Oliver Mtukudzi’s mark on shaping African music won’t be erased

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The late Oliver Mtukudzi left his mark on African music
The late Oliver Mtukudzi left his mark on African music

It’s never a pleasant season when a music icon, who blended his way to be an influential figure in the society dies, anywhere in the world. On Wednesday, the news of the demise of Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi sent sad waves throughout he world, and his memory and the mark on music that he has left behind won’t be erased. The Zimbabwean Musician born September 22, 1952 in Highfield, Harare, passed on at the Avenues hospital in Harare. The sudden death of the jazz legend shocked many including his huge fans who enjoyed his genre of music. Tuku’s cause of death was not immediately revealed but later was said that “Tuku” succumbed to Diabetes. Musicians across Africa mourned the Jazz legend who described him as an I icon who has left a mark in the music industry in Africa and beyond. Suzanna Owiyo a Kenyan afrofusion musician went on to share on social media her last conversation with “Tuku”. Tuku checked on Owiyo through WhatsApp to find out if she was safe during the #DusitHotelAttack.  Suzanna Owiyo shared a stage with Mtukudzi  and performed the song ‘Kisumu 100 in January 2017 in Kisumu.

Oliver sang in his nation’s dominant Shona language along with Ndebele and English. Blessed with a deep, squally voice and a talent for writing songs that reflected on the daily life and struggles of the people of his homeland, Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi has been one of Zimbabwe’s greatest artists.

His blending of Southern African music traditions, including mbira, mbaqanga, jit, and the traditional drumming styles of the Korekore, created such a unique sound that gained respect across the world.

His debut solo album, Africa, included two hits: “Zimbabwe” and “Mazongonyedze.” Mtukudzi consistently balanced his musical career with his passion for film and drama. In addition to appearing in several documentaries on Zimbabwean music, including the BBC-produced Under African Skies and The Soul of the Mbira, he starred in Jit, the first film featuring an all-Zimbabwean cast. He also played a prominent role in, as well as composed and arranged the soundtrack for, Zimbabwe’s second film, Neria. His work earned him a M’Net award for Best Soundtrack of 1992. The late Mtukudzi subsequently wrote and directed the musical production Was My Child (Plight of Street Children). With the accompaniment of the Black Spirits or the 12-piece supergroup Mahube, Mtukuduzi continued to tour and  made recordings. Due to his sudden death many people across the world many of them being his music fans have continued to share their tributes on social media to date.