1 April 2019

Zimbabwe: Selmor Off to Flying Start

Selmor Mtukudzi and the "original Black Spirits" were first off the mark on Friday night in Harare as another Black Spirits serenaded music fans at the Cape Town Jazz Festival in South Africa the following day.

In Harare, Selmor got a massive boost from her late father, national hero Dr Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi's diehard fans, her in-laws Zexie and Stella Manatsa, aunt Bybit, nephew/confidante Rukainga and the singer's own mother, Melody Murape.

Promoters, among them Partson Chimbodza of Chipaz Promotions, Tich Mharadze of 2 Kings Entertainment, Impala Car Hire boss Thomson Dondo, Mai Red Rose of Redrose Entertainment and Mama Mahwindo came out in full force to endorse Selmor's bid to carry the Mtukudzi legacy into the future. The singer did not disappoint. Her combination with Tuku lookalike, her sister Sandra, was on point. Many people that spoke to The Herald said the pair were "Tuku reincarnate". Dubbed "Tuku -- The Music Lives On", the Andy Miller Hall gig came with all sorts of pressure on the daughter of the late national hero. But Selmor was not only brave enough to weather the storm, she iced the affair with a pulsating performance -- one that affirmed the songbird as a strong contender for Dr Mtukudzi's music legacy.

Talk of energy, perfect choreography supported by a well-crafted playlist that appealed to emotions -- the act had it all. Selmor chose songs that at face value appeared like a random selection of hit songs that punctuated her father's career, but a closer look told a different story.

Each song she played on the night gave a narrative on how the songbird is coping with her father's loss. She opened her act with the laid back track "Ndine Mubvunzo" (Seiko Mwari) off the album "Paivepo". The song is about a person that is seeking answers from the Almighty on soul-searching life issues. She followed up with "Hear Me Lord", a song that appeals to the Almighty to uplift a troubled soul. She also played "Mutserendende", "Wongororo", "Right Direction" aka "Mbombera", "Tsika Dzedu" and "Chimusoro" all buttressing a particular message. The crowd was so engrossed, never mind the sorrowful nature of the compositions.

However, Selmor remained cognisant of the fact that the event was meant to celebrate the life of her legendary dad. She also reminded the crowd that she is her own person, belting her own compositions like "Nguva Yangu" and "Hangasa" that elicited rapturous applause.

Veteran guitarist Mono Mukundu, who had a stint with Dr Tuku, also joined her on stage. But, it was the introduction of Picky Kasamba on stage that took the act to another level. Picky came after Steve "Dhongi" Makoni had showed solidarity on stage, playing his hit song "Handiende" with Selmor's band.

The gig had all the necessary ingredients to make it world class. Speaking after her set, Selmor confessed she was initially jittery.

"I was so nervous.

This is something that I have wanted to do for my father since he passed on. But as I came backstage I became jittery after seeing the big crowd. I regained my composure the moment I sang my first note. Everything subsequently fell into place," said Selmor. She revealed how she came up with her playlist. "I asked people on social media the songs they wanted me to play for them and I blended them with some of my favourites. Bamudiki (Picky) was so helpful. He played a major role in terms of choreography and psyched us up for the show. I'm happy with the support I have received from my family and father's fans." Her father-in-law, Manatsa, described Selmor's act as exquisite.

"I have always known she is talented but I now have an even much better appreciation of her act after this gig. She is no different from her father. It was as if I was seeing him (Dr Tuku) on stage," said Manatsa.

Other acts that took part at the tribute gig included Suluman Chimbetu, Andy Muridzo, Sasha and dancehall singer Jah Signal.

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