The Sunday Mail
THERE was very little excitement from patrons at Unplugged last Sunday after it was announced that a group from Gweru, The Travellers, was about to come on stage.
This reaction was not surprising considering that the majority of the crowd was probably hearing about this group for the first time.
However, the group made a good entrance as they sampled the instrumental for Drake’s “Hotline Bling” while doing their sound check, playing the beat with such finesse that immediately got the attention of the urbanite gathering.
After making sure that all systems were in order, they got right into it, giving music fans a taste of their compositions with a song titled “Mari Dang”, which got people hooked in an instant.
This was Afro-fusion at its finest, with the group moving in the same vein as the internationally acclaimed Mokoomba.
While their original songs were brilliant and got the crowd moving, the renditions they performed were even more effective as the crowd found its voice and started singing along.
Popular numbers that include Bob Marley’s “Iron Lion Zion”, Thomas Mapfumo’s “Nyoka Musango” and Distruction Boyz’s “Omunye”, to name just a few, were given a mesmeric twist.
The set was flawless and by the time the group left the stage, it was clear that these guys had stolen the show on the day.
The Sunday Mail Society caught up with band leader Tafadzwa Mapaso.
Formed in 2015, the six-member group is made up of Mapaso, the lead guitarist; his twin brother Tatenda Mapaso, who plays the saxophone; Abel Munongi on the keyboard, Nicholas Dlodlo the percussionist, Liberty Chinouri on the bass guitar and Osborne Macheni the drummer.
“We are all from Gweru but the idea to form the band came up while we were still at college in Harare. My twin brother Tafadzwa and I were studying at the Zimbabwe College of Music and we linked up with other talented individuals who were studying at Music Crossroads Academy and since we shared the same passion for music, a relationship was built,” said Mapaso.
While these talented artistes started off as session instrumentalists for the likes of Selmor Mtukudzi and The Movement, they later on decided to form their own band, thus the creation of The Travellers.
“We always liked travelling as a group before we formed our band and since we have a vision to travel around the world entertaining people and venture into world’s biggest festivals, we ended up settling for The Travellers as the group’s name.
“When we started, the first event we had a chance to perform at was a wedding where we managed to impress the guests and from then we started getting calls from people who wanted us to perform at their events,” he said.
While they are having a good run with corporate events, weddings and parties, they have also been able to grace numerous high-profile events, including the Loveworld Festival of Music and Arts in South Africa, the Harare International Festival of the Arts, Miombo Festival and Shoko Festival, among others.
They have even earned a permanent slot at every event that is hosted by Megafest Holdings.
Last year, they battled it out with many other talented bands from around country and came out tops in the Chibuku Road to Fame Finals where they walked away with US$7 000 and a recording contract which they have already taken advantage of.
“We wanted to see how competitive our group was against other upcoming acts so basically the Chibuku Road to Fame gig was the perfect platform for us to assess ourselves. While we believed in ourselves, we did not picture grabbing the ultimate prize, but we did and this gave us the motivation to continue perfecting our act.
“We are almost done with our first album which will be coming out at the end of June and what I can tell you is that this is something to look out for.”
Drawing their inspiration from Mokoomba, the band is determined to scale greater heights in their craft and if their performances are anything to go by, they seem to be on the right path.
“Our mission is to produce music which will cut across all age groups and inspire everyone with professionalism, teamwork and excellence being our driving force,” said Mapaso.