The Herald (Harare)

12 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Mono's Love Story - On CD

For some people it is a challenge to show how much they love or value their spouses, but that is not so for musician Clive "Mono" Mukundu. The lead guitar virtuoso has penned love songs dedicated to Jean, his wife of 18 years, featuring some of the talented voices in Zimbabwe among them the late Sam Mtukudzi, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Alexio Kawara and Hope Masike.

The songs, which are featured on Mono's seventh studio album "Tunziyo For Jean", are not just for his wife but for all those who still believe in love.

The album recorded at Monolio Studios draws much from Mono's life experiences and serves as a reminder that true love still exists. Jean was raised by a foster father - John Mawema Kandeya.

According to Mono, "the music consists of a Zimcentric fusion of mbira and some afro-jazz".

The album opens with "Usazvishandure" featuring Renee, which sets the tone and mood for what will come.

If you want to be dazzled by the guitar riffs you need to listen to track two "Vakaseka", it is a soulful song where Mono displays his mastery with the guitar.

"Mukadzi" extols women as the glue that binds families together and that without them everything falls apart.

And then the title track "Jean" where Mono says all the niceties about his wife and his appreciation of the love of his life.

It is little wonder then that the song is a surefire hit with Oliver Mtukudzi, Alexio and Prudence waxing lyrical.

"Mambokadzi", which means queen, is a song were Mono tells his wife that there is no one else besides her and he treats her like royalty while "Usacheme" comforts and reassures Jean that he is always there for her.

Another self-explanatory tune is "For Better For Worse" in which he narrates his marriage to his wife and how they managed to pull through tough and good times.

Most of the songs have something to do with Mono's love life and inspired by Jean's upbringing. For those not in the know, back in 1993, Mono met Jean in Kuwadzana where they both lived.

The two fell in love on June 12, 1993 much to the surprised of several people who thought since Jean was from a well-to-do family, she would never fall for a guy like Mono, who was then an aspiring musician and a drunk.

The news of the affair received mixed reactions with some sympathising with Jean for being an orphan while others thought it was a bad omen for Mono to marry an orphan.

However, the majority of people approved the union saying that love is blind.

At home, things were not rosy for Jean after her father got wind of the affair. He literally punished her and banned her from seeing Mono, a decree she obviously ignored.

She was then moved out of Harare but she would travel to see him, something which caused rifts within her family.

She later moved out and lived with friends.

At this point their love had grown and Mono impregnated Jean so that she could elope with him. But the decision was futile in that Mono, by then, was still living with his mother and those who had opposed the affair moved in to try and get rid of Jean.

Mono, who was still unemployed, stood by Jean and eventually they moved out to start a family.

Evangelist Admire Kasi then played the Good Samaritan. Kasi wanted a guitarist to play at his church crusades and having heard about Mono he invited him to his house.

He preached to him and Mono was converted to Christianity on June 28, 1994, and he subsequently joined Egea Gospel Train on full-time basis as well as getting paid every month.

This meant he could provide for his wife and the baby on the way.

On October 7, 1994, the couple was blessed with a baby girl named Nyasha and later on August 25, 1998, they had a son named Takakunda, meaning "we conquered".

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