Oliver Mtukudzi

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Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi
Oliver Mtukudzi.jpg
Background information
Born(1952-09-22)22 September 1952
Highfield, Southern Rhodesia
(modern-day Harare, Zimbabwe)
Died23 January 2019(2019-01-23) (aged 66)
Harare, Zimbabwe
GenresAfro Jazz / Tuku Music
Instrument(s)Guitar
Years active1977–2019

Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi (22 September 1952 – 23 January 2019) was a Zimbabwean musician, businessman, philanthropist, human rights activist and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Southern Africa Region.

Career[edit]

Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits

Mtukudzi grew up in Highfield, a poor neighborhood in Salisbury (modern-day Harare) in Southern Rhodesia. He began performing in 1977 when he joined the Wagon Wheels, a band that also featured Thomas Mapfumo and fellow guitarist James Chimombe. They were given the rare opportunity by Paul Tangi Mhova Mkondo, an African nationalist and music promotor, who provided money and resources to the group. He allowed them to perform at Club Mutanga (Pungwe) which, at the time, was the only night club available for blacks under Rhodesia's policy of segregation. Their single Dzandimomotera went gold and Tuku's first album followed, which was also a major success. Mtukudzi was also a contributor to Mahube, Southern Africa's "supergroup".[1]

With his husky voice, Mtukudzi became the most recognised voice to emerge from Zimbabwe and onto the international scene and he earned a devoted following across Africa and beyond. A member of Zimbabwe's KoreKore group, with Nzou Samanyanga as his totem, he sang in the nation's dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English. He also incorporated elements of different musical traditions, giving his music a distinctive style, known to fans as Tuku Music.

Mtukudzi had a number of tours around the world. He was on several tours in the UK, US and Canada to perform for large audiences. In 2017 Mtukudzi entertained guests at the wedding of Zimbabwean businessman Wicknell Chivayo.[2]

Social commentary[edit]

Prior to the independence of Zimbabwe, Mtukudzi's music depicted the struggles under Rhodesian white minority rule.[3] In subsequent years following Zimbabwean independence, his music has advocated for tolerance and peace and has frequently portrayed the struggles of women and children.[4]

Personal life and death[edit]

Mtukudzi was the father of five children and had two grandchildren. Two of his children are also musicians. His son Sam Mtukudzi, a successful musician in his own right, died in a car accident in March 2010 and in 2013, Mtukudzi released an album titled "Sarawoga", in tribute to his son.[5][6][7]

On 23 January 2019, Mtukudzi died at the age of 66 at Avenues Clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe after a long battle with diabetes mellitus.[8]

Discography[edit]

  • 1978 Ndipeiwo Zano (re-released 2000)
  • 1979 Chokwadi Chichabuda
  • 1979 Muroi Ndiani?
  • 1980 Africa (re-released 2000)
  • 1981 Shanje
  • 1981 Pfambi
  • 1982 Maungira
  • 1982 Please Ndapota
  • 1983 Nzara
  • 1983 Oliver's Greatest Hits
  • 1984 Hwema Handirase
  • 1985 Mhaka
  • 1986 Gona
  • 1986 Zvauya Sei?
  • 1987 Wawona
  • 1988 Nyanga Nyanga
  • 1988 Strange, Isn't It?
  • 1988 Sugar Pie
  • 1989 Grandpa Story
  • 1990 Chikonzi
  • 1990 Pss Pss Hallo!
  • 1990 Shoko
  • 1991 Mutorwa
  • 1992 Rombe
  • 1992 Rumbidzai Jehova
  • 1992 Neria soundtrack
  • 1993 Son of Africa
  • 1994 Ziwere MuKobenhavn
  • 1995 Was My Child
  • 1996 Svovi yangu
  • 1995 The Other Side: Live in Switzerland
  • 1995 Ivai Navo
  • 1997 Ndega Zvangu (re-released 2001)
  • 1997 Chinhamwe
  • 1998 Dzangu Dziye
  • 1999 Tuku Music
  • 2000 Paivepo
  • 2001 Neria
  • 2001 Bvuma ("Tolerance")
  • 2002 Shanda soundtrack
  • 2002 Vhunze Moto
  • 2003 Shanda (Alula Records)
  • 2003 Tsivo ("Revenge")
  • 2004 Greatest Hits Tuku Years
  • 2004 Mtukudzi Collection 1991–1997
  • 2004 Mtukudzi Collection 1984–1991
  • 2005 Nhava
  • 2006 Wonai
  • 2007 Tsimba Itsoka
  • 2008 Dairai (Believe)
  • 2010 Rudaviro
  • 2010 Kutsi Kwemoyo (compilation)[9]
  • 2011 Rudaviro
  • 2011 Abi'angu ("Duets of My Time")
  • 2012 Sarawoga — Sarawoga laments the losses that the legend has had to endure in his life, not least the loss of life. Thus he has been left 'alone' in a sense, hence the title Sarawoga (left alone).
  • 2014 Mukombe Wemvura
  • 2016 God Bless You – The Gospel Collection
  • 2016 Eheka! Nhai Yahwe
  • 2018 hany'a ("Concern")

Contributing artist[edit]

  1. 1996 The Rough Guide to the Music of Zimbabwe (World Music Network)
  2. 1999 Unwired: Acoustic Music from Around the World (World Music Network)
  3. 2000 Unwired: Africa (World Music Network)

Filmography[edit]

  • Jit (dir. Michael Raeburn, 1990)
  • Neria (dir. Goodwin Mawuru, written by Tsitsi Dangarembga, 1993). Mtukudzi starred in the movie and made the soundtrack.
  • Shanda (dir. John and Louise Riber, 2002, rev. 2004)[10]
  • Sarawoga, 2009, was written by Elias C. Machemedze, directed by Watson Chidzomba and produced by Oliver Mtukudzi, who also did the soundtrack for the film.
  • 2012 Nzou NeMhuru Mudanga DVD, the live recording of a show, a theatrical performance which Tuku had with his son just weeks before his death.

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Oliver Mtukudzi and the Black Spirits, Zimbabwe Music Guide". Archived from the original on 28 August 2007. Retrieved 3 September 2007.
  2. ^ "Tuku serenades Chivayo's marriage ceremony guests". The Herald. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  3. ^ "Mtukudzi buried in his home village". 27 January 2019. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Oliver Mtukudzi and his 'talking guitar' was our gift from Zimbabwe to the world". Quartz Africa.
  5. ^ "Zimbabwean music legend Oliver Mtukudzi has died". CNN. 23 January 2019. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  6. ^ "Sam Mtukudzi dies in car crash". Newzimbabwe.com. 15 March 2010. Archived from the original on 17 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  7. ^ "Oliver Mtukudzi's son dies in car crash". Times LIVE. 15 March 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Music legend Oliver Mtukudzi's guitar strums silenced in diabetes battle". Nairobi News. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  9. ^ "Tuku debuts double album on UK tour". New Zimbabwe. 13 July 2010. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  10. ^ Review of Shanda movie at Dandamutande
  11. ^ "Mtukudzi, Ringo expected for UK concerts". New Zimbabwe.com. 11 October 2006. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  12. ^ Oliver Mtukudzi:Biography, Sheer Sound