African musician Thomas Mapfumo from Zimbabwe and his band The Blacks Unlimited perform Chimurenga music of Zimbabwean protest and struggle at Central Park SummerStage, New York, New York, Sunday, July 19, 1992. CREDIT: Photograph © 1992 Jack Vartoogian/FrontRowPhotos. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
HARARE – Vice President Constantino Chiwenga will be among guests at decorated Chimurenga musician Thomas Mapfumo’s Homecoming Bira scheduled for Glamis Arena in the capital tonight.
Mapfumo popularly known as Mukanya — his totem — will share the stage with superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, Suluman Chimbetu, Winky D, Gary Tight, Andy Muridzo and Diana Samkange.
This will be Mukanya’s first concert in Zimbabwe in 14 years.
Speaking through his publicist Blessing Vava, Mukanya told the Daily News that all is set for the big bira.
“Mukanya will be playing with an 18-member band including a guest guitarist from America called Banning Eyre. We will start performing after Tuku’s act and it will be after midnight till around 5am on Sunday,” said Vava.
“We have a number of guests who confirmed to be part of the crowd and these include VP Chiwenga, Arts minister Kazembe Kazembe, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority boss Karikoga Kaseke, Advocate Martin Dinha (Minister of State for Mashonaland Central Provincial Affairs) and Fortune Chasi (Mazowe South legislator) among others,” he said.
“Mukanya’s backing group Blacks Unlimited that will play tonight will comprise two lead guitarists, four mbira players, four trumpeters, two keyboardists, four female backing vocalists-cum-dancers, a drummer, a bassist, conga and hosho player.”
As of yesterday, Mukanya’s fans endured long queues in Harare to buy tickets for the historic show and organisers said they are intending to sell not more than
22 000 tickets for security reasons.
In a previous interview, Mapfumo said he cannot wait for the show.
“For the past 14 years I have been performing in different countries but the feeling is different when you are performing in Zimbabwe,” he said, adding that his playlist will include his old hits.
“We don’t forget the old music that made us what we are today. We have new music that we are intending to play but the majority of our songs on our playlist are those songs that made us who we are today. So if our fans request some songs we will play them.”
Though he is now 72, Mukanya insists he has lost none of his fabled stage presence.
“I am still very much in the game and my fans should expect a memorable show. As usual my fans know what I do. I recently won the Global First Artist Award 2018, it has just arrived today (yesterday),” he said.
Mapfumo said it was fitting that his first show in Zimbabwe since 2004 will feature his old friend Mtukudzi.
“It is a great feeling to be sharing the stage with Oliver. He is a good friend; we talk, we laugh. Our friendship started when we were very young men and we communicated very often.
“Though some mischievous people say that there is bad blood between me and Oliver, those are lies. Apart from sharing the stage on the day of the concert I am planning to visit him in Norton if time permits,” said Mukanya. – Daily News