Zimbabwe: Jazz Icon Mbirimi Mourned

Herald Reporter

Veteran jazz musician Friday Mbirimi of Mbare Trio has died.

He was 77.

Mbirimi who has been battling colon cancer passed on at the Avenues Clinic in Harare on Tuesday.

The Mbare Trio consisted of the late Lovejoy Mbirimi, Friday's brother who died in August last year and William Kashiri.

His son Clancy Mbirimi confirmed the sad development yesterday.

"I'm saddened to announce the death of my father, Mr Friday Mbirimi. He suffered from colon cancer, no amount of words will explain his painful exit", said Clancy.

The National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) passed its deepest condolences to the Mbirimi family and the nation at large.

"NACZ, would like to pass its deepest condolences to the Mbirimi family and the entire music fraternity following the sad loss of the seasoned educationist, songwriter, singer and bandleader," said Nicholas Moyo.

"The death of Friday has robbed the nation of a well-loved musician who entertained the country for decades and performed alongside hundreds of local and international musicians. His wisdom and wise counsel will be missed by the scores of musicians who had an opportunity to work with him and jazz lovers who enjoyed his performances, said the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe Director.

Clive Mono Mukundu, posting on social media expressed his saddness on the passing on of Mbirimi

" Hope Masike called me and said your friend Friday Mbirimi is not feeling well, go and check how he is living. I was planning to visit him on Friday at a local hospital in Harare and unfortunately before l decided to visit l then received sad news that he passed on," said Mono Mukundu.

Friday was also a session musician who backed many musicians as part of Summer Breeze, a local outfit that featured Friday as a vocalist and drummer, Faonri Sumali lead guitarist, Vincent Kapepa on bass and Moses Kabudi on keyboard.

Friday together with the colleagues formed their first band the Shelton Brothers. He started his singing career performing in schools with the likes of the late Simangaliso Tutani and other jazz musicians in the 1960's.

He was a member of various groups including Harare Mambos band.

Along with his late brother Lovejoy Mbirimi they made hits such as "Uru Rufaro" and "KwaMutare".

He was the first headmaster of Epworth High School which was commissioned in 1981. Friday played a huge role in mentoring new musical talent as he was once a lecturer at the Zimbabwe College of Music between 2004 and 2007.

Mourners are gathered at number 131 Montgomery Drive, in Prospect, Harare. The burial will be announced in due course.

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