Humble Tuku charms fans

HARARE - Music superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, who has often been accused of being aloof and distant to those not in his inner circle, used the launch of his 65th album on Thursday to debunk the perception.

Tuku was the picture of humility and charm at the invitation-only launch of “Eheka! Nhai Yahwe” that also doubled up as 64thbirthday party. Not only did the music legend have brief one-on-one interactions with all his guests, he also took it upon himself to distribute slices of his giant birthday cake to the scores who turned up at his Pakare Paye Arts Centre.

It was indeed a special celebration for Tuku and it is not difficult to understand why. Save for fellow Zimbabwean music legends Thomas Mapfumo (71) and Zexie Manatsa (74), not many local musicians have lived to celebrate 64 years of existence and a four-decade-long music career.

Despite the fact that most musicians in Zimbabwe now routinely appoint politicians as guests of honour at their album launches, Tuku, rather refreshingly, decided to be different. He made Professor Fred Zindi his special guest. Sadly, the veteran University of Zimbabwe lecturer turned out in the end to be a guest of dishonour.

Zindi, who masterminded the formation of a local boy band called Frontline Kids and who has written extensively on Zimbabwean music, shocked Tuku’s guests when he revealed that he bought a pirated CD of Tuku’s latest album.

“I must confess that I bought a pirated CD of Eheka! Nhai Yahwe. I could not resist the temptation to hear Tuku’s new album,” said Zindi rather injudiciously.

The whole room listened in hushed silence as the learned professor made the unforgivable faux paus.If Tuku was aggrieved by his “esteemed” guest he didn’t show it there and then. He just sat there stone-faced.

It was only during the question and answer session with journalists that Tuku’s guests got to know his views on piracy.

“Piracy is criminal. Piracy is an attitude problem. Someone has to educate these people that what they are doing is criminal. Just because they buy blank CDs, they forget the rights of the musician whose music they are copying,” said the music legend.

After Tuku had made known his strong views on music piracy, Impala Group chief executive officer Thompson Dondo gave Zindi a genuine copy of Tuku’s latest CD prompting an unidentified person in the audience to remark:

“Mr Zindi however thirsty you are, you should never drink water from a toilet bowl.”

Aside from Zindi’s moment of madness, Tuku’s invited guests had a great time particularly during the music star’s performance of a few songs from the latest album.

The standout moment was when Tuku and his wife Daisy performed their duet “Masanga Bodo.” For someone with no known singing history, Daisy sounded surprisingly very lucid.

The other songs off the 10-track Eheka! Nhai Yahwe sampled on the day, were Chori Nevamwe, Ndinecha and my favourite on the Bhiza Ramambo.

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