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
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
A collaboration worth its salt should be
“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
A majority of the artistes he worked
with were doing well in their own
Some of the young artistes who
partnered well with Mtukudzi include
Gerry Tight, XQ, Fungisai, Winky D and
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
When Mtukudzi and James Chimombe
recorded the song ‘Iwe neni’, it became a
The song which was recorded in the
late 1980s became the listeners’ favourite
and stayed on local radio charts for many
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…”
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
They also collaborated on the song
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
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
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
Musicians should unite for the growth
of the industry.