BY GILBERT MUNETSI
Hand-picked to the throne by his uncle Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo as the future custodian of Chimurenga music, Kurai Makore (pictured) has vowed not to disappoint. His soon-to-be-released album speaks volumes about a young musician with great potential, who is committed to uphold the family legacy built over half a century.
Makore has put together what qualifies as a defining piece of music to lay a rock-solid foundation for a musical career that will see him try and fit into Uncle Thomas’ big shoes, though he is quick to point out “it is a herculean task”, and that he is “not at all here to better or compete with my father”.
Makore’s father, the late Dominic Makore, and Mapfumo are blood brothers whose father was the late Tapfumanei Makore.
The 32-year-old leader of an ensemble trading as Black Lions effectively becomes the third member of the family to be involved in music after his other uncle, Lancelot, who plays congas (ngoma) for The Blacks Unlimited, and William, who at one time was manager for the band.
It is a fact that Makore is Mukanya’s preferred candidate who is eligible to sustain Chimurenga as the United States-based singer in an exclusive interview with Standard Style on his birthday last month spoke about his desire to personally assist his nephew with his career.
“He is extremely gifted and I now know I will retire peacefully with the full knowledge that my music, Chimurenga, is in safe hands,’’ Mukanya said then, as he also hinted at retirement.
With a personality of Mapfumo’s stature by his side, Makore has thus hit the ground running with the recent completion of an eight-track album titled Garaunzwe. Tracks on it are Africa, Chigamba, Gorekore, Chunika, Hondo, Nhamo Yekuzvipa, Ndee and Mutserendende.
According to him, a launch ceremony is on the cards in September though social media visitors may already have had an appreciation of the music through online performances done so far.
Mukanya put his hand to one of the tracks making up this production.
Standard Style recently caught up with Makore, who, fresh from having held a Simon Chimbetu commemorative gig with Sulumani and the Chimbetu clan, was already busy with rehearsals for forthcoming assignments.
Live-streamed on Ngoda TV, the musical get-together to remember “The Master of Song”, as Chopper was also affectionately known, featured the Chimbetu quintet of Allan, Douglas, Saiwe, Tryson and Sulu, as well as outsiders Ammie Jamanda and Obert Chari of Mebo fame. Prior to that and jointly with Sulu, Makore celebrated Mukanya’s 75th birthday via an online performance also on Ngoda TV.
And before the outbreak of Covid-19, Makore had the opportunity to play live at popular venues, including Mushandirapamwe Hotel, Extra Mile, Gava Restaurant, Chinhoyi Hotel and Jameson Hotel.
Born in Highfield in 1988, Makore was unfortunate to lose both parents at a young age. His mother passed on when he was 12, while his father’s death came five years later. But the musical seed had already been sown in a juvenile Makore because his father’s preferred pastime was playing Chimurenga.
“From David Livingstone Junior School, I then migrated to Guruve for my secondary school education at St Philips Mangwenya, and it was there that I used to attend traditional ceremonies where traditional music was the highlight,” Makore told Standard Style.
“Even back then, I had been inspired tremendously by Uncle Thomas’s Chimurenga music, and was mooting ways by which I could integrate it into this music we played at those ceremonies. You could say that Dr Mapfumo is my role model. He inspired me all through my infant musical career and continues to nurture me as his son.
“But I will hasten to mention that his shoes are too big for anyone to fit. Kuedza kudaro kwakafanana nekuda kubvisa nzou muroad. Just being humble and listening to his advice is the way to go because imagining I will dethrone him is simply folly.
“Summarily, I am here to save Chimurenga music until such time I am a polished Chimurenga artiste under his wise counsel.” He also paid tribute to his manager Lucky Muzava for his role in moulding him.
Asked about what he desires to have achieved within the next couple of years, Makore said: “My workplan is in God’s hands… I just aspire to go miles with this musical career. Tozviisa kuna Mwari nemidzimu, ndivo vanochengeta nekutipa gwara rekwatakananga.”
On whether he would also tow the political commentary line that his uncle is known to do, Makore was reticent with regard to that position.
“That’s Dr Mapfumo for you… he says what he wants when he wants. Why? Because he was there in the struggle for this country and was at one time incarcerated by the Smith regime for that role,” he said.
“I’m a musician who sings about social life, love and bringing the people together. I just love seeing people being happy and satisfied.”
There are numerous sons and daughters of legends who have tried their hand at their parents’ line of work. However, the majority have fallen by the wayside.
The reason attributable to their dismal pursuit of inherited career may include never having had the chance to be personally groomed by their seniors.
However, Makore, like the late Sam Mtukudzi, banks on the fact that “dad” is there to teach him walk. And, perchance, Mapfumo will one day be able to look back, beat his chest and say to himself: “I did well and my efforts were worth all the price.”