24 January 2013

Zimbabwe: Mono Celebrates 25 Years in Music

Guitarist and music producer Clive "Mono" Mkundu on Tuesday celebrated 25 years in music.

Mono, as he is affectionately known by his fans, took to Facebook to announce his silver jubilee and

posted one of his old pictures when he was starting out on his musical journey.

"On this day 22 January, 1988, I was taught my first three chords on a proper guitar by the late Lust Saidi, from those three chords I taught myself the rest. The same year I formed my first band, Sarungano Chanters, when I was in Form 3 at Mufakose High 3, so help me celebrate 25 years in the music industry professionally," he wrote.

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

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.

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.

He is one of the most sought after musicians in Zimbabwe who has played for many years with legendary musician Oliver Mtukudzi and played instruments for many artistes as a session musician.

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.

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