Friday 19 October 2012

John Chibadura's sons fail to keep dad's legacy alive

John Chibadura - his legacy is dying
Most children of musicians who are not doing well never had the opportunity of playing alongside their fathers or even knew in detail how good their parents were. John Chibadura’s sons Knowledge (29), Simba (27) and Richard (34) fit into this category.

One Monday morning in 2006, John Chibadura’s sons -Knowledge (29) and Simba (27) - came to meet me.

They parked their bartered pick-up truck along Second Street close to the Africa Unity Square water fountain opposite Herald House.

I had only heard about them and their efforts of reclaiming their father’s legacy. They looked of the same age.

Everything about them was rustic. They were dusty and unkempt. 

When they sat before me, I did not smell any success although they were upbeat about reviving their father’s music career and take it even further.

I could not tell which one was Knowledge or which one was Simba as they took turns to convince me that they, indeed, were out for good.

They were holding shows especially in Domboshawa, both chorused. And, they both added, had two shows during the weekend.

I asked them about instruments and transport because I knew that their father had lost everything before his death and that he would spend days sitting at Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC) in Masasa waiting for the company to feel sorry for him.

It was then that one of them stood up, walked over to the window (my desk overlooked Africa Unity Square and Second Street) and showed me the pick-up truck that was overladen with musical equipment.

It was an old dusty truck that had seen some days by look of it. I could see from the third floor window the people packed at the back like sardines. I also saw three other people sitting at the driver’s side.

My heart sank. I knew they were hopefuls but very few promoters care about musicians like John Chibadura. 

Without any funding, there was no way these kids could make it. Worse, they had grown up when their father had long been popular. They real never had a chance like Suluman Chimbetu, to learn the ropes under their father’s guidance.

They also never took the opportunity to learn from the only other man, Roderick Chomudhara, who played with and for their father and led the Tembo Brothers when Chibadura passed away in 1999. 

When their father died and lost his Chitungwiza house, the children — Richard, Knowledge, Simba, John Jnr, Munyaradzi and Melissa — went to stay with their mother in Domboshawa.

Chomudhara says he owed his music achievements to Chibadura and he admitted it saying: “Chibadura showed me direction and I learnt a lot about music from him because of his vast experience. 

“He was one of the best musicians that Zimbabwe has ever had and naturally one wanted to follow in his footsteps.” 

Chomudhara was lured by Chibadura to join the Tembo Brothers from Dombo Stars.

“I had my own group, Dombo Stars, in Domboshawa, which I fronted from 1989 to 1992 before Chibadura spotted me and asked me to join his group, the Tembo Brothers, in 1994.

“I played the bass guitar on albums like Vengai Zvenyu, Mutumwa, Zuva Guru, Kukura Kurerwa, Nguva Yakaoma and Pfuma Yenhaka. 

“I also understand that the Zimbabwe Music Corporation were supposed to release another album in 1997 but I don’t know what happened to it because it has never seen the light of day since then,” Chomudhara said.

The brothers have released three albums with ZMC but all did not make any visible dents. They have blamed ZMC for poor marketing. 

In 2007, the three of them with Richard (34), said they had recorded a DVD featuring six of their father’s songs as well as their three songs with ZMC.

In August 2011, a gig was held in honour of their father but to help the sons off their feet.

In March 2012, the brother left ZMC and below is the story that appeared in Newsday.

Chibadura brothers ditch ZMC

Chibadura Brothers, a group that comprises of sons of the late popular musician John Chibadura, have parted ways with Zimbabwe Music Corporation (ZMC) after their latest album titled Inguva got deleted from the stable’s computer systems.

Sometime in February last year, the brothers under the leadership of Simba and Knowledge were told their album had disappeared and the only solution was to rerecord. But the brothers never got the chance to return to the studio as it was said to be “too busy”.

This didn’t go down well with the brothers currently hunting for a recording studio where they are set to rerecord the six-track album.

Since the death of their father John Nyamukoko (Chibadura) in 1999, the brothers have released three albums, the last in 2005.

The last two albums had little impact on the market despite the brothers keeping to their father’s music, still popular in the country, and this had forced their departure from ZMC.

They returned to the studio in February last year and were dismayed when they received news their album, almost complete, had been deleted from the computer. Simba Chibadura confirmed the group was seeking a new recording stable.

“It was last year when we were told by the producer Dumisani Sibanda our music had disappeared from the computer,” said Simba.

“The album was almost ready and only vocals were due for recording, but we suffered a setback. Even up to now it’s still unbelievable.

“We were told to rerecord, but since last year nothing has happened. And this is the reason why we are leaving ZMC.

“We are just waiting for the transfer letter from ZMC.” Concerning their last three albums, Simba said ZMC failed to market and distribute them.

“All the albums we recorded with ZMC were never found in retail shops and again the studio still prefers cassettes in this era instead of CDs.”

Efforts to get a comment from the producer were fruitless as his mobile phone was not reachable.

In an interview, Emmanuel Vori, ZMC managing director, dismissed all claims: “I don’t know anything about that. Chibadura brothers never recorded here last year. Why don’t you bring the guys here and ask them in my presence?

“I am tired of you people from the Press. You always want stories to sell your papers!” 

This is not the first time musicians have dumped ZMC. Recently, Leonard Zhakata cancelled his contract with the recording studio after the later failed to release his album on time.

Currently, sungura musician Taruvinga Manjokoto, popularly known in music circles as Sugar Sugar, is reportedly at loggerheads with the recording stable for taking long to release his latest album. 

In August last year, Dendera maestro Tryson Chimbetu blasted the recording company and threatened to dump it, accusing it of not marketing his two albums, Marxist Revival and Bvamrod.

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