By Lovemore Chazingwa
CHEGUTU EAST member of the House of Assembly (MP) Hon Webster Shamu promised to avail music instruments for sungura music exponent First Farai at the latter’s birthday that was held at the now popular music incubation spot City Sports Bar (CSB) in the capital.
The perseverant artist who has been in the industry for close to two decades now does not have his own set of instruments raising eyebrows as to whether the job is rewarding enough to sustain a decent living.
The stout musician celebrated his 39thg birthday in style among his followers and patrons alike. He has been in the music business since 1998 when he produced his first cassette working with Prince Tendai. He went on to share his skills with the godfather of sungura music Shepherd Chinyani and the Vhuka Boys, according to the legislator who was guest of honour at the colourful event
The philanthropic MP chronicled the life and journey Farai has travelled in the music industry.
” It is a very important event as I know Farai from Mhangura in my home province of MashWest. It is also the province where the President hails from. We’re a province that fully supports the arts especially music, he said.
A musician and broadcaster himself Shamu is the patron of the musicians in the country .
The lawmaker informed the house that Farai will be recording his 12th album this year which he touted will resurrect the late Tongai Moyo of the Utakataka fame.
” The first cassette that I mentioned earlier opened the way for this musician. He already has 11 albums under his belt and this year he will be releasing his twelfth. That album promises fireworks and will resurrect his counterpart Tongai Moyo at least in the music spirit. he said lightly.
Hon Shamu chided musicians to be alert to people who are bent on reaping where they did not sow in the industry.
” I was speaking to Sipho ‘Hotstix’ Mabuse (South African legendary musician) recently and he told me that if he had known what he knows today in music he should be a billionaire. That long time friend of mine told me that monies where taken by the whites who were in control and enriched themselves at the expense of us musicians. Look, here Tuku has 65 albums to his credit but international musicians like the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston had far less albums. Ironically, the former has just a fraction of earnings compared to the latter two. In the letter and spirit of our arts development lets continue to support our own talent.”
That should send a very clear signal to musicians to be wary of their rights and guard earnings jealously.
He endeared himself with the house when he made the sacred pledge: ” I hear that you don’t have musical instruments. That has touched me a lot. We have to talk about it for you to do your job well. Farai should have the instruments by the time he celebrates his 40th birthday, ” he announced amid cheers pomp and funfair from the full house at the venue.
” Musicians are a fountain of wisdom, knowledge. They transcend all kinds of boundaries to be present in our homes, the church , at funerals, weddings and any space we can think of. So they are a vital cog in our lives,”
The birthday boy urged partners to earnestly support needy musicians: ” In the music industry you can’t stand alone. Don’t do this for Farai only but all those who are in the industry especially the ones who come to the jam session to use free instruments provided by the venue owners because they do not have their own. CSB has become our parent by supporting us every now and then.”
On the down side was the absence of an array of artists who were billed to perform at the fiesta a sure sign of either lack of proper planning or discord in the music circles.
Artists who had been earmarked to be present but were conspicuous with their absence are Sulumani “Captain’ Chimbetu, Somandla ‘Mafia’ Ndebele, Romeo Gasa, Peter ‘Young Igwee’ Moyo, Apama Style , Zoey Sifelani, Tendai Dembo, Tatenda Pinjisi of the Saina fame and Talking Guitars.
Quizzed on such a state of affairs Farai was defensive.
“Most musicians are out of Harare where they have shows. We also started too early maybe some of them will show up as we are ahead of time. I’m informed that Sulu is in Bulawayo, Romeo (Gasa) is at Gango while Soma is out, without elaborating.”
Pramastove burnt out an impressive act much to the appreciation of the crowd. The MP exchanged notes with him on a possible support deal. Shuramurove who launched his album on 25 August at Jazz 24/7 was there from the start. Douglas Chimbetu and Shiga Shiga came very late and had a few drinks and a chat with their counterpart before they left.
The Hon member was accompanied by his wife Hon Amai Shamu.