30 April 2018
. . DEFIES AGE
. . . 4 hours of chimurenga music
. . . thousands turn up for bira
By Rest Mutore and Blessing Masakadza
AS predicted, Thomas Mapfumo’s bira held at the Glamis Arena over the weekend attracted thousands of fans who got real value for their money from the music legend.
While many doubted the 72-year-old ability to last long on stage, Mukanya, as Mapfumo is popularly known, left the critics with egg on face as he lived by his promise to perform until daylight.
Speaking on Star FM’s 326 Express Show with Phathisani and KVG before the show, Mukanya said he still has the stamina to perform for over two hours or until daybreak.
This he did with a performance that started at exactly 2:10 am and lasted until 5:45 am, making it a good three hours thirty-five minutes of chimurenga music.
Even Andy Muridzo who was supposed to perform after the music legend failed to perform as Mukanya would not pass on the button and some of the fans could be heard saying ‘gandanga raramba nechimuti’, after the show.
It seems the superstar, who was in exile for 14 years had missed home, or he was just fulfilling the concept of a bira.
There is a school of thought that traditionally, a bira can only be called off before ‘utonga hwatsvuka’ (sunrise) and that is indeed the time Mukanya left the stage.
Sources within Entertainment Republic, who hosted the show, claimed the show attracted more than 10 thousand fans.
There was pushing and shoving as fans jostled to get closer to the stage and some of the barricades that were dividing the VIP section and the rest of the ground were infringed.
One of the ecstatic fans jumped on stage and hugged Mukanya though he had to pay for his bravery as security could not just let him go freely.
Though Mukanya did not exhibit the needed energy on stage, possibly due to old age, he was, however, equal to the task and every song was receiving an ovation from the crowd.
Music promoter Josh Hozheri spoke highly of the singer.
“I used to promote his shows at Sports Diner and the energy he exhibited was great. Age is just catching up on him. Those who knew his performances long back will testify,” he said.
The crowd was a mixture of young and old generation, and for a number of fans, it was their first time to see the legend in action.
His communication with fans was very commendable as fans sang along to most of the hit songs like Pidigori, Nyoka Musango, Chauya Chauya and Bhutsu Mutandarika among others.
His band was also on point as they managed to produce a good sound though some public address system hiccups were notable.
The group was composed of 17 members on stage, 13 instrumentalists and four backing vocalists who also doubled as dancers.
There were four sets of mbira to stamp authority of the genre, three guitars, traditional drums percussions, keyboards, saxophone, trombone and a drum set.
Mukanya’s performance was flawless but he might have left some fans disappointed after he failed to perform some of the popular songs like Mamvemve and Disaster despite several calls from the crowd.
WE HAD MISSED MUKANYA: TUKU
Superstar Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi said he had missed Thomas Mapfumo and was happy that after 14 years he was back in the country to perform.
In a show of solidarity, Tuku went on stage during Mukanya’s performance and showcased a few dances before embracing with the chimurenga music guru.
Tuku, while performing on his set said a number of people had never witnessed Mukanya performing and it was their chance to see him in action.
“Munoziva chisuwo, chisuwo chiri poisonous. Mukanya tanga tavasuwa, tinofara Mwari vatisanganisa nhasi, vamwe hamuna kumbovaona,” he said.
Tuku came on stage after a disappointing set by youthful Garry Tight who lowered the bar that had been set high by Suluman Chimbetu and his Orchestra Dendera Kings.
The superstar belted a number of his yesteryear hits such as Bvuma and Dande among other hits such as Watitsvata.
Tuku also played a father figure joining Garry Tight on stage for their duet, a moment which rescued the young musician who had found the going tough in front of a huge crowd.
Tuku also joined Winky D during his set for their single Panorwadza Moyo much to the pleasure of many.
SULU’S TOP PERFORMANCE
Suluman Chimbetu was on top of his game proving that he is indeed the torch bearer of dendera music.
Sulu who was given less than 30 minutes to perform did not waste any opportunity churning out hit after hit.
The major highlights were when he performed songs like Ndarangarira Gamba and One Way and he left the stage as fans wanted more.
With talk that the Alice Mbewe singer might be heading to the musical cemetery, his performance at the Thomas Mapfumo Bira left the critics thinking otherwise.
He proved that he still has the touch that once made him a darling of many in the local showbiz.
ANDY MURIDZO MISSED OPPORTUNITY
MUSICIAN Andy Muridzo missed an opportunity to perform in front of a huge crowd and share the stage with greats Thomas Mapfumo, Oliver Mtukudzi and Winky D.
Reports are that ‘music politics’ played a part, with Muridzo reportedly refusing to go on stage before Garry Tight.
He reportedly felt he could not curtain raise for the young musician.
This is despite the fact that his elder in music Suluman Chimbetu had performed before Garry Tight.
This saw Muridzo failing to take to the stage much to the disappointment of his fans.
After Garry Tight’s performance, Tuku took over, leaving the stage for Winky D who then warmed the stage for Mukanya.
Winky D gave a commendable performance as he performed songs from his recent album Gombwe. The Ninja president opened his act with his collaboration with Vabati VaJehova – Ngirozi which is currently an anthem.
Mukanya went on stage just after 2am and performed up to around 5:45am, leaving no room for Muridzo.
Had room been created for Muridzo, he was going to play in an empty venue as people left the Glamis Arena soon after Mukanya’s performance.
Muridzo’s manager Gift Petro downplayed the issue shifting the blame to the organisers whom he said failed to apportion them an exact slot to perform which saw them wait in vain as Mukanya could not leave room for them to perform.