It is now 12 years since John Chibadura died, but his music still remains in the ranks of most popular compositions in the country.
Whenever people talk about local “old skool” music, Chibadura is among the names credited for major contribution to an era that produced finest Zimbabwean music.
Like many musicians of his time, Chibadura did not use his real surname (Nyamukokoko) because he wanted a different stage identity. He also earned himself the nickname Mr Chitungwiza — a city from which he hailed — because of his musical prowess. Many other equally good musicians came from Chitungwiza but Chibadura somehow took the “title”.
Although he left behind a full band and a music kit, it has not been easy for his Tembo Brothers to keep this type of music going. Even his sons Simba, Richard and John (Jr) have not been able to fit into their father’s shoes.
However, Chibadura’s bass guitarist Roderick Chemudhara should be commended for soldiering on and making a notable impact initially at the helm of Tembo Brothers and now as leader of Afro Kings. He still works with Chibadura’s hilarious dancer, Manyowa.
When he backed Chibadura’s sons at Heroesplush Gala in Mt Darwin recently, Chemudhara exhibited his versatility with the bass guitar.
Such performances always make him recall their good days with Chibadura.
“Chibadura was a good man. It has been so many years since he died, but I always remember the moments that we shared,” recalled Chemudhara.
“I joined him in 1992 as bass guitarist and we recorded six albums that include Pfuma Yenhaka, Kukura Kurerwa and Tongai Zvenyu. We also toured countries like UK, Belgium, Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique.
“He was always jovial. I remember how he laughed at me when I wanted to return some money I had borrowed at a show. He just said ‘go away with your money, did I ever say you should return it?’.
“He was a great musician who would allow us to go home with our guitars and combos so that we could perfect our skills daily. Most musicians will never do that.”
Chemudhara was close to the late great musician to the extent that Chibadura would invite him to travel in his BMW or Rover as other band members used a Toyota Hiace.
Maybe that is what inspired him to keep pursuing music when other members of Tembo Brothers hung their guitars. He salutes Chibadura at most of his shows.
At the helm of Tembo Brothers, he released five albums before changing his record company and assuming a new band name.
Chemudhara is currently doing well with his song Mugere Sei and he has been a constant feature at big shows around the country.
One of such shows will be held tomorrow at Wedza Spaceman Bar in Glen Norah when he shares the stage with Tongai Moyo.
The musician says he cherishes working with popular musicians of the moment as it helped him reach a wider audience.
“We often do shows on our own, but it feels good to share the stage with musicians that are pulling crowds at the moment. It reminds me of our days with Chibadura and it inspires me a lot. I have worked with Moyo on a number of shows and come Friday (tomorrow), people will witness a memorable show in Glen Norah,” he said.