Zimbabwe: Kireni Zulu's Son Bounces Back

Kireni Zulu's eldest son Phil has returned to the music scene after a long sabbatical with the Afro-jazz artiste currently working on his second album to be released next month. Phil (37) also performs alongside his father despite leading his own The Data Band. Standard Style reporter Jairos Saunyama (JS) caught up with Zulu (PZ), who spoke on his return, among other things. Below are excerpts from the interview.

JS: You have been off the radar for more than a decade now, what were you doing?

PZ: It is true I have been quiet for sometime and this is because I was doing other business besides music. I was establishing myself in the motor industry, for example, supplying spare parts to various shops and individuals. I was not totally out of music, I was involved here and there moving around with my father. However, the good thing is that I am back for good now and will be consistent in releasing albums.

JS: Where is the evidence of your return. Did you release an album?

PZ: I am currently working on my new six-track album titled Hope and it will be released at a yet to be announced date next month. I am putting final touches on the album. All I can say is I have covered the bigger part as far as recording is concerned. The album was produced by Jabulani Ndlovu at Teltron Studios.

The forthcoming album is Afro-jazz fused with Marabi.

JS: You released your debut album about 10 years ago, how did it perform?

PZ: I ventured into professional music in 2006 and recorded my debut album Zvenzeve in 2008 with Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC). The album did not do well as it received little airplay.

JS: What is the reason for that flop?

PZ: The album did not get the desired marketing as promised by the recording studio. I am confident that my second album will perform much better.

JS: Were you born a musician or you are just inspired by your father who is the King of Marabi music?

PZ: I believe it is an inborn thing. I was much involved in choral music since I was a kid. I would participate in all musical activities at church. I cannot, however, deny that my father played a pivotal role in nurturing the gift I already have.

JS: What is your musical relationship with your father like?

PZ: We are tight buddies, he is always there for me offering guidance. He is eager to see me writing my own history on the music scene. I am proud of his achievements musically, hence he is my role model. When I am free, I usually join his band and it feels good to perform together.

JS: When did you last perform together and what part do you play in his band?

PZ: We last performed together in February during a Valentine's Day celebration gig. I usually do play some congas and do sound engineering -- a role that I major when I am with him.

JS: Your father is also a novelist, are you also an author?

PZ: I am not a novelist.

JS: Kireni is still stuck in Marabi music, do you think it is still popular with this generation?

PZ: Marabi is still popular and this is denoted by the number of fans who turn out at his shows mainly in Harare. Of late he has been performing outside the capital.

JS: Why did you then go for Afro-jazz instead of Marabi like any other son of a legend?

PZ: I did not dump Marabi. The Afro-jazz I play is fused with Marabi, hence its uniqueness. The flavour is outstanding. I will not run away from the traditional family genre, but I will improvise it a bit.

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