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Katiji set for greater heights

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It’s not always that people get breakthroughs on their first attempt at anything but afro-traditional music artiste Edith Katiji (EK) is set for greater heights, following the release of her debut album titled Edith WeUtonga.

A graduate from Amakosi Theatre School in Bulawayo, Katiji “migrated” to Harare after Tanga Wekwa Sando spotted her talent. He immediately requested that she become his backing vocalist.

She decided to form her own band later and started an all-female-frontline band that includes her younger sister, Fatima Katiji, Tariro Ruzvidzo and Rumbidzai Tapfuma.

The band has two males, Shingai Jero and Aaron Gambila, who play the keyboards and drums respectively.

NewsDay (ND) recently caught up with the amicable, down-to-earth, bass guitar player-cum-vocalist and this is what she had to say:

TS: When did you officially form your female-dominated band?

EK: I formed the group in 2008 and at that time it was called So What? Things were so difficult then that the group disintegrated and some members left for other countries and now I have reformed it to Edith WeUtonga.

TS: Why the name change?

EK: In 2008 I was involved in a near-fatal car crash, which is the reason why I have the scar on the left side of my mouth. I was in a coma for more than a week and at that time I was pregnant but somehow I made it so it changed my life completely, even my music, so utonga means “break of dawn”.

TS: How would you describe your debut album?

EK: All I can say is it was inspired by personal, real-life situations, especially the accident,which changed so much about me and got me to really appreciate the gift of life.

TS: What is your experience as a married woman who has decided to be into music and the band on a full-time basis?

EK: Well, first I must say I am blessed to have my husband as my manager, as he is also into the arts industry full time. This man has stood by me during the toughest of times.

TS: How did your parents and in-laws react to your decision?

EK: At first my mother suggested I get a formal job but it did not take both my parents long to understand and accept that I wanted to be a musician, thus they encourage me, help me with my outfits and even attend my shows. It was very difficult for my mother in-law to understand that but now she has begun to tolerate it and has made it clear that she loves my music, so I consider that a good start.

TS: How do you balance being a wife, mother of two and your band?

EK: I’ve made sure that every Sunday we have family time. Either we stay indoors together, or go swimming but whatever it is, we’ll be together. I’m also planning to put my sons in my next album so they’ll be involved full time. I’m blessed with my husband because he certainly supports me as his wife and as a musician and I rehearse with the band two to three times a week.

TS: How is it to be managed by your own husband?

EK: It’s fine because we’ve been able to draw the lines on whether we’re at work or at home. I respect his opinions on my music because he’s been in the industry long enough and he’d never throw me to the dogs.

TS: Who is your role model in music?

EK: Thomas Mapfumo, which is why I sing traditional music, although it’s the new generation traditional type.

TS: Are you planning on another offering anytime soon?

EK: Yes, I have already started working on my next album, although it will take a while to release because I want to strive for perfection.
Tonight I am doing a show to commemorate the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Against Women and that’s another offering to my fans.

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