Judging from Macheso’s performance at several shows attended by this writer, it seems the void left by the 42-year-old Yahweh, as Mumiriki is also known by a legion of his fans, is affecting Orchestra Mberikwazvo’s live performances.
The ailing guitarist is a hard act to emulate to say the least. Devine Muzenda, who replaced the former Chazezesa Challengers and Sungura Boys rhythm guitarist seems to be struggling to rise to the occasion.
During Mumiriki’s tenure the rhythm guitar was piercing and outstanding, affording the much needed cohesion with other guitars which seems be lacking in his successor.
Even Tafi Nyamunda who replaced the nomadic Zaka Zaka is reportedly also finding the going tough. Orchestra Mberikwazvo band manager, William Tsandukwa admittedly said Mumiriki should get well soon because the shoes he left are proving to be too big for his replacement.
“Though Muzenda and Nyamunda have for some time performed above expectation they are trying to fill the void left by their predecessors. In fact they are still learning the ropes of their respective demanding roles,” said Tsandukwa.
Tsandukwa likened the duo to soccer division one players who have just joined the top flight league whom he urged to settle down as quickly as possible if they are to make the grade in the Orchestra Mberikwazvo system.
“When players from the lower divisions are promoted into the elite league, usually they take time to settle down but to be honest with you the two lads have settled sooner than expected and you can hardly notice the absence of Lucky and Zaka Zaka,” added Tsandukwa.
However, Anita Gore of Highfield, a proud Macheso fan said the absence of Lucky is quite noticeable.
“During the good old days we used to enjoy his dazzling and sharp rhythm guitar which I think is lacking in the current set up. Things are not just the way they used to be,” said Anita.
Mumiriki, who joined Orchestra Mberikwazvo in 2002 is said to be slowly recovering at his Chitungwiza home, though his right hand which twangs the rhythm guitar remains partly frozen. He is hopeful for an imminent rebound in the not so distant future.