Mataruse a jazz star in the making


Afro-jazz dynamite Munya Mataruse, is fast establishing himself as a force to reckon with in the jazz sector.

Venturing into music circles as a young boy at Chiedza Primary School, Mataruse learned dance, percussion and marimba music and soon began to show his talent.

He auditioned for the percussion band and became a bass drummer and joined the marimba band, learning local traditional beats like jiti, mhande, chinyambera and jikinya.

In his last two years at Chiedza he was also in the traditional dance troupe.

He completed his “O” Levels in 2004 in Norton. That year he learnt of a programme that grooms actors, actresses, poets and musicians at Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton and he enrolled for a music course.

After just six months of grooming at Pakare Paye, Mataruse featured in a show at the centre with various renowned artists such as Oliver Mtukudzi, Steven Makoni, Victor Kunonga, Poda Muriwa and the late Sam Mtukudzi.

After this show he continued learning, rehearsing and holding solo shows at the centre, some of them promoted by Tuku Music.

He then joined Bandarimba (a marimba band), a group that introduced him to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa) in 2005, the year that he also started learning acoustic guitar.

In 2007 he took part in the Victoria Falls International Jazz Festival and Harare Jazz Festival. Last year he took part in the Winter Jazz Festival.

He has shared the stage with Dudu Manhenga and worked with Taku Mafika.

He is also into acting having featured in drama titled Nzou neMhuru Mudanga and Chipo Changu, a short film co-produced by Tuku Music and Afro Eye production houses.

Through these events, Matarutse grew in experience and skill.

Now he is ready to conquer mainstream music with his debut album that is expected to hit the streets in early May.

The long-awaited album is a composition of 11 tracks, titled Denguremhodzi (a bowl of seeds).

“This album is a massive package and composition of contemporary jazz, a fusion of jazz music and traditional instruments,” said Mataruse.

“Mhodzi (the seed) is the message that I’m trying to communicate to the audience contained in the tracks, if it is ‘a bowl of seeds’ then the audience has to chose their favourite,” he said.

The album consists of songs such as Chinyavada, a song that features the late Sam Mtukudzi, Hondo, a duet he did with his icon and mentor, Oliver Mtukudzi and Paita Mhere, a dedication to the late Sam.

Matope is a track on which Mataruse sings about his life at the arts centre and how it has nurtured him into the artist he is today.

Other potentially explosive tracks include Handingamboshupika, Mai Mucha and Pakare Paye.

“The album is due for release in early May. We are waiting for the producer, Oliver Mtukudzi, who is currently out of the country,” said Mataruse.

Mataruse will be making his fifth appearance at Hifa after having made his debut in 2005 and performed at the 2007, 2009 and 2010 editions of the festival.

“I’m looking forward to performing at the festival and hope fans will enjoy my album,” added Mataruse.