Tuku: The gift that keeps giving

Oliver Mtukudzi turns 66 in a couple of months.

A while back he appeared to be slowing down, but the world cannot seem to get enough of the man who matured like fine wine, and today he is selling out venues as far flung as South Africa, Japan and Portugal.

In between the globetrotting, the man is doing collaboration after collaboration, and has hardly rested since releasing his 66th – yes, 66th – album, “Hany’ga (Concern)”, in late 2017.

Tuku raises his eyebrows in wonderment when asked how he has remained in such great demand.

“We are pleasantly surprised. People all over the world have a renewed interest to see us. We tour all the time all over the world but we have been to new territories lately. Festival organisers are scrambling for tour dates while we are trying to fit in our own in-house organised shows,” Tuku tells The Sunday Mail Society.

“We are doing really well. And the other thing that is surprising is how people abroad are singing along to our new music. The shows themselves are well-advertised,” he adds.

His manager, Walter Wanyanya, says 2018 is packed with shows around the world: the United Kingdom, Lesotho, Botswana, Rwanda and the Nile Festival in Uganda are among the several places that will rock to Tuku Music throughout the rest of the year.

“This year has been great as far as festivals go and we have made efforts to ensure that we are exposing Tuku Music to brand new audiences,” enthuses Wanyanya. “We played in Sines Portugal a month ago in front of a 15 000-strong audience that danced to songs like ‘Shiringinya’ off the latest album.”

South Africa has become a home away from home.

Just after hosting the Solo Fest at Pakare Paye last Saturday, Sunday saw the legend was playing at two shows in Mzansi.

“Straight after the Solo Fest we played at the Zoo Lake Festival in Johannesburg and also at Jazz on the River Festival in the Vaal on the same day; with an attendance of 15 000 and 5 000 respectively. We have sold out the prestigious Artscape Theatre and Gold Reef City twice in the last 12 months,” says Wanyanya.

And Tuku is still picking international awards.

Continues Wanyanya: “Tuku recently headlined the Oppikoppi Festival in South Africa and received the Heavy Weight Legend Award at the festival. We are geared to headline the amazing Standard Bank Joy of Jazz Festival on the 29th of September and perform at the Mascom Live Sessions in Botswana on October 12.”

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