Contemporary jazz musician, Mackenzie “Kendyman” Mwase will on Wednesday launch his debut album titled Punha at the City Sports Bar in Harare.
BY TAWANDA TADERERA
Speaking to The Standard Style last week, Kendyman said the album had six tracks and the seventh was a bonus, which is an instrumental of one of the songs titled Dzoka.
Kendyman said punha was a Shona word that means to despise someone for something they are doing.
“In the community that I grew up in, if people wanted to despise someone or to look down upon anyone, they would call that person punha, meaning someone of no value, or just to belittle others,” he said.
Born 36 years ago in Chinhoyi to a Zambian mother and a Tanzanian father, Kendyman went to school in Chinhoyi before he enrolled at Mutare Polytechnic for a music programme. He got the nickname Kendyman while at the institution.
“Yes, people used to spend their spare time with me because of my sense of humour. So, fellow students would battle to sit with me at the backseat of the school bus whenever we were going for music trips. They would say we want to sit with the Kendyman but they took it from Mackenzie,” he said.
His musical traits can be traced back to the time when he was in a school music group while at primary school. He said the school head dicovered his talent and “forced” him to join the school choir.
“I hated it when the headmaster Mr Sunday would tell me not to go home and attend a choir practice session,” he said.
“Our school choir came third in the Mashonaland West competitions of the new national anthem Simudzai Mureza from Ishe Komborera Africa in 1991.”
Kendyman said music became his passion after he had initially tried soccer in Mhangura. He said he was a very good goalkeeper that every team would fight for, but unfortunately, he suffered a knee injury.
He said he started composing music from any sound that would have passed through his ears, like the noise of an aeroplane, and he would make makeshift guitars together with his friends and play their own tunes, pretending they were artists playing before a crowd.
“I am bringing something new to the music industry. I can say for now it’s contemporary jazz, but I have managed to fuse our traditional instruments like marimba, mbira, hosho and drums and I am calling this Kobiri music,” he said.
Kendyman said that kobiri was a word his parents used whenever they described money, the economy, or livelihood of mankind.
“My music is all about reconciliation as it thrives to bring broken families together. I feel like when there is no money or kobiri, there are lots of broken homes and families. If you listen to my music, you will find out that I am giving hope to all those who are separated because of money,” he said.
Kendyman released a single titled Kobiri early this year and has been working on the album ever since.
He says he draws inspiration from musical greats such as Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo, Ephat Mujuru, Ephraim Joe, Oliver Mtukudzi and Bob Marley.
“I have people who give me advice. I have worked with a number of artists who include Nandi, who also provides the backing vocals on this album, producer Mabasa Bazuka who is based in Australia, Kireni Zulu, Peter Moyo, Dino Mudondo, Virimai Nhedenga and Dziva Rembira,” he said.
In 2003, Kendyman worked with Dzimbahwe — a mbira ensemble based in Mutare — where he was a backing vocalist and percussionist.
“I would like to say to the music lovers in Zimbabwe and the world, come and witness the birth of something new, unique and different,” he said.
“I have a lot of work to do on my brand that I have brought in this music industry to perfect it and put it on the world standards and as I work, I need to be an example of quality in our lovely country Zimbabwe.”