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FaraiToday Exclusive INTERVIEW with Oliver Mtukudzi before his “Dairai Believe” concert in Toronto, Canada Sunday, Nov 15th



Happy Saturday guys & dolls!

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So Oliver Mtukudzi landed in Toronto, Canada on Tuesday ahead of his concert in Toronto, Canada this coming Sunday, November 15th! “Wasara, wasara” I keep telling people [smile]…

So thanks to my Canadian peeps & uber fab go-getter, Patience [CEO of African Travel Expo] who is also the show promoter & responsible for bringing one Africa’s greatest musical icons, Oliver Mtukudzi to Toronto for connecting me with the legendary musician. Pat hooked up my interview with Oliver which took place this past Thursday. I had not spoken to Oliver in a while so I was geeked at the chance to catch up with him & get some scoop for his fans…

Oliver Mtukudzi, affectionately known as “Tuku” was very upbeat & excited about his show in Toronto this Sunday, tour in Europe and about life during our phone convo…check it out below!

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Tuku’s signature pose during his live performance!

One of Zimbabwe’s profilic and world renowned musician, Oliver Mtukudzi has been in the music business for over thirty years. His music, spanning over fifty albums, has touched people on all continents and from different generations. Tuku’s community activities in Zimbabwe, his international work on HIV and AIDS awareness to his support for the development of young artists are second only to his music…

FaraiToday: Oliver Mtukudzi, makorokoto, amhlophe, congratulations on your honorary degree from the Women’s University in Africa! How very exciting…

Tuku: Tose, tose. Tinondera! Thank you for your kind words! It was an honor to be recognized and very humbling to know that my work has had that much impact! I am very grateful to the Women’s University in Africa for conferring the degree!

(Tuku received an Honorary Masters of Arts degree from the Women’s University in Africa, as acknowledgment of his contribution to the arts and culture sector, locally and internationally.)

FaraiToday: This has been a tremendous year for you! You just flew into Toronto, Canada from San Diego in the U.S.A where you received a Cultural Ambassador Award sponsored by the Project Concern International. How do you feel with all these accolades & recognition!

Tuku: You know Farai as you live and do what you were purposed to do, you don’t necessarily realize the impact of your work on the lives of people or even the magnitude of the impact. I am so focused on doing what I really enjoy, which is making good music for people. So it is always a pleasure and a nice surprise when someone acknowledges your contribution to society. I really appreciate the gesture by Project Concern. Coming from Zimbabwe, it is confirmation that something good can, should and must come out of Zimbabwe!

FaraiToday: Absolutely! Good things have to come out of Zimbabwe! And you certainly have been an amazing Ambassador, not only for Zimbabwe but for Africa as well!

Tuku: Thank you! We are all Ambassadors of our country, of our continent no matter where you are. In the diaspora or on the ground. No matter the type of job or calling you have. You as an individual represent us all as an Ambassador and that is how the world gets to know us!

FaraiToday: Well Cultural Ambassador Tuku, you have touched down in Toronto, Canada for your “Dairai Believe” tour concert, what should your fans in Canada expect to see this Sunday at the Phoenix Concert Theatre?

Tuku: Well my dear, as always my fans should always expect my very best! I always tell people that I will bring the songs, the music but my fans and all those who come, make the show! They should bring their dancing shoes, bring family members, friends, neighbors because it is always a time for us to celebrate who we are, where we have come from and I believe where we are going as a people. There is always a wonderful chemistry with my fans because the relationship I believe I have with them is 2-way…I bring the best of my music & songs and they bring the best of themselves and together they can expect Sunday’s show to be spectacular! Come on over to the Phoenix Concert Theatre and see for yourself!

FaraiToday: Wasara, wasara! Right!

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FaraiToday: Tuku you continue to be a voice for so many! After over 46 album releases, you came out with the gem of an album in 2008 “Dairai Believe“. How different is this album from the many hit albums you have given to the world?

Tuku: Well Dairai is my Shona name and it means “believe or belief”. So I wanted to make an album to speak to the people [especially the people of Zimbabwe] about believing in themselves, believing in ourselves. I wanted to create an album that would tell the world who we really are, not what is necessarily portrayed in the media. I also used our traditional instruments Mbira and Maramba to drive that point of believing in ourselves, our aunthenticity as a people. I also wanted the younger musicians to believe in their musicianship and in our traditional instruments as integral to the genre of our music.

FaraiToday: I get it and how so relevant and so true that message of “believe or belief’ is especially NOW to the continent of Africa, to Zimbabwe, to my generation in this period in time…President Barack Obama’s campaign mantra was “the change we can BELIEVE in”. People of Zimbabwe and of Africa also desperately want to BELIEVE in themselves, in their countries & continent. We certainly want to believe that yes, we too can for ourselves, our families, our communities, our nations. We want to believe in better governance of our countries…

Tuku: That’s it! For me, the purpose of music is to give hope & life to the people. So through my music, through “Dairai Believe” I wanted to challenge people to believe in themselves despite the news or their surroundings. We should believe in ourselves and not somebody else out there somewhere! We are the captain of our country and we can make it out of the situation we find ourselves in. We cannot wait for someone else to enhance our lives, our countries. Only we can do that and we start by first believing in who we are!

FaraiToday: Preach!

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FaraiToday: Switching gears a little, two of your children, son Sam & daughter Selma have followed in your footsteps to become musicians. What has that been like for you?

Tuku: Oh Farai it is a blessing! I am so thankful to God to be able to share the stage with both my children at the same time. I have also shared the stage with them individually. You know other artists do not get the opportunity to share the gift of music with the world with their children but God sees it fit for me to do so with Sam and Selma. As an artist, I get to experience my children as rising artists themselves…that is a privilege and an honor that I am most thankful to God.

FaraiToday: Wonderful! I do not have any children myself but I do sense your pride of them. You do sound like a very proud papa! How would daddy musician expert describe their artistry?

Tuku: Well, Selma and Sam are two very different artists. They are both individuals and they approach music from their unique vantage point as different individuals. They are both contemporary but have a different appeal to their sound and music. I will say that in both Sam and Selma, there is the element of Tuku Music in their sound.

FaraiToday: So the Tuku Music legacy will go on through Selma and Sam….yayee!!! Yet of course, Tuku you are much loved and admired and have a tremendous worldwide following. Does the “Dairai Believe” tour signal retirement?

Tuku:[laughs] Retirement huh? Well Farai, as surprising as this might be, but I am yet to find out what I would like to be in life. I have been so busy being a musician, being music to so many, being who I am and retiring would mean that I would have to stop being who I am. So how can I stop being who I am? I cannot so therefore retirement does not apply to me.

FaraiToday: I love that! And Tuku we do not want you to stop being who you are! I also personally want to honor you for all that you have done and continue to do for Zimbabwe and for Africa. I think that for me the need to cherish all of you Cultural Ambassadors that work tirelessly got to me with the death of Brenda Fassie and Mama Africa, Mirriam Makeba…it has been a year since we lost Mama Africa [November 10th, 2008]. Any reflections of her?

Tuku: Yes, what an icon and an inspiration! We were scheduled to do a duet on a song I had written and composed. I had shared the song with her, which she loved and agreed to do a duet. So we were both waiting for a time to be in the same country, same city and studio together! We are/were both busy artists but the timing had to be right for the song. It was so sad to have lost her because she had given so much to the world through music. So there is a gap definitely and the song has not been completed because it was written specifically written for Mama Africa…

FaraiToday: Mmmhhh, I am sure the song is beautiful, Mama Africa was so graceful and a beautiful person! For me it reminds me to cherish my friends & family alot more! Talking about family, Tuku how is your family doing…

Tuku: Thank you, thank you for asking Farai. The family is doing very well. Our children are grown up now and have moved on to create their own homes, families, lives. So at times we find ourselves begging them to come home to visit! Sam is in Zimbabwe but busy with his band, so it is fun to be able to travel with him, which he is on this tour!

FaraiToday: Talking about the tour! How exciting to be on the road! Sunday, November 15th in Toronto Canada…

Tuku: [laughs] Yes it is a blessing! So this coming Sunday I am performing in Toronto at the Phoenix Concert Theatre! It would be lovely to see everybody come together to celebrate who we are! Then we fly to Europe for the European leg of the tour…

FaraiToday: Well Baba, thank you for your time! Good to hear your voice! God bless you as you travel and tour…

Tuku: Thank my dear! God bless you and remain well!

Olive Mtukudzi “Dairai Believe” Tour – Europe

THOMAS MAPFUMO and OLIVER MTUKUDZI Live in Concert [UK]
Friday, November 20, 2009
Venue: Athena, Leicester, LE1 1SR
Tickets: £25 Advance
Information: Call 011 44 75 0684 4143, 011 44 79 8556 8995 or 011 44 78 7719 6217
Online: CLICK HERE

OLIVER MTUKUDZI and MALAIKA Live in Concert [UK]
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Venue: Stratford Rex, London, E15 4QZ:
Tickets: £25 Advance
Information: 011 44 79 5075 9083, 011 44 77 8718 3098 or 011 44 20 8555 0044
Tickets Online: CLICK HERE

Wasara wasara!

Cheers,

Photo: John Leeson : http://www.to-music.ca

farai – who has written posts on Farai Today.


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