Barura Express frontman Tendai Dembo seems to have struck the right chord after he managed to resurrect his father’s famous Barura music.
By Staff Reporter
When Tendai’s father Leonard “Musorowenyoka” Dembo died on April 7 1997, many feared his music would die with him. The late Dembo was a legend in his own right and his music endeared him with people from various cultural backgrounds.
He died after composing 15 albums and several singles, which included Chitekete, an album that was released in 1991 and sold 100 000 copies — a feat that had been reached by Devera Ngwena Jazz Band. The 17-minute-long song was also played at the Miss Universe pageant held in Namibia in 1996.
Born Kwangwari Gwaendepi on February 9 1959 in Chivi, Masvingo, Dembo died before he reached his zenith.
Now his mantle has been taken up by his son Tendai, who was seven years old when his father died.
“Initially, it was difficult to step into my father’s shoes because he had set a bar too high for us. However, because I wanted to keep the Barura Express legacy alive, I took the bull by the horns,” said Tendai in an interview with The Standard Style.
Tendai and his brother Morgan have joined hands to resuscitate their father’s music with support from a vibrant management team. The group believes the two brothers have what it takes to surpass their father.
“We are no longer an upcoming music group. Barura Express is among the big boys of Zimbabwean music,” said Barura Express operations manager Wellington Mupandare.
“The Barura Express brand is here to stay. The band is now at a level where they can perform anywhere and anytime.”
Mupandare said Tendai had managed to fill in the gap that was left by his father, as evidenced by fans’ response at live shows.
“Most people are surprised that there is someone who can sing and play the guitar exactly the same way the late Dembo did. Tendai’s performance has been remarkable and if he maintains this kind of spirit, I see Barura Express getting back to where it was during Dembo’s days,” Mupandare said.
Barura Express will release their new album in October and Mupandare attributed the delay to a number of issues, the major one being piracy.
“The album is coming. We are polishing and working on the final touches. However, we cannot rush to release it before we strategise to curb piracy,” Mupandare said.
“Tendai is sampling some of the songs from the forthcoming album during shows and it seems people like them.”
Mupandare said Barura Express’ last album Kupa Kwashe was well-received, but they were let down by piracy and lack of aggressive marketing.
Barura Express, who have been to every corner of the country, have a permanent slot at Dandaro Inn where they perform every Thursday and the band’s management wants to thank Patson Chipaz Chimbodza, the owner of the joint for that.
“We thank Chipaz and other promoters and club owners like Biggie Chinoperekwi, Marondera’s Daniel Masaiti, Mudhara Mhizha of Budiriro, Josh Hozheri and Manucho from Zindoga who have stood by us, especially promoting the Barura Express brand,” said Mupandare.