26 November 2012

Zimbabwe: Gone but Not Forgotten

The late Kenneth Chigodora might be long gone and forgotten but his music is still engraved in the minds of many. He was a pioneer of a special genre of music, which was saturated with humour and sarcasm and whenever he performed he left his audience in stitches because of his comic acts.

Motivated by the desire to keep his father's legacy alive, his son Ian, has taken over the leadership of his father's band Sweet Melodies Band.

The 24-year-old joins a new generation of children who are keeping their departed fathers' legacies alive.

"The journey has been long and difficult. When my father died his band disintegrated and I had to search for the band members," he said.

The musician said he would retain his father's style of play in order to keep the fans satisfied.

"It's in my genes and I know it comes naturally. When I was growing up many people told me I resembled him and because of that I feel I can fill his big shoes. I will bring back the memories of my father," said Chigodora junior.

The musician is still performing his father's hit songs such as "Sisi Dhori" and "Ndine Urombo".

During his recent performance in Marondera, thrilled fans shouted and showered him with praise.

The late Chigodora's musical career blossomed during the time he undertook a carpentry course at Mavhudzi Training Centre near Rusape around 1983.

At the centre, which mainly catered for those who had been disadvantaged by the liberation war, Chigodora became a renowned vocalist-cum-mbira player with the local Nyadzonya Mbira Band.

In 1986, the Sweet Melodies, then a little-known group based at Chevron Hotel in Masvingo, relocated to Balfour Hotel in Rusape where Fred Mtisi became their promoter.

The group, under the leadership of Dickson Dube, developed an interest in Chigodora's mastery on vocals and engaged him on a part-time basis.

Chigodora immediately proved his musical prowess and soon penned his first song "Africa", which became an instant hit.

Having proved his mettle, Chigodora became a full time member and during the late 80s the group released the hit tracks "Musango Ndodzungaira" and "Ndakakuti Sara Ukaramba", which catapulted him to dizzy heights.

Kenneth Chigodora died at Marondera General Hospital in 2006 after a short illness.

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