7 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Promote Living Artistes - Mukundu

Multi-talented instrumentalist Clive Mono Mukundu has bemoaned lack of appreciation for living musicians by the public. Speaking at the album launch of Tanyaradzwa Tawenga in the capital recently, the veteran producer said he was saddened by broadcasters who always play songs from the late musicians while shunning new albums from living artistes.

"Most radio stations in the country always play songs of the departed but there are many upcoming musicians in the country crying to be heard," he said.

Mukundu said in other countries, living music legends command a lot of respect.

"In South Africa, young people gather to hear from Hugh Masekela, they are giving him his rightful place in society. I know kuti ini ndiri dhara, but people hardly notice. They will say Mono was talented once I am gone," he said.

Mono encouraged Tanyaradzwa to work hard and break the jinx.

"The music industry is not rewarding, but you have to work hard to get noticed while you are still alive," said Mono.

Mono Mukundu is a virtuoso guitarist, whose mastery of a variety of Zimbabwean guitar styles including museve, mbira, afro-jazz, and gospel enlivens his music.

His innovative guitar sound combines many of these indigenous guitar techniques, in addition to ranging far afield, drawing inspiration from blues, rock and pop.

As a child, Mono learned to play on a home-made box guitar before acquiring his first instrument.

One of Zimbabwe's most sought after musicians, Mono played for many years with legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi, and has been a featured guest artiste and session musician on a number of albums.

In addition, Mono owns a recording studio, and has recorded and produced dozens of independent albums, including rising stars such as Hope Masike and Kakuwe, Alexio Kawara, Tichaona Madyiwa and many others.

At the age of 10, he joined forces with his friends, Jonah Ziyenge and Jerry Parwada, and formed a group called JCJ, an acronym taken from their first names.

But JCJ was never recognised in the music industry because of its members' ages.

In 1988, when he was in Form Three, he met Last Saidi, a bass guitar player, who offered him guitar lessons.

In that same year, he formed the Sarungano Chanters, which was comprised of three people.

Besides harbouring a lot of raw talent that needed to be exploited, Sarungano Chanters fell on hard times as they faced difficulties in securing a recording deal.

In 1989, he met with Admire Kasenga of Ngosimbi Crew fame and formed the versatile Chax Brothers band, where Kasenga specialised in sungura while he concentrated on chimurenga music.

In 1990, Mukundu joined Chikokoko Band and they moved to Mutare where they played in nightclubs and hotels.

With this group, they recorded one album titled "Ruvengo".

In 1992, the group was faced with leadership disputes after the success of their debut album and they parted ways.

From then on, Mukundu immersed himself in different genres working as a session musician.

In 1994, he joined the EGEA Gospel Train and from 1995 to 1998 he worked as a full-time church musician but had to revert back to being a session musician because of poor payment.

In 2001, Mukundu enrolled at the Zimbabwe College of Music to study music while at the same time teaching music at Prince Edward School.

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