Sungura king Alick Macheso, who put up a spirited performance at the 21st February Movement gala at Chipinge Primary School last Saturday, said he was a bitter man. This, Macheso said, was because rhumba musician Energy Mutodi was out to destroy established and even upstarts, to satisfy his “boyish” ego.
Said Macheso: “To him this is a hobby, but to some of us it is life. That is why he is going about raiding every band in the country — he even tried to snatch my drummer.
“The guy’s appetite is insatiable, but you know what? Nyangwe Mutodi akanotora kuMadrid, kuManchester nekuChelsea akapinda muRufaro kunouya vanhu four chete, asi isu pedu pamabhuza paseri arimavhu nemarara. (Even if he gets the best musicians locally and abroad he will never match our standards).”
Macheso’s venom was directed at Mutodi, Shiga Shiga and Spencer Khumulani.
“These are the same people who stood in front of everyone at Tongai’s funeral and pledged to do everything in their power to assist young Peter, but less than six months after making those statements, they have already abandoned ship. Mutodi should be ashamed of himself,” said Macheso.
He added: “Chinondirwadza ndechekuti Dhewa akafira vanhu ava mhani (what pains me is that Dhewa sacrificed his life for these people). Instead of staying at home receiving better care from his wife while his friends helped where they could, Dhewa went from hospital to the stage and vice versa just to ensure that his band members fed their families, but now they desert his dream, it’s sad,” said a tearful Macheso.
Commenting on why he snubbed Mutodi on stage at the gala, Macheso said: “What would he need from me? He has Mjintu, Spencer, Shiga and a dozen girls — were there not like 40 people on stage? There was no room for me.”
On his own troubles with his band, Macheso said band members’ departures or arrivals did not change much within his band.
“What people don’t understand is that band members don’t create much and so their departure or arrival does not add or remove much value within a set-up, but in fact, it is the quality of the leader that determines the success of a group.
“We introduce them (band members) to the fans and if they decide to leave, we will just look for replacements and announce to the world that we now have fresh talent,” he said.
Added Macheso: “I’m an innate musician, whose life is solely dependent on music. It does not bother me even if I’m to lose the whole band, I only need about three months to groom raw individuals from any part of the country that includes places like Dotito, Jerera, Mukumbura, Zaka, Gwai and Tsholotsho and still come up with a winning team.
“Look what Peter did today — now it’s clear that even if they all go, as long as the young man is alive and healthy, Utakataka will continue to sail.”
The sungura music legend said music was to him what water is to a fish and a mountain is to a monkey.
“When it comes to this trade (music), I’m like a fish in water or a monkey in a mountain. If you understand the philosophy, you definitely will understand what guitars are like to me,” he said.
Macheso said it was not going to be long before music pretenders are wiped off the picture. Mutodi, however, hit back at Macheso’s sentiments, saying just like people in other sectors, band leaders were free to employ any musicians and dancers they felt added value to their ensembles.
“Band members move all the time. This is not something that has been brought about by Mutodi — it’s only that we are doing it differently because we have the money to assemble a team that we want.
“Now that we have Mjintu in our team I feel that we finally have a winning team. Let those who talk do so because we are planners and by the time they wake up we will be the best band in the country,” declared Mutodi.
Shiga, who was once quoted as saying he would not continue to “Zora Butter on stage while my children don’t have butter to put on their bread”, said he was shocked by Macheso’s sentiments, especially considering that Macheso himself left Nicholas Zakaria’s Khiama Boys to form his own band.
“Macheso had to leave Madzibaba Zacharia to form his own band while Suluman Chimbetu had to split with his own blood (Allan). But when we do the same, it is now a crime. We left because we realised that Peter (Moyo) was now able to hold his own and lead the band, otherwise, we would not have left,” fumed Shiga.