The Sunday Mail
SUNGURA supremo Alick Macheso is a Titanic. His ship may be sinking but right now it is still the biggest thing in the waters of sungura music. The vocalist and guitarist has 10 studio albums under his belt. But he has not been releasing like he once did. It took Macheso about four years to come up with his last offering, “Tsoka Dzerwendo”, after releasing “Kwatakabva Mitunhu” in 2012.
Before that, the musician had two-year intervals in between “Zvido Zvenyu Kunyanya” (2003), “Vapupuri Pupurai” (2005) and “Ndezvashe” (2007). Fans think they are in for another long, dry spell. Baba Sharo, as Macheso is affectionately known, has thus far failed – not once but thrice – to fulfil a promise to release a new album. Initially, Macheso’s 11th was expected last March. He shifted the date to August. And then said nothing would come in 2017.
The end of March 2018 was supposed to be the new launch date. But Baba Sharo is now talking of June.
He says he wants the album launch to coincide with his 50th birthday and Orchestra Mberikwazvo’s 20th anniversary celebrations, to be held in Chitungwiza at the Aquatic Complex.
“According to our initial plans, the album was supposed to have been on the market already but we missed the targets and I hope our fans will forgive us for that.
“However, I would like you to assure them that everything is on course and for the first time I am giving them (fans) a precise date. We are launching our forthcoming album on June 8,” revealed Baba Sharo.
Orchestra Mberikwazvo was formed in 1998 and their debut album “Magariro” was released the same year followed by “Vakiridzo” (1999).
“We have to compensate for the disappointments of the past months thus we decided to come up with one big celebration. Plans for the group’s 20th anniversary celebrations and my birthday bash were already afoot hence I decided to add the 11th album into the matrix to make this a one big celebration,” said Macheso.
“The launch and celebrations will be done in Chitungwiza our home ground. This is where the group Orchestra Mberikwazvo is based and was formed.”
June appears to hold fond memories for the musician. It is during mid-year that the musician has on several occasions found courage to soldier on with life even when the chips are down.
Crucial support came for him as he celebrated his 46th birthday, a time he was seriously troubled by his divorce from former wife Tafadzwa Mapako.
“Every time I celebrate my birthday, I am forced to reflect on the achievements of the Orchestra Mberikwazvo. I formed and formalised the group 20 years ago around the time I was born. When fans send me birthday messages, they rarely separate my personal life from the professional one, and this is also part of the reason why we have this year decided to combine the celebrations,” added Baba Sharo.
According to the musician, they intend, with the “three-in-one” celebrations, to bring surviving Orchestra Mberikwazvo band members (past and present) under one roof for the first time. Macheso has over the years lost key band members at various intervals.
He was first deserted by Thomson Chauke, Rogers Fatiya and Samuel Mugede when the trio decided to stay behind in the United Kingdom following the group’s tour.
In later years, Macheso was to lose star dance Francis “Franco” Dhaka and a number of other band members that include notables like Donald Gogo, Zacharia Zacharia, Elton Muropa, Jonasi Kasamba, Innocent Mjintu, Noel Nyazanda, Lucky Mumiriki among others.
Some have since retraced their roots.
“2018 has to be special. Two decades in business in not a joke hence. It is my hope that everyone who has played a part in building and making Orchestra Mberikwazvo a brand be part of the historic June 8 event,” he said.
Times be hard for Macheso. But this Titanic has not sunk yet.