Tuku, Freshlyground join forces

DR Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi has probably done and seen it all in the music industry. The legendary artiste has not only left an indelible mark on the local scene as his popularity seemingly knows no borders.

Last week he was performing at the Festival Músicas do Mundo in Portugal and was set to stage another gig at the Lyric Theatre in Johannesburg last night.

The veteran singer’s schedule is ever busy as demand for his services across the globe keeps swelling with each passing day.

Apart from live performances, Dr Tuku has collaborated with a number of international stars.

And what makes his case different from a number of local musicians is the fact that foreign artistes usually bid to work with him, not the other way round.

Probably this is because the veteran music star adds value to any project he works on. Simply put, Dr Tuku is the real deal.

So good is the musician’s touch that internationally acclaimed South African band Freshlyground have failed to resist the allure of working with the “Tozeza Baba” hit-maker.

The group enlisted Dr Tuku’s services on their recently released album, “Can’t Stop”, where he features on one of the songs, “Ndiyak’khumbula”. The track is a masterpiece. It is so touching with an acoustic feel combined with brilliant vocals from both the band’s lead singer, Zolani and Dr Tuku easily appealing to the soul.

The fine touch on the song probably is further influenced by the South African group’s attachment to Zimbabwe as they also included Shona lyrics on one of the track titled “Stimela”.

Freshlyground’s Zolani told The Sunday Mail Society in an interview that it had been a long time wish for them to collaborate with Dr Tuku.

“We have been lifelong fans of his work and since one of our first Hifa gigs when we collaborated with him onstage, we have been yearning to record with the veteran and this song jumped out as a perfect accompaniment to his voice,” said Zolani.

“The song we did together is called ‘Ndiyak’khumbula’, meaning ‘I miss you’ or ‘I remember you’ and it’s a simple acoustic song sung in Xhosa and Shona. It’s a beautiful little gem of a song.”

She adds working with Tuku has been amazing, making use of numerous superlatives to describe him and his music.

“He is gracious, humble and extraordinary as ever. We had a master class in that studio. He is as masterful as he is prolific. As I said before, we are all big fans.”

Dr Mtukudzi is equally fascinated by Freshlyground and says the lead singer, Zolani, has a unique voice.

“Working with Freshlyground was a very wonderful experience considering how talented they are and the passion they put into their work,” said Dr Mtukudzi.

“This was not my first time working with the group as I have performed with them on numerous occasions, but collaborating with them on a song was a wonderful experience. It’s a good group to work with.”

Other South African artistes that have worked with Dr Tuku before include Ringo Madlingozi, the late Hugh Masekela, Judith Sephuma and Berita, to mention but a few.

Meanwhile, Dr Tuku revealed that he is working on a compilation album that is expected out before year end.

“I am working on a new 14-track project which I featured 14 artistes including Black Mambazo, Chama Girl, James Sakala, Tocky Vibes and Mathias Mhere, among others.”

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