THE curtain has come down on quite another eventful year shaped by mixed fortunes for me personally, my family, Tuku Music and our academy at Pakare Paye Arts Centre.
I set out in 2010 to accomplish and fulfill a number of dreams. I conquered certain hurdles and scored milestones too along the way in a modest but very gratifying way.
In artistic life ideas flourish and the strength and power of creativity abounds daily. But adversity is known to fight for a place in the scheme of things – perhaps for a reason perhaps not.
Two major musical projects were outstanding and concurrent in 2010. Perekedza Mwana was my late son Sam’s idea. His desire was that I accompany him to the old and far flung venues where I performed in the formative years of my career - places like Mushandirapamwe Hotel in Highfield, Chivhu, Mupandawana in Gutu, Mabvuku in Harare and many other places.
I supported the concept because I believed in its great potential to help mentor my son and other young artists and enlighten them on the virtues of humble beginnings.
And so we happily went on the road together with Sam performing starting with Mushandirapamwe which sold out and brought back so many memories for me. The hotel was THE venue for artists of my generation in the pre-1980 independence era. If you didn’t play there you hadn’t played music – that kind of hype.
The plan was that we hit the likes of Chivhu next with Perekedza Mwana. But then we had to do together with Sam another concept again Nzou neMhuru before continuing with Perekedza Mwana.
Nzou neMhuru was a theatrical musical production shot on location and simply celebrated the blessing and gift of family hood. We were at 7 Arts Theatre in Harare in February performing together with a cast of at least 20 artists.
In between these two productions Sam was hectic in the studio finalizing the recording of his second album Cheziya. I was also touring and working on my own music and also fulfilling my social responsibilities conducting a public lecture at Chinhoyi University of Technology and visiting diabetics at Chinhoyi Hospital and Chitungwiza.
Things were pretty much on course. Then tragedy struck. March 15. We lost Sam and his childhood friend Owen Chimhare in a road accident in Harare. The world collapsed all around me, life coming to a complete standstill. Time froze. I froze too.
Albeit untold difficulty I tried picking myself up to continue my son’s legacy and my own legacy too.
There was nothing for me to celebrate the traditional Birthday Bashes in recognition of my birthday in September in the same year of my son’s departure. And so I cancelled the Birthday Bashes that would have seen me performing in Harare, Chitungwiza, Norton and other cities in honour of my departed son.
I released Sam’s second album Cheziya and sadly posthumously in September. The same evening of the album launch we held in Norton a commemorative show Wednesday to Remember Sam. I miss my son. I will continue his legacy. But to unlock myself from the loss is not possible.
The year 2010 saw me release Kutsi Kwemoyo which becomes my 59th album. And more music is coming from me and other artists in the Tuku Music stable.
On the developmental side, at Pakare Paye Arts Centre, we released our fourth film Sarawoga which is showing on local television.
We continued our arts development programmes to mentor individual talent across the diversity of the arts.
The construction of the second phase of Pakare Paye Arts Centre is earnestly continuing with the main hall, the Sam Mtukudzi Conference Centre, left with a few finishing touches together with the adjoining lounge bar.
Construction of retail shops, restaurant and studio is continuing also but some of the overnight lodges are almost done now except for fittings.
This year I called upon the government to provide more and meaningful funding to the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) to enable the organization to extend support to artists who fly the Zimbabwe flag.
I reminded politicians too that artists are above them. As artists we are not partisan. We unify people unlike politicians who are partisan and divide people by serving partisan interest. We serve everybody. Politicians don’t. I also continued the gospel against music piracy.
It is never easy to achieve milestones in today’s highly competitive music environment. But 2010 saw Sheer Sound, in South Africa, acknowledging my 600 000 record sales units in that country in the last 10 years making me the biggest selling African artist, excluding South Africans themselves, in the last decade.
We have just held the third Solo Fest at Pakare Paye Arts Centre, on 22nd December, which received kind corporate support for the first time. The event was a roaring success. The Solo Fest is guided by the principle to develop individual talent and grow confidence amongst artists performing solo and reassuring them that they can still entertain fans and earn a living away from bands and groups.
I hope and wish 2011 brings prosperity to Zimbabwe again. I pray and hope too for more tolerance, love and respect amongst our people.
The New Year will see me continue touring, recording and performing for the fans that I love. As long as I have the gift of life and a voice to sing I will continue singing.
For your continued support and love – I extend my gratitude to all my fans across the world. Thank you too to all the friends of Tuku Music and the corporate sector, the arts and culture bodies and funding agencies, embassies and many others I have not mentioned by name.
I wish you all a New Year that you desire. I love you.