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Behind the scenes at 'Masanga Bodo' with Tuku


New DVD recounts journey of a lifetime ... Oliver Mtukudzi

26/06/2014 00:00:00
by Robert Mukondiwa
 
 
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THE air in the room holds still as if it fears it may be chided for making a stir, and everybody seems to hold their breath; indeed it is so quiet one could hear the bang of a pin dropping.

Then the silence is broken by a sound familiar to and loved by millions; a voice so rough and gravel-like you would think it was tearing through a capsule filled with grit - golden grit. It is the voice which has captivated the whole world, probably the most beautiful ugly voice known to man.

"I think we need to have shots of the crowd. This was a live recording; it would be lovely to share the experience with the crowd if they are also shown in the video," says the voice.

And as the voice tears through the silence the temporal halt in life ceases and everybody seems to come alive all of a sudden - the god of Zimbabwean music and arts has spoken.

It is the voice of Oliver Mtukudzi and the event is the behind-the-scenes editing of what will, undoubtedly, be the immediate next release from his videography shelf.

The DVD will most likely be entitled Masanga Bodo. In the studio with Tuku are key personnel behind the project - men and artistes who keep things running at Pakare Paye Arts Centre and now have the daunting task to make sure the product is a godsend to anticipating Tuku admirers.

Newzimbabwe.com has a front row seat - fortunate to be honoured with a rare chance to witness Tuku - the perfectionist and director - at work off stage.

The recording, which was made in 2012, will be the culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work and tireless dedication to the cause; the home stretch now beckons.

"You are fortunate to be here to witness what goes on behind the scenes," Tuku says later in his trademark raspy golden voice.

"It is not easy and there is attention to every detail it has to be perfect for the fans and for the people who worked on it. They should see that it is as good a product that which justifies the massive effort they put into it."

But there is one thing he does not – and perhaps needs not say. The project is also a deserving tribute to his son Samson 'Sam' Mtukudzi who died tragically in a road accident about 30 kilometres from Norton where this product is also being perfected.


Fitting tribute to late son ... Oliver Mtukudzi and late son Sam



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Much of the script was, in fact, a celebration of Sam’s life and a tribute to him. Those wounds refuse to heal. And how can they, when Oliver can still see the empire he built poised for succession now lying without a prince to inherit it?

Still, the tribute, made entirely of the fruit of Pakare Paye, is a fitting lament of honour.

With yester-year songs such as Under Pressure, Tsika Dzedu and an array of songs cutting across the Tuku decades, the DVD album cascades through emotions as it mourns the passing of Sam in song with cameo appearances by artistes such as Pauline of the Mafriq fame, Selmor Mtukudzi, Munya Mataruse, ExQ and even Oliver Mtukudzi himself.

The highlight of the DVD album, perhaps, is the title track itself, Masanga Bodo - literally translated as Not By Coincidence, which is sung by Oliver Mtukudzi's wife Daisy in an amazing climax.

A duet between Daisy and Olly, the song celebrates the fact that their life, love and circumstances are designed by God, by a greater force, and not by accident in what is a wonderful cherry on the cake.

"We want things to be perfect that is why we didn't rush through it. We could have produced the DVD much earlier but we took our time; we had to," said Tuku.

But it was a different Tuku in the office-cum-editing suite. There is something a little special about Tuku the perfectionist - a little haunting also. All the laughs are gone as he puts on a serious face, listening out even for the slightest, out of place, crackle.

He wants Tee-One, the editing genius, to 'fix that' and enquires with the Pakare Paye 'engine room' veteran actor and now administrator 'Watson Chidzomba Moyondizvo – “what do you think about the lighting? It needs to be improved on this shot, should it not?"

Yes, it takes several man-hours and serious commitment to put together what seems effortless when it hits the streets.

"We shall definitely release the DVD this year. We have finished the more tedious part of the editing. Now we need to perfect it," Watson tells me after the intense hours we endure editing.

Tee One giggles, making a tough job seem like child's play. Here is a team that loves to work. And it is a Saturday, of all days. But the perfectionist's week knows no rest days.

"It’s not easy Robbie," the 'real' Oliver says to me that evening after a dinner of sadza remhunga and roadrunner chicken as he watches stand-up comedy at Pakare Paye.

Suddenly, one of the stand-up comedians cracks a rib cracking joke and Oliver is in stitches, tearing that raspy voice as if there is broken glass lodged in that voice box.

Only Oliver, and perhaps Joe Cocker, can tame such irritation and make it loved by many. That is a sign of perfection and unbridled talent. He is relaxed now, and at ease.

Masanga Bodo is almost done. A look at Tuku’s glowing eyes as he laughs reveals his human ordinary side. And as he laughs, if you look closely, you can detect that somewhere on his voice-box is imprinted the fingerprints of God.

Outside in the chilly weather, you could swear you heard the late Sam Mtukudzi's warm breath. He still lives in these corridors of a conference centre named after him, a legend however young. And legends never die.


 
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