The Herald (Harare)

4 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Prudence Pays Tribute to Mukadota

Love is in the air and those who were at the Book Café on Thursday night got overdoses of it as jazz singer Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana got the pre-Valentine party rolling with a five-star performance.

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, the former Jazz Invitation vocalist ushered in the month of love with a set that was predominantly made up of love songs, such as "Sithandwa Sami".

She took many of the lovebirds in the crowd down memory lane with cover versions of some of the best love songs, chief among them being US R'n'B artiste Avante's duet with Nicole Sherzinger's "Stick With You".

Prudence went on to pay glowing tribute to the pioneers of Zimbabwe's romantic music, among them the late Safirio Madzikatire and Susan Chenjerai with a powerful rendition of the duo's 1960s hit song "Dickson" as well as the Pied Pipers' "Ruva Rangu", a love song dedicated to a lover who is far away.

"Ruva rangu, ndiwe chete, ndiwe muridzi wemwoyo wangu, mambakwedza mudiwa wangu ndinotarisa mufananidzo wako ndichifunga kwauri kure kure, parunhare mudiwa wangu ndinonzwa inzwi rako ndichifunga kwauri kure kure. Ruva rangu ndiwe chete ndiwe muridzi wemwoyo wangu," crooned Prudence as the audience joined in the chorus.

Her performance of "Dickson" was one to savour as she took the audience through a dramatisation of the singer/comedian's career describing his trademark attire from his Mukadota character -- khaki hat, safari suit and knickerboker trousers with matching red shoes. She also performed the Jackson Five's track "ABC", "123" and South African pop group Freshly Ground's "Potbelly" among others.

Besides the cover versions, Prudence serenaded the crowd with her own compositions taken from her eight-track album, "Prudence" which included "Emancipation", "Stronger", "Bhuku" and "Joy", to name just a few.

"Anenge", one of the tracks on the album, talks of the hardships faced by single mothers in raising their children when the fathers refuse to take responsibility for their indiscretions.

Prudence indeed saved the best for last as she performed her yesteryear hits like "BP", "Ndafuna Ndafuna" and "Baba Bhoi" and brought the party to a fitting finale as revellers including fellow artistes Peace "Bashupi" Ndlovu and Acoustic Night product Tendai "Tendex" Madzviti filled the dance floor.

The mother of three left the stage to a standing ovation, but not before giving her band time to shine as they performed the track "Do it Again" with each one exhibited their prowess on the keyboard, guitar, drums and behind the microphone.

Over the years Prudence has worked with the likes of renowned percussionist Stroovas Shadaya and drummer Simba Dembeza, the Cool Crooners and award-winning producer Clive Mono Mkundu (who produced her debut album).

Prudence also plays the mbira and demonstrated her skills on the instrument during last Thursday's show.

In fact, so versatile is Prudence that at one time she even dabbled in acting, starring in the movie "More Time".

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