The Big Meet: Oliver Mtukudzi & Sulu Chimbetu shaking it up at Book Café

TWO of Zimbabwe’s ‘BIG FIVE’ crowd-pullers - Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi & Sulumani ‘Sulu’ Chimbetu – have a big ‘meet’ with a joint show at the new Book Café on Monday 30 April, the eve of Workers Day celebrations, bringing to their fans a kaleidoscope of home-grown music, up close and personal in the fresh new venue at 139 Samora Machel/6th St.

Mtukudzi and Sulumani Chimbetu
Mtukudzi and Sulumani Chimbetu

It is Tuku’s debut at the popular arts hub which relocated and re-opened in March, but not the first collaboration between the two award-winning artists. Tuku recorded on Sulu’s song ‘Kwedu’ in 2010, sharing a verse, and they have done on-stage collaborations ‘here and there’. But there will be a surprise in store Monday 30, with Tuku in a Solo groove, and Sulu with his backing band, and the resulting synergies between them.

Tuku is hot from the studio, having just finished recording his 61st album ‘Sarawoga’. Sixty-One!

Between his busy local and international schedule, he enjoys working with young artists like Sulumani, against the background of his own arts centre Pakare Paye in Norton which has seen the emergence of good artists recently. Pakare Paye is currently working on the musical ‘Masanga Bodo’ written and directed by Tuku, which is already in rehearsal with a cast of 25 – hot young upcoming talent from Pakare Paye. The musical stresses his belief that in life there is nothing that comes as a coincidence, everything is planned, a way of life, or fate. The superstar celebrates his 60th birthday this September.

Tuku travels again later in the year, headed for to UK, Canada, USA, also to SA, Botswana, and lots of shows in Zim.

Sulu is pulling crowds all over Zimbabwe, and performs at the Book Café for the second time since its re-opening, bringing him into the centre of the city, right into the arts hub of the capital, and within easy reach for his fans, who will be delighted to catch their man in this exciting up-close double bill.

Sulu’s slick, non-stop danceable groove and simple but memorable lyrics, with musicians and backing vocalists resplendent in eye-catching stage gear has proved an evergreen musical force in recent years. Sulu, with his easy going stage persona, sings and belts out his latest dance moves, but when the young man gets in the mood and picks up his guitar, the fireworks begin.

A fine guitarist and composer with unstoppable rhythm, he could perhaps focus more on his instrumental side. A guitar duet with Tuku and Sulu getting to the heart of the matter would really whet musical appetites. Musically, Sulu Chimbetu represents an interesting fusion of African influences.

It will be interesting to see how his career develops in the long term. While guitar-driven Zimbabwe beats sit at the core of his sound, reminiscent at times of the great Devera Ngwena, one feels the influence of Congolese “show-time” rumba that has a long crossover history in Zimbabwe and also some interesting East African influences. Sulu is at an important stage in his young career. He is one of those with a “large canvass” of musical ideas that may bring him the regional and African acclaim his music deserves, following his stunning local successes.

Catch Tuku and Sulu shaking it up at Book Café!

Pamberi Trust @ Book Café

April 2012

Post published in: Arts
  1. Tawanda

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