By Fidelis Manyange

WHEN musicians come together for

collaborations, fans are united and the

fan base grows.

In this article, I will talk of

collaborations involving serious artistes

characterised by depth and skill.

Nowadays, some musicians just wake

up to collaborate without putting much

thought into their projects, taking fans

for granted.

Little known names in the industry

have tried to work with big names

to boost their fan base but their

contribution in the collabo is not good

enough.

A collaboration worth its salt should be

reciprocal.

“Mimwe mibatanidzwa inotodzikisira

vaimbi vacho vagara vaine mazita

mahombe” said one local radio presenter.

That means the big artistes should

shun collaborations with those who come

with poorly done projects.

The late great superstar and national

hero, Oliver Mutukudzi, had many

collaborations with upcoming and little

known artistes but he worked with

people who were serious about their

craft.

A majority of the artistes he worked

with were doing well in their own

capacity.

Some of the young artistes who

partnered well with Mtukudzi include

Gerry Tight, XQ, Fungisai, Winky D and

Tocky Vibes.

There are some big names who have

collaborated and come up with excellent

projects that have stood the test of time.

Who will ever forget the Somandla

Ndebele-Tongai Moyo combination.

The duo’s ‘Moyo Wekurera’ became an

instant hit and received so much airplay

both on radio and television.

Whenever the two friends did live

shows, fans kept on calling for more of

the song.

When Mtukudzi and James Chimombe

recorded the song ‘Iwe neni’, it became a

monster hit.

The song which was recorded in the

late 1980s became the listeners’ favourite

and stayed on local radio charts for many

weeks.

Many people will remember the lyrics

of the song: ‘‘Iwe neni ijanha redu

takatsidzira kuimbira vanhu saka

ngatiimbe, vanhu vakamirira kusumwa

mashoko atiinawo…. tora deze titambe

mbira titambe mbira Jimmy weee…”

Every Kwaziso/Ukhubingelelana

letter on Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe)

would request the song.

Tendai Mupfurutsa’s collaboration

with Biggie Tembo, on the song

‘Kumusha’, was a hit on ZTV’s

Mutinhimira Wemimhanzi.

They also collaborated on the song

‘Kuzvibata’.

Young and vibrant artiste Freeman’s

collaboration with the sungura maestro

Alick Macheso, in ‘Ngaibake’, is an

example of two artistes coming from

different genres to come up with an

excellent song and video.

The age difference did not matter;

voices and instrumentation blended well.

Youthful artistes Poptain and Nutty O

produced a sing-along duet ‘Kokai’ which

became, and still is, every ghetto youth’s

favourite; the two artistes contributed

equally good voices to the project.

The video was not done in a hurry, the

two gave it their best.

Olivia Chimuka and Prudence

Katomeni, two jazz artistes, blended

so well on the collaboration of the

traditional piece ‘Tondobayana’.

Besides making collaborations in

singing, musicians can also help each

other by writing songs for each other.

In the early 1980s, Thomas Mapfumo

wrote the song ‘Rova ngoma Mutavara’

for Oliver Mtukudzi and the single went

gold. Tuku gave Mukanya 7.50 pounds

sterling, a lot of money at the time.

“Ndakatoimwa muSaratoga paMachipisa

mari iyoyo ichiramba kupera” said

Mukanya during a television interview

some time back.

The late Safirio Madzikatire, popularly

known as Mukadota in the arts industry,

wrote the song ‘Chekudya chese tanga

waravira’ for Mhosva Marasha, aka

Biggie Tembo, which became a big hit.

Mukadota knew that the person who

could sing it better than him was none

other than Biggie Tembo. Artistes like

Mtukudzi, Jah Prayzah and Andy Brown

have collaborated with artistes from

other countries and come up with good

projects but others have flopped.

Andy Muridzo and Peter Moyo

came up with poor projects when they

collaborated with Botswana diva Slizer

while Jah Prayzah came up with an

excellent song and video with Charma

Girl from the same country.

Collaborations and unity among

musicians should go beyond

compositions and vocals but big artistes

who are good instrumentalists can make

exciting collaborations along those lines,

playing for each other.

Fans love that. Have you noticed

how fans get excited at live shows

when Macheso plays his bass for other

musicians.

In the DRC, we have individual artistes

like Lokassa Dennis YaMbongo who

is regarded as one of the best rhythm

guitarists in Africa, Dally Kimoko who

is a highly rated lead guitarist in Africa,

Ngouma Lokito ranked as the best

bassist in Africa, Awilo Longomba a very

creative drummer and chanter as well

as Shimita Eldiego who partners prolific

dancer Yondo Sister with their melodious

voices.

All the above artistes come together

every year to record an album under the

name Soukous Stars. Their shows are

always fully booked.

If you check their videos on YouTube,

you will agree theirs is one of the best

collaborations in the world.

These are the types of collaborations

we wish to see in our motherland. For

instance, if we have Donald Gogo,

Progress Chipfumo or Sulumani

Chimbetu on lead guitar; Sizwangendaba

Ncube, Noel Nyazanda, Allan Chimbetu

or Innocent Mjintu on rhythm guitar;

Orbert Gomba or Sam Mataure on

drums; Alick Macheso, Roan Mudhindo

or Luke Taurai Kancheta on bass then

we have the talented Chief Hwenje, Alick

Macheso or Janet Manyowa on vocals,

this model star-studded band would be

an exciting ensemble.

We can have such collaborations

recording a project every year.

Musicians should create platforms to

interact and share notes.

We used to have places such as Book

Cafe, Mannenberg and Jazz 105 where

artistes would interact. Some well known

artistes have divided their fans into

camps by creating unnecessary beef

among themselves, especially dancehall

artistes.

Musicians should unite for the growth

of the industry.

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