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Mbira maestro Mafika back in town

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Talented Zimbabwean mbira player Takunda Mafika(TM) is currently in Zimbabwe from a tour in Namibia where he shared the stage with music giants from around the continent.

A couple of months back, the musician was in Berlin, Germany, for a week of seminars and workshops under the North-South Aspnet Unesco programme.

Mafika, who had an interview with NewsDay reporter Pride Gonde (ND), was chosen in recognition of his efforts in promoting culture and performing arts education in Zimbabwean schools through the Mbira Schools Connect project which he heads.

ND: Who is Takunda Mafika?

TM: I was born in Chivhu at a farm and only came to the city three years ago and am working in the music and arts industry.

ND: I have listened to your music but I avoided categorising it.

TM: My music is jazz but with a flavour of mbira, so I would prefer to call it mbira jazz.

ND: You are new in the industry but you have already made a name globally, how did you do it?

TM: Out of all things, networking with people abroad has actually helped me to be famous and I have toured Europe as well as most parts of Africa, where we sang and attended music and arts workshops.

ND: I understand you have worked with big names in the music industry. What is the experience like?

TM: I have worked with the late Sam Mtukudzi, Alexio, Wilom Tight, Sebede, Virginia Phiri, Tumbuka, Jibilika and Mono Mkundu and several artists from Europe.

ND: Don’t you think that Zimbabweans also want to listen to your music ever since you have been exposed to Europe and other continents?

TM: Yes, I have not done a lot for my native people and I am struggling to look for someone who can do the bookings for me because at the moment I have an international manager so I should be looking for a local manager as well to cater for the people of Zimbabwe because I spent most of my time teaching music at Roosevelt Girls’ High.

ND: So besides music what else are you doing for a living?

TM: Everything I am doing at the moment involves music because I am the country’s co-ordinator for Solarnet International which works with young people in learning and implementing projects for arts and culture and I am working with Unesco using my music as a tool to educate the communities.

ND: Can you tell the nation about your tour to Europe in November?

TM: It was a German international programme called Welt Weit Klange (Worldwide Sounds) where we toured Macerate and Rome in Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Netherlands and other German cities where I was representing Africa and our traditional music.

ND: You have one album at the moment. How did you come up with it?

TM: The late Sam Mtukudzi, Alexio, Willom Tight and Carmen Hwarari, a lady from Midlands State University, helped me on the project which was also produced by one of the best guitarists in the country, Clive “Mono” Mukundu.

ND: Who is your source of inspiration?

TM: It’s quite a difficult question but I always try to listen to my friend Willom Tight, Oliver Mtukudzi as well as Thomas Mapfumo and I really appreciate their music.

ND: Did you ever dream that one day you would go to Europe?

TM: Having grown up in Chivhu on a farm I never had such a dream of seeing myself on a plane, but normal people who are just ordinary, underprivileged and marginalised people, farm workers, encouraged me to do my best with my talent.

ND: Maybe piracy is the one factor which is driving you away to Europe?

TM: Piracy is the evil of music industry and it’s really worse in Africa. I don’t consider it the only factor that is pushing me to Europe but I have made big sales in Europe and those guys truly support music, especially of this genre. Piracy must stop.

ND: So are we expecting your second album before the end of the year?

TM: Not really, I am working on the project at the moment which I expect to be released next year and it’s going to be a winter present to all my people come next year.

ND: Should the nation look for Taku Mafika in the next 5 years?

TM: Yes my man. Three years ago coming to Harare from Chivhu, now known in most parts of the world, then by God’s grace I want to be a global musician just like Bob Marley and Michael Jackson.

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