How Gary became Tuku's 'son'

HARARE - Music superstar Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi  sauntered into the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC) with his wife Daisy in tow to grace the 2014 launch of Jah Prayzah’s fifth album, Kumbumura Mhute.

As has become norm, there was a big scramble for Tuku’s ear by fellow artistes, fans and ushers who wanted to direct to the music legend to the high table. But it was clear that none of them was winning his undivided attention.

The Bvuma singer was distracted. In between half-hearted answers to greetings, Tuku’s gaze continued to wander intermittently towards the stage where Gary (21) - son of veteran musician Willom Tight - was performing. As fate would have it, the music superstar entered the HICC while Gary was performing ‘Cheziya,’ a song by Tuku’s late son Sam who perished in an accident in 2010.

Tuku was moved by Gary’s passionate rendition of ‘Cheziya.’ The rising artiste performed the song like it was his. It seemed for once as if Sam Mtukudzi had reincarnated.

The well-executed performance of ‘Cheziya’ won the heart of the veteran musician .It came as no surprise when the Tuku invited Gary to collaborate with him on stage at his ‘Greatest Hits Concert’ that took place 10 days later at the same venue, marking the start of what is becoming a deep-rooted relationship between the two.

Three months later, Tuku’s manager, Sam Mataure, announced that Gary, then 19, would feature on Abi’angu II,’an album that features Tuku’s musical friends who include Hugh Masekela (South Africa), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa), Salif Keita (Mali), South Africa-based Kunle Ayo (Nigeria), Alick Macheso and Ammara Brown.

Predictably Gary was chuffed by the honour.

“For a global music icon like Tuku to include a 19 year old rookie like me, Gary wozvake, is a real shocker.

“I thank God and feel very blessed. Ndotenda daddy Tuku nezvavanowona mandiri. He has always liked me and my music and will always remain grateful to him,” the young artiste told the Daily News then.

As the two artistes’ relationship continued to blossom, Tuku officiated  at Gary’s 21st birthday celebrations held at Maestro Restaurant in Harare.At the event the veteran musician could hardly conceal his emotions after another moving performance by Gary.

“Gary’s performance and his history with Sam made me shed tears. Look at the coincidence –Gary is 21 while Sam died at 21.

“Sam achieved a lot in a few years in music more than I did in my first decade in music. I was surprised by the people who attended Sam’s funeral. All manner of people came all because they were friends of Sam,” said an emotional Tuku.

A few days later Tuku gave Gary a slot to speak at an event he held Pakare Paye Arts Centre celebrate his four-decade music career.

The two musicians’ sensational relationship went a gear up at the Sam” Mtukudzi commemoration gig held at Pakare Paye yesterday where Gary sang songs composed by Tuku’s late son. With the help of Pakare Paye product Ashton Nyaora, Gary was the central figure during the main part of the commemoration. The commemorative gig also featured Suluman Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Alick Macheso.

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