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Royal Court on revival mission

Could local rhumba be on the road to revival?


This is the question one may ask after the birth of a new rhumba outfit, Royal Court La Musica.

Led by one of the most experienced Congolese rhumba artistes, Ruffa Sulutani, Royal Court is aiming at revitalising the genre that once became the in-thing of Zimbabwean music culture.

The band, which is just over a year old, has been running on overdrive, perfecting their act as they start to hold shows around the country.

According to Sulutani, the group is trying to bring back the popularity of rhumba.

“Rhumba’s popularity has gone down in the country, but the sound we are bringing back for the rhumba lovers is unmistakable,” he said.

“First, we need to make sure we are on top of our game on a national level, before we head to the international market. We must make sure that the fans are satisfied by what they [have] missed for so long.”

Sulutani (chief in Swahili), who views himself as an icon of local rhumba, first came to Zimbabwe in 1986 before leaving for greener pastures in 2005.
He returned about two months ago.

The band was formed by rhumba fanatic, Josiah Chinherende, who later asked Sulutani to take the leading role.

Chinherende, a mining consultant, said he had been hurt by the demise of the genre in the country.

“I grew up listening to rhumba music, which was played by the likes of the late Pepe Kale. Although I am not a musician, I felt I could use the resources at my disposal to revive the music,” said Chinherende.

“I also realised that this was a way of providing employment for those who are talented.”

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