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The Black Spirits Band: The names today and yesterday

THE Black Spirits Band yesterday and today remains a uniquely gifted bunch of artists that has sustained Tuku Music for over three decades, helping usher Oliver Mtukudzi into the holy grail of the arts. Tuku pays tribute to the Who-is-Who of the Black Spirits Band from 1975 to date.

Report by tukumusik
Below, Tuku acknowledges the past and present Black Spirits artists who have made his music possible.

“It is quite obvious that every member of The Black Spirits Band, past and current, is unique in his and her own way and I truly believe God does not duplicate talent. All the guys I have played with had their own individual contributions to put into Tuku Music.

“I cannot be said to have mentored all those I have played with in the Black Spirits since 1975 because we are talking about talent here and not education. The education part only came when and where I would advise them on how the song would go but I am and was always open to their contributions when arranging music. I actually learnt a lot from all the band members.

“And above all I thank God for giving me time to have such a long history…I am humbled and most importantly I have been lucky to be able to share the stage with my children in the band (Selmor and Sam both recorded artists). Most of my peers of my time did not get that chance. The name Black Spirits was founded by Robert (Tuku’s late sibling who played keyboards in the band).

“When we left the Wagon Wheels, we thought we would continue using that name but the management of the old Wagon Wheels put together another band which they called by the same name and we thought the continued use of the name would confuse people so we decided to come up with our own name.

“I remember rehearsing at Mutanga Nite Club (Highfield – Harare) and the club wanted to know the name of our new band but there we were without a name and Robert came up there and then with a name. He said “hey guys, we are black and each one of us has his own spirits inspiring us to create music, so we are the Black Spirits”.

“No one challenged the name and it has stuck since then. I have not changed the name ever since because I believe and respect the spirits of those who combine individual talents to make my music possible,” says Mtukudzi.


The current line-up:
Oliver Mtukudzi (vocals and guitar)
Never Mpofu (bass)
Sam Mataure (drums)
Charles Chipanga (marimba)
Namatai Mudariki (hosho)
Vimbai Zimuto (mbira)


Names from the past starting with five members from the 1970s original Black Spirits:
Bartholomew Chirenda – late (guitar)
James Austin (drums)
Joseph Alpheus (bass)
Oliver Mtukudzi (vocals and guitar)
Robert Mtukudzi – late (keyboards)
Kenny Munemo (vocals)
Erik “Picky” Kasamba (percussion)
George Pada – late (saxophone)
Basil Phiri – late (saxophone)
Max Chimusoro (guitar)
Felix John (guitar)
Lazarus “J Bunga” Matchazile (vocals)
Mandla Mgabhi (percussion)
Moses Mulla Nyaruka (guitar)
Mwendi Chibindi – late (vocals and hosho)
Nicholas Kunaka – late (percussion)
Paul Hammer (fender, rhodes and piano)


Phinda Mtya (vocals)
Richard Matimba – late (keyboards)
Samuel Mutowa (percussion)
Steve Dyer (Soprano, saxophone and flute)
Suthukazi Arosi (vocals)
Themba Mkize (keyboard)
Thale Makhene (percussion)
Job Muteswa (drums)
Albert Kapondoro – late (bass)
Ashton Mutaviri (bass)
Dudu Ngobani (vocals)
Keith Farquharson (keyboards)
Kere Mapfumo (vocals)
Louis Mhlanga (guitar)
Peter Mtowa – late (sound)
Celia Ndlovu (vocals)
Florence Tinarwo (vocals)
George Phiri (vocals)
Herbie Tsoaeli (bass)
James Manyungwa (drums)
Japan Sidoyi (Hammond)
Clive Mutyasira (drums)
Kenny Neshamba (percussion and congos)
Merry Bell (vocals and hosho)
Namatai Mubariki (vocals)
Philani Dube — late (guitar)
Clive Mono Mukundu (first acoustic)
James Hambahamba (keyboard) Onai Mutizwa (mbira)
Sam Mtukudzi — late (acoustic and sax) .

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