Tuku, Sulu in high-profile UK gig

HARARE - Master of song — Oliver Mtukudzi — marks a return to the United Kingdom (UK) with a special show which features Suluman and Orchestra Dendera Kings in Birmingham on Saturday.

The lanky Zimbabwean music icon who is celebrating a milestone this year in a glittering career spanning four decades, leaves today for a show dubbed: 2015 Winter  Warmer Tributes  and Memories Gig which involves Sulu at the Tower Ballroom, in England’s second largest city.

Tuku, who turned 63 on September 22, will then leave for Australia where he has a massive following, thanks to his marketing of Tuku Music, the brand which has taken his works to far-flung areas which at one time looked beyond reach.

The Harare businessman, philanthropist and composer of note, remains the biggest musical story to come out of Zimbabwe despite a bumpy road in which a fickle market turned its back on his music before sweeping the charts in 1998, following the release of the blockbuster album, titled Tuku Music.

Mtukudzi has made it his business to nurture talent and add value to upcoming musicians who have fully embraced his philosophy which the towering musician himself, says is the reason behind the setting up of Pakare Paye Arts Centre, in Norton.

And Sulu, on the back of scintillating performances in the UK six weeks ago, is back on tour again.

“It’s a pleasure working with Mudhara (Tuku). As you have just seen, we were rehearsing for Saturday’s show. Every moment with him is an opportunity to learn,” Chimbetu told the Daily News on Tuesday after a rehearsal in Highfield.

“We look forward to a great time in Birmingham. For me it’s an opportunity to cement the relationship that we have with our fans in the UK.”

Sulu leaves with a trimmed band which does not include longtime lead guitarist Knowledge “Nodza Nodza” Nkoma who paves way for new boy — Tafadzwa Museka.

Nkoma and bassist Moffat Nyamupindu are the heartbeat of the band but Sulu, in preparing for the future, has brought in rookies who are under the mentorship of the duo.

Museka has been given the opportunity, according to Sulu, to showcase his skills and what he has learned from Nkoma, during the high profile show.

The UK has been a favourable destination for Zimbabwean musicians whose music is well appreciated by both the British and foreigners, including Africans.

The trailblazing Mtukudzi has opened doors and opportunities to a new breed of musicians who include Suluman.

Sulu, since the death of his father in August 2005, after a short illness, has kept alive the dendera music through rearrangement of the band and composition of his own music while retaining the distinct sound which makes the genre, outstanding among those enamoured with its entertaining value.

He has released five albums, Ndomusiya Nani, Reverse Deal, Non Stop, Syllabus and Gunship, since he took over the band after his father’s death.

There has been one common underlying thread in the five albums — maturity in music composition which makes it easy for those who follow dendera music to put their smart money on him hitting the same heights as his late father.

Sulu is currently working on a new album whose release date is yet to be announced.

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