Bryn Mteki conquers fashion, art world

HARARE - Zimbabwe's African Roots Music singer and world renowned stone sculptor Bryn Taurai Mteki aka Sekurutau said after 16 years of touring the world through exhibitions and showcases he has decided to finally settle at home.

And he has done a number of investments including acquiring of one of Harare’s historic nightclub, Club Saratoga in Highfield Harare where he is launching his comeback this Friday, December 16 with a Bira night.

The Daily News on Sunday assistant editor Maxwell Sibanda caught up with the musician who is also popular for his stylish and long dreadlocks as he talks about art and other investments in Zimbabwe that range from clothing retail, real estate supermarkets and mining.

Q: You have been practicing all forms of art from stone sculpting, fashion to music, how did all this shape up?

A: Art to me is a calling which started with fine art drawing at primary school before I started stone sculpting at 11 years under the tutelage of my father Richard Mteki and also my late uncle Boira Mteki. I also love designing my own line of clothes; evidently art runs in the family.

Q: You have exhibited overseas, how has been the experience?

A: I was exposed to international limelight at an early age and the experience is amazing starting with sculpturing leading into music. My works have been exhibited world wide earning me some high accolades over the years. For the past 16 years I was nomadic, a man of no fixed abode. In America it was more like home from Los Angeles to Chicago, from New Jersey to Memphis Tennessee, from New York to Washington DC. In Europe, Germany has become my other home with establishments in Frankfurt, Berlin Oelsnitz, Berlin Hamburg and Dusseldorf.

Q: Which personalities did you meet on your world tours; what are some of the highlights?

A: I met with my longtime friend R. Kelly who then became an inspiration and he introduced me to music, the great Mike Tyson, Wesley Snipes, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Rev Jesse Jackson, Andy Cole of Manchester United and Dwight Yorke, Sepp Blatter among others.

Q: You are finally back home and what about some of the projects you had initiated overseas?

A: Right now I can  confirm 100 percent that  I am  back home for good but I will be going overseas regularly to pursue my projects and businesses there, like the just started Aust-Mteki Foundation, my sculpture galleries plus music tours.

Q: What are some of the business interests that you currently have in Zimbabwe?

A: I have vast a business empire under my brand name BrynBrands which now have some retail supermarkets, bottle stores, butcheries, take-away restaurants and most recently night clubs. I am also into clothing and mining which I began long time ago. So you see that I always wanted to invest in my home country.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Bryn Mteki, left, and wife-cum-personal manager Patience-Annie in one of their clothing shops in Harare.

Q: You plan to open up a big club in Highfiled? Why Highfield? And this investment, have you acquired the building?

A: I decided to open my own night club strategically in Highfields which is my birth place. I am officially opening the historic Club Saratoga “The Haus of Sekurutau” this coming Friday. We will host an all-night bira and we are engaging Mbira Dzenharira to grace the showcase. This and every Friday Club Saratoga will feature the bira which will be dubbed “Bira Gurus Celebrating the return of Bryn Taurai Mteki a.k.a. Sekurutau”.

Q: What kind of a club should we look forward to? What activities are lined-up so far and who is coordinating the activities?

A: I have engaged brand agent, Laura Tatenda Tsonzi and my personal manager Patience Annie Mteki aka Ambuya to coordinate events at the club. Club Saratoga has a historic background as it saw the birth of Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Bhundu Boys among others and I feel honoured that as a musician growing up in Highfield, I have managed to secure this place I grew up knowing. I am maybe among the few musicians to have my own home-ground although I will be hosting other musicians as well as dance groups from across all music genres. We are planning on Jam Sessions on Wednesdays then I take up the Friday slot for the biras where we will feature prominent mbira groups.

Q: What inspired you to own a club?

A: On the issue of Club Saratoga “The Haus Of Sekurutau” Jay`z  has been my inspiration  as he also has his own Club in New York, US.

Q: Are you ready for your comeback?

A: Yes and rehearsals have already started, the stage is set and it is going to be memorable mbira night Friday.

Q: Will you now be actively involved in the music showbiz — will you be playing regularly?

A: I would like to assure all my legion of fans that Sekurutau is back for good. I have been a musician through and through. All mbira music lovers should brace yourselves because it’s going to be a blast. This is our Zimbabwean music which we should cherish.

Q: How many albums have you released so far?

A: I have eight albums to date which include Kurauone,  Kuyaruka, Ndakura, Pfugama Unamate, Hamunyare, Tsuro Magen`a, Sekurutau and Makarekare Part 1.

Q: How different are you coming back on the local music industry this time around?

A: I am returning into the music industry as a musician and businessman, will capitalise on my fame to launch various other projects under the flagship of BrynBrands. My staying abroad has given me opportunities to learn how to conduct music business.

CREATIVE MINDS: Mteki, left, together with music superstar Oliver Mtukudzi.

Q: Are you still sculpting? How has been your business?

A: Sculpture and music are my life, I will always enjoy making beautiful sculptures which have touched the hearts of many and will also always play good mbira music tunes.

Q: How big is your family? What are the kids’ names and are they showing any signs to follow their father?

A: I am a family man if not a grandfather by now. It’s  interesting if I may share with you  some of the names of my children starting with Caroline, (UK-based)  Lisa-Maria and Tendai Frank-Michael Jckson, Taurai Frank-Anthony, Annie-Marie, Tabeth-Marie, Kurauone Frank-Thomas, Tapfuma Frank-Stirling Culp, Karikoga Frank-Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela and the future king of mbira music my ever dancing two-year-old Tambaoga Frank-Bob Marley. Definitely he is going to be a great musician and Caroline who featured as backing vocalist on my forthcoming album which is expected to be out anytime next year. My wife and former banker Patience-Annie joins the likes of Sonia Rodney who has also managed his legendaryhusband Winston Rodney better known as Burning Spear and Rita Marley who was always on the side of her husband Bob Marley.

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