By Admire Jamu-Mlambo
The forgotten Wellington Mareva and Mupandawana Knight Riders are set to bounce back into the sungura music circles after a 17-year break with their sixth album Kuchema Sehanga set to be released in this first quarter of the year.
Mareva (49) vanished from the musical showbiz after releasing his fifth album Munotii Neidzi/Lithini Ngalezi in 2003.
Speaking to Standard Style, the Mupandawana Knight Riders front man said: “There are quite a number of reasons for taking a break from music, among them that I do not rely on music for survival. I was working elsewhere and I decided to dedicate most of my time to work. I was posted out of the country (on a United Nations peacekeeping mission), hence I couldn’t find people who could play my genre (sungura) in the Diaspora.”
“Secondly, the music industry was invaded by music pirators and politics was too much. That was the time when former Information minister Jonathan Moyo made a lot of changes in the broadcasting sector. Those new changes affected established artistes seriously and, above all, I play music for passion,” he said.
The Portia hitmaker, who hails from Nyazvidzi small-scale farms in Gutu, bemoaned the pathetic state of the music industry which has been neglected.
“Since the days when I left the music industry way back in 2003, nothing much has changed musically because the industry has been run down. We tried to form some unions that we thought would help artistes to air out their grievances to the powers-that-be, but most unfortunately, artistes are not taken seriously in Zimbabwe,” Mareva said.
Mareva added: “Union or no union, artistes are left to face starvation. I am the chairperson of one of the music unions, Creative Arts Union, and the founder of the Coalition of Zimbabwean Artistes. We ended up advising our fellow musicians to diversify because waiting for the industry to get back to normal would take ages. As of now, I am recording music out of interest and relevance’s sake.”
Mupandawana Knight Riders was formed in 1997 and to date Mareva has five albums under his belt which include Vabereki Vanokosha (1998), Zvouchenjeri (2000), Farai Neidzi (2001), Hatidududzi (2002) and Munotii Neidzi/Lithini Ngalezi (2003) including two singles namely Upenyu Chii and Akandinyepera.
Currently the band is composed of Mareva (drums and lead vocals), Simbarashe Chitetere and John Manyozo Maburutse (lead), Diesel Power (rhythm), Gilbert Wonder, Onisimo Hwekwete and Weston Chimbudzi (bass), and Hwekwete (backing vocals).