Prince Edward uncovers music gems

HARARE - Over the years, Prince Edward School in Harare has unleashed noteworthy musicians such as yesteryear star David Scobie, Jazz bassist and vocalist Josh Meck, Zimboita drummer Blessing “Bled”Chimanga, the late Sam Mtukudzi, Zim hip-hop star Stunner and talented instrumentalist Raymond Mupfumira.

The prestigious school’s ability to discover and nurture music talent has set it apart from other Zimbabwean schools. The Harare school keeps churning out talented artistes year-after-year mainly through the Prince Edward Jazz Band.

In keeping with its reputation as a conveyer belt of music talent, this year’s Prince Edward Senior Jazz Band includes two exceptionally talented youngsters — Kudzwai Mujokoro, 14, who plays the lead guitar and Gerald Nhakura, 13, who is on the acoustic guitar.

Interestingly, Kudzwai, the son of award-winning gospel star Carol Mujokoro, was not inspired by his celebrated mother. The youngster ventured into music thanks to a tenant who lived at his parents’ house six years ago.

“I first played the guitar in 2011. I was at home playing with other children when I heard our tenant playing his guitar and went over to his room. He started teaching me codes like G and C.  At that time I can say I did not really have interest in the guitar but was just captivated by his melodies,” the Form 2 student told the Daily News on Sunday.

Sadly, the unnamed tenant moved from the Mujokoros’ house leaving Kudzwai distraught.

“The tenant moved from our house and I later resumed guitar lessons at The Grange Primary School .The first song that my teacher (Mr) Chikuni taught me was Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi’s Tozeza Baba,” Kudzwai recalled.

As fate would have it, in 2012 Kudzwai’s school band (The Grange Primary School) was invited to play at Tuku’s birthday party where the veteran musician was impressed by the youngster’s guitar skills prompting him to join the youngsters on stage as they sang Tozeza Baba.

Kudzwai, who now plays in his mother’s band, was involved when the award-winning gospel music star did a Live DVD and CD recording titled X-Trim Worship 1 the 7 Arts Theatre in Harare last month.

“When I was in Grade 7, I stopped playing the guitar because I was no longer performing well at school and wanted to prepare for my exams. In 2015 after my examinations I started playing again and later joined the Prince Edward Jazz Band last year.

“At that time Tatenda Majiwa was the main lead guitarist and he liked the way I played and after he left, there was no one to fill his position so I automatically joined the seniors’ band,” he said.

For Gerald — the youngest member in the Prince Edward Jazz Band — his father, Macdonald, has always been his music mentor.

“My father taught me to play the guitar and I started playing when I was seven years old. I began to play at church during services. My father taught me various instruments but I loved the guitar the most,” the Form 1 student told the Daily News on Sunday.

“The first time I went to the music centre the seniors were having a meeting and I was asked what I could play best. The music director (Mr) Elias Mapiye passed by and heard me play and he was very impressed.

“I became the lead guitarist in the junior band at first and because there was no one who could play the instruments we can play, we were promoted to the seniors’ band. I always wanted to become a doctor but music is also going to be a big part of my career,” Gerald said.

Kudzwai and Gerald’s parents, though supportive of their children’s music endeavours, want the two youngsters to also work hard on the other subjects.

“I would want to see him pursue his talent and understand that locally music is not a career that one would really look forward to but we shall explore other opportunities,” Gerald’s mother Chenai Nhakura said.

Mujokoro’s father, Blessing, echoed similar sentiments: “We support him and also try to give him guidance on the local music landscape and try to explore other opportunities that the music industry has to offer. Above all, we encourage the kids to love God and work hard in their education.”

Apart from Gerald and Kudzwai, the Prince Edward Jazz Band, which is currently fundraising for a tour of the United States of America scheduled for September this year, also includes:

Panashe Gwara Form 4 (alto saxophone), Tadiwanashe Mandivheyi (Captain): Upper 6 (bass Guitar and keyboards), Blessing Yohane: Form 4 (percussion), Garainesu Gumbura: Form 2 (drums)

Munesu Gumbura, Form 2 (bass Guitar), Simbarashe Muzavazi: Lower 6 (trumpet), Russel Muzanenhamo: Upper 6 (cornet), Joshua Juru: Upper 6 (vocal and drums), Shepard Mudiwa: Lower 6 (keyboards), Mudiwa Biti, Upper 6 (Vocals), Munashe Mandonye, Upper 6 (vocals), Palmer Maisi: Upper 6 (vocals), Titus Gumbura: Upper 6 (sound).

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