“When I grew up I never had a chance to hold a guitar. I knew I had the talent to sing but I had no resources. Becoming an artist was just wishful thinking,” said Jumo.
At the age of 36, Jumo has become a beacon of hope for young artists who want to make it in the entertainment industry, thanks to the Chipo Ndechangu Arts Academy flagship.
“I worked hard to put together a humble studio at the Mbizo Youth Centre, courtesy of the city council which allowed me to use one of their rooms a couple of years back. That was when I identified students at Manunure High School in the city’s high density surbub of Mbizo and mentored them until we recorded a compilation album.”
The album recorded in 2005 and was an instant hit. It was a mixture of genres, including urban grooves, reggae, R&B and hip hop. It drew a large following of fans from the city of Kwekwe and beyond.
The idea behind the project caught the interest of the city fathers. They responded by appointing Jumo to identify talented youths in music and help them pursue their dreams.
The Culture Fund programme helped to fund Jumo’s project in 2007 by awarding his group resources under the Performing Arts segment. Then a major setback struck in 2008 when thieves broke into the Youth Centre and stole all of the musical instruments. Not one to be beaten, Jumo sourced a contingent of instruments from outside the country. His new recording studio, located at the city Theatre, is one of the biggest in the country.
“The idea I always had has not changed. I identify youths from surrounding schools and communities then bring them to the studio. I improve their talents in rigorous mentorship, record their works and if they feel they have gained the capacity, release them. All this is done for free. That is my commitment.”
One of the impressive products to pass through Jumo’s project is Telson Migi. The young man has since assembled a Jazz band – The Bliss. The group now boasts a broad fan base and is preparing to launch its debut album to be titled ‘My Joy’.
Other artists to pass through Jumo’s progammes include vocalists Eveline Phiri and Tinashe Mezerengwa, bassist and keyboard player Munyaradzi Katemanyoka and drummer Prince Kapatsa.
“Our artists are also being hired at church crusades or as session musicians by other bands. All of the groups that performed at the 2011 Chibuku Road to Fame music competitions, Midlands Finals, also had at least one artist who passed through our academy,” said Jumo.
The local community radio initiative, Kwekwe FM, which is still fighting to get a broadcasting license, gave Jumo a special award for 2011. During citations, the executive of Kwekwe FM led by Joseph Mututi noted that Jumo had surpassed all residents of the city in “identifying and nurturing new talent”.
Jumo’s own band, Steelthrob, is well known in the city. He plays reggae and jazz music, a fusion better known as REAZZ. In 2004 he released a tribute to swimming heroine Kirsty Coventry.Post published in: Entertainment