The Sunday Mail
PENGAUDZOKE heir, Faheem Somanje, has enlisted the services of cousin and former Orchestra Dendera Kings backing vocalist-cum-dancer, Never Somanje, in a bid to bolster the group’s appeal.
Faheem took over the reins at the Marondera-based outfit following the demise of its founder, Daiton Somanje, early last year.
The sungura ensemble is, however, struggling to regain the glitter that was created by the “Tsaona” hit-maker in his heydays.
Yes, Faheem is a talented musician who can hold his own in the cut-throat music industry, but critics argue that the young lad, just like his father, needs a stabilising factor.
For his father, the stability and boost came from young brother Josphat, and it seems all Faheem was lacking all this time was his cousin Never.
Accordingly, the decision by former Orchestra Dendera Kings band member, Never, to join Pengaudzoke blends well with not only public opinion but pundits as well.
Officially, Faheem and Never joined forces three weeks ago but the two started working together even before Never left Orchestra Dendera Kings. The latter would join Faheem on stage for his full set each time the dendera ensemble and the Marondera-based group shared the stage.
Daiton’s son is upbeat about the new arrangement.
“Never is now part of Pengaudzoke and he is coming in as a backing vocalist. I can sing like Daiton and he has a voice that is similar to that of Josphat so I can safely say the group is now genuinely alive and ready to regain lost ground,” declared Faheem.
The cousins’ decision to finally merge forces is justifiable considering that they always left fans spellbound each time they performed vintage Pengaudzoke tracks like “Ndinomuda Chete”, “Munonyepa” and “Mai Linda” among others.
In an interview with this publication, Never confirmed he was never at peace with himself during his stint with Suluman Chimbetu’s Orchestra Dendera Kings.
“I have been in the music industry for some time and my little experience can help me improve things at Pengaudzoke. It was always difficult, rather painful for me to watch Faheem struggle alone yet I knew I could help bring a difference, hence the decision to join him. The move has fans’ blessings and I’m now part of the group’s backing vocalists although Faheem wants me to have a more leading role,” revealed Never.
Never’s father is the eldest in the late Daiton’s family and is still alive.
Never, born in 1975, has in the past worked with Josphat at Somanje Stars. He was part of the team that worked on Josphat’s chart-bursting album “This Time”, which featured hits like “Mukaranga”, “Handibvume aka This Time Haulume” and “Jorijo”.
He moved to Pengaudzoke when the Somanje Stars front man was incarcerated before finally joining Chimbetu.
“I worked with both Josphat and Daiton. The experience I accumulated over the years including that at Orchestra Dendera Kings, which saw me tour Botswana, Australia and the United Kingdom. This puts me in a better position to help regain Pengaudzoke’s place at the top.
“I will try my best. Besides I have worked with some of the band members like Tichaona Jabulani (bass guitar) and Admire Zhuwao (lead guitar) before, which will make it easy for us to blend,” he said.
However, it is clear that they have to work hard to lure back a magnitude of their fans that either sit on the fence or have since shifted their loyalty.
Certainly, perfected live performances alone will not do the trick. The cousins need to come up with a fresh album sooner rather than later.
Sadly, that might not happen shortly.
This is despite the fact that Pengaudzoke received a free recording deal from sungura king Alick Macheso at his new studio.
Reports are that Faheem currently has an unfavourable five-year contract with Diamond Studios that is now in its third year. lndications are that officials at the studio are not willing to terminate the agreement.
“Our plan was to record and release an album as soon as possible since we have received a free recording offer but that is proving difficult. Faheem has a running contract with another studio that is proving difficult to terminate,” explained Never.
“We are trying to negotiate with the studio but if they fail to understand we might just end up sticking with them until the contract expires. But that might mean no new album in the short while. The free offer was good for us considering our financial predicament.”
Never was born in a family of six and is a professional motorcycle mechanic. He is based in Marondera where he operates a small workshop.
It remains to be seen if his support will help Faheem keep the Pengaudzoke legacy alive.
Other sons of fallen legends like Tendai Dembo, Peter Moyo, Sulu and Tryson Chimbetu to mention a few, have stood their ground despite numerous challenges.