By Zimbabwe Digital News
Two weeks on the road, and by the time you read this, some of Blacks Unlimited are probably back home – back in Harare or the USA, or those that remained in South Africa – after a successful performance at the Boksburg Hotel.
Thomas Mapfumo – the Lion of Zimbabwe – performed two successful shows at the Boksburg Hotel this week, and took time out to speak to Zimbabwe Digital News on a range of issues – from the formation of the Blacks Unlimited, the deaths of Robert Mugabe and Oliver Mtukudzi, why his music is banned on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, music piracy, his favourite SA musicians, the new album, and why he played last at the Bob Marley show at Rufaro Stadium in 1980.
New Album: Wake Up Zimbabwe
Yes confirmed. Coming anytime now. Recorded 14 tracks, they want only 10 for the long player. Mapfumo is releasing his latest studio album in time for December.
Themed, Wake Up Zimbabwe, Wake Up Zimbabwe, Open Up Your Eyes, imwe song, yandakaita nemumwe musikana. I song yakato womarara zvikuru.
Na Chinogiya. Chinogiya i mbira. Yaaah. Kana ndafunga kumusha. Kana ngoma yarira. Chinogiya chinorira, Yaaah. (laughs).
Playing to Zim diasporans scattered through the world.
Zvinorwadza mufunge. Mumwe musi ndakachema misodzi ndichiona wana weku Zimbabwe wakazara kunedzimwe nyika, wachichemera kuenda kumba kwawo
Warungu hawadi kukuonai makabatana
He slammed African leaders for being puppets of Western leaders, saying last week’s Africa-Russia summit was a waste of time, and proof that African leaders are controlled by the West.
They are stooges, fools, these African leaders. Batanidzai Africa. Warungu hawadi kukuonai makabatana se Africa, because wanoziwa kuti kana makabatana wa nouya iwo kuzokukumbirai because you’ll be strong.
But ma leaders edu they don’t see that. Wanoda kuita rumwe rumwe, wachibira wanhu wawo.
That’s why muchiona hawadi kubatana because wanoda kubira wanhu wawo.
Kwandinogara ku Oregan uko, 5 hours ndiri mundege, ndichienda ku New York. Wakabatanidza ma states akawanda and they saw and implemented the power of many states.
See video link
Thomas Mapfumo says that African leaders are fools, stooges, all they want is to steal from the people
Posted by Zimbabwe Digital News on Tuesday, 5 November 2019
You saw them, in the press, posing for pictures with Putin. Why can’t African leaders unite Africa, and stop begging these Western forces. I tell you, a united Africa is far much more stronger than any of these countries. Our leaders are just going there to smile for the cameras, but what does that bring to the suffering masses.
In the interview, Mapfumo narrated how the United States of America had combined states with different people, laws, territory and boundaries into one huge economy, yet African leaders were happy to be rulers of their own small territories.
“Let unite Africa. Batanidzai Africa”
Ngatibatanidzeyi Africa, tichishandisa mari imwechete, tiri under one government. The other people wari kuma Western countries wangadai wachikumbira isusu. Even wese wari ku China wangadai wachikumbira isusu.
Banned from ZBC Airwaves
Mapfumo said it was a mystery to him why his music is banned from the national broadcaster airwaves. I’m still public enemy number one, music yangu haitoridzwe zvachose.
Because wanoona kuti ndine wanhu, iyi music handi yangu ba ndeye wanhu.
Blacks Unlimited, current line-up
Mukanya paid tribute to the Blacks Unlimited for sticking by him throughout the years. The fact that he could put together such a strong line-up to perform in SA – at short notice – was testimony to the strength and resilience of his band.
For a humble band that was formed at Zimunya township, kwaMutare, this is the current line-up of the Blacks Unlimited.
Featuring the mbira talents of Basil Makombe and Yotam Musupeki Paradzai on mbira, producing a hybrid Chimurenga Shona music.
Rest of the line-up
Allan Chigwedere, bass guitar, Zim
Fanwell Zinduwa Bra Cox, alto saxophone, Zim
Innocent Mutangadura, keyboard, SA
Basil Makombe, mbira SA
Yotam Musupeki Paradzai, mbira Zim
Paul Prada Kuzinya, drummer, USA
Canaan Kamoyo, trombone, Zim
Tendai Kazuru, percussion, Zim
Gilbert Zvamaida, lead guitar
Beauty Simbanegavi, backing vocals, Zim
Betty Simbanegavi, backing vocals, Zim
Sithiyekile Tears Hove, backing vocals, Zim
Mudhara Murapa and formation of Blacks Unlimited
I had wanted the band to be called Blackman Unlimited, kuma 1973, because Blacks Unlimited was formed KwaZimunya.
After our time with The Wagon Wheels with Oliver Mtukudzi and guitarist James Chimombe I was doing odd jobs and in 1972 band, the Hallelujah Chicken Run Band was formed.
Nhoroondo ye Blacks Unlimited yakati kurei. Jonah Sithole, Over Matamba, Lawrence Phiri, apa tanga tabva ku Basil Bridge, tanga tapihwa basa nawa Nyamanhindi.
Taitoridzira wanhu waitobva kwaMutare, wanhu waburuka mu bhazi, wachiuya kuzotenga doro.
Kwanga kuine wakomana wakwa Jairos Jiri, wairikdza ipapo, isu takatozouya waripo. Takagara kwa Nyamanhindi zvekuri mbatya dzedu taitowachira kwaOdzi.
Ini ndaida zvekukurudzira culture yedu ye Zimbabwe. Takanga tanzwa kuti kune night club kwaZimunya. Yayi onwer na Mudhara Murapa.
Jonah Sithole was one of the best, Joshua Hlomayi, Ephraim Karimaura, Sugar Chiweshe. Infact Chiweshe was so versatile, he could play both guitars and mbira.
Chiweshe was a really great guitarist, but so is all of them. Infact all the guitarists that have played with the Blacks Unlimited brought with them their own style.
Zivai Guvheya, we had to groom him. He now lives in the UK, but I think he is in Zimbabwe now. He is one of the best in this game. He is a young guy, but if you hear him backing this band, you’ll be amazed. He is a serious mucisian.
Early mbira scouting
Everson, the other two came from Seke, Chitungwiza. Ini ndakakurira kumusha, kwaNyandoro.
Saka many other mbira players used to come and go but I would ask my Sekuru, Sekuru Jira to go and find mbira players.
Sekuru Jira, his real name is John Munhumumwe, brother of Marshall Munhumumwe is my cousin.”
So Sekuru Jira had a way of finding mbira players, and one day he brought to us a great player, a man called Kache. Kache was excellent, infact we took him with us to Japan for a series of shows there, and the crowds loved him.
He left after a few years, and a relative of his, also called Kache, came and joined. We also took the second Kache to Japan, and he was a star there as well. These stories you will never hear anywhere,” he said.
Munhu wandakashanda naye, ayiridza mbira, ariridza zve saxophone. He was very versatile, munhu wandaida stereki, munhu ayiziva nyaya yemimhanzi.
He had come from a prison band where he was playing saxophone for the prisons band, tikazomutora tikamuunza ku band.
Ayiridza even kana hosho, idzi dzedu dzechinyakare. I phone him even when I heard that he was ill, ndikari Chartwell shinga, uri murume. Kana paine zvinenge zvazoitika, ndoo kuda kwamwari.
Mukadzi wechirungu akamboda kuramba kuti nditaure naye ndikati hazviite, ndotoda kutaura naye.
Haikona kutya. Ndakashushikana kwazvo nekushaya kwa Chartwell.
Mukanya paid tribute to Chartwell Dutiro
WaMugabe wanga wachembera. Yaaah. Munoziwa kuti munhu kana munhu akura anodzoka kuita hwana huduku. Kufa kwawakaita ndakato rwadziwa.
Zvawakaita izvozvo ini handina judgement nawo. Handina say. Ndiri chisikwa wo sekusikwa kwawakaitwa. Iyi ega ndiye achanomira nezviito zvake kuna mwari, wotaura kuti wanhu anga achiwabata sei. Mwari ndiwo anowa judgadga.
Handingati aaaah dayi Mugabe afa, aiwa, handingadaro. Isu kwedu tinoti wafa wanaka.
The death of Oliver Mutukudzi preceded a curious set of events around the life of Thomas Mapofumo, now related as The incident at Supa Mandiwanzira’s ZiFM Studio, when Mukanya drove off in haste on January 23.
Akafa musi wechitatu Oliver.
Oliver anga achirwara arikumba, mangwana acho, chiri china ndikataurira wanhu waindi driver kuti mundi drive ndinoona Oliver. Apa ndanga ndadaidzwa ku interview nema kustudio avo amu Harare aya, inoranwa na DJ uyu akanga aa Minister uyu… Supa Mandiwanzira, ehe iyeye.
Ini handisi kuziwa kuti is studio ya Supa Mandiwanzira. Zvikanzi Mukanya murikuziwa here kuti i Studio ya Supa Mandiwanzira. Ndikati ndekupi? Zvikanzi ndipo pano. Ndikati ah aiwa ngatibvei pano ndekukurumidza. Zvikandzi indaa, ndikati aaaah, I don’t want to be associated newanhu awa. Ndo zvanda ka mutaurira ndikati aaaah, pano ngatibvei.
Tiri mu road tiri papakati taakutodzokera, ipapo ndoo pandaka fonerwa na Cuthbert Chiromo, zvikanzi murikuzviziwa here ku hama yenyu yashaya. Ndikati ah.
Zvikanzi anga atotorwa kubva kumba kwake achiiswa kuma avenues uku. Ndo kwaashaika ikoko.
Ndika ko nguwa yese iyi wanga wamuchengeterei kumba munhu achirwara? Ndaitongo funga kuti munhu ayingo rwara wo asi achizomuka hake mangwana
Narrated how he had visited Pakare Paya, they ate, and he had commended Mtukudzi for setting up a place where youngsters could come to learn music and guitars.
Boksburg Hotel show
Tendai Kazuru, Canaan Kamoyo, Sam Mataure
Sithiyekile Hove, Betty Simbanegavi, Beauty Simbanegavi
Canaan Kamoyo, Yotam Musupeki Paradzai, Tendai Kazuru
Innocent Mutangadura, Allan Chigwedere, Paul Prada Kuzinya, Canaan Kamoyo
The maestro in full voice
Basil makombe and Yotam Musupeki Paradzai on Mbira
Thomas Mapfumo meets Studio 7’s Moreblessing Mujoma
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