jamaican reggae musician Luciano’s concert to be held at the Glamis Arena on Friday. After Luciano’s concert I will release more details on the Dembo commemorations,” said Chipaz.

The late Dembo, who was born on February 6, 1959 in Chivi in Masvingo Province, released two albums a year at the peak of his career.

After being inspired by Jonah Moyo and the late Chimbetu brothers, Dembo joined a Harare-based band called The Outsiders in 1982 where he released the hit Dambudzo. The Chivi-born musician then moved to a relatively unknown group called Five Notes where he unleashed the hit Manga Majaira Matsotsi.

Ever the rolling stone, Dembo quit Five Notes after disputes with fellow group members after he had just released his first album Mai Vane Vana Vavo (1984) and a hit single called Venenzia. Dembo formed his own group called Barura Express in 1985.

With his new group he released a flurry of hit albums which included Nhamo Moto (1986), Kuziva Mbuya Huudzwa (1987), Sharai (1987), Kukura Kwedu (1988), Ruva Rashe (1989), Kukura Hakutani (1990), Chitekete (1991), Tinokumbira Kurarama (1992), Mazano (1993), Kutinya Marimba (1993), Nzungu Ndamenya and Paw Paw (1994), Shiri Yakangwara (1995) and Babamunini ( 1996) which was his last project.

The late Dembo’s brand of sungura, with its distinctive lead guitar, inspired several musicians including the late Tongai Moyo (now late), King Pharaoh and Energy Mutodi.

Interestingly, Mutodi now refers to himself as Musorowembada (head of a leopard) while the Chitekete singer was known as Musorowenyoka.


Comments (7)

unoudzwa geza tidye kuti kana ini ndauyaa tambira kureee paidamoyo ichandiuraisaaa

firelinks - 7 April 2015

Dembo was on his own league. 19years after his death noone has matched him yet.

X-MAN IV - 7 April 2015

Leonard Tazvivinga Musorowenyoka Dembo was of his own genere, 20 yeard down the line now no one could catch up with him. The melodious voice and lyrical lead guitar makes Dembo one of the greatest Sungura and Zimbabwean musicians who is still ringing in many people's minds. Dembomavara, was second to none

Engineer Nyarufuka - 8 April 2015

Leonard Dembomavara Musorowenyoka is a buried talent. A good singer, composer and talented lead guitarist. The mark of a great man is the influence he leaves after long departed. Dembo is indeed a great man! Rest in Peace Baba vaMorgan. Zimbabwe Music will remain poorer without you!

charles charingeno - 8 April 2015

Mukoma Kwangwari Gwauya was very talented.

Ndini uyo - 8 April 2015

we remember u musorowenyoka,your music is still hot nanhasi.

Knight Mupako - 9 April 2015

rine manyanga hariputirwe rimwe zuva dia wangu zvichabuda pachena;Munhu aiiziva zvaaiita uyu very talented no one in our motherland will match his talent even 500 years after his death.

tendai - 24 April 2015

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