DENDERA ace Sulumani Chimbetu will drop five of his band members on his forthcoming United Kingdom tour slated for end of this month.
The move, aimed at cutting costs, will see the musician travelling with a slimmer band for the tour to maximise profits.
Sulu will travel together with bassist Moffat Nyamupandu, Knowledge Nyamungoma, who doubles as the lead guitarist and manager, Vivian Ndlovu aka Vhevhe, who plays the rhythm guitar, drummer Carlton Muparutsa and dancers Wayne Kembo, Darlington Chabata and Phillip Dzivike.
The three-legged tour, which is being put together by Sulu’s recently-registered production and promotion company, Dendera Entertainment, will feature dancehall chanter Freeman.
The Nhambarakishoni singer is expected to leave Zimbabwe on August 27, and is scheduled to kick-start his gigs at the Dunstable Leisure Centre in Luton on August 29.
The following night Sulu and Freeman are billed to serenade fans at Club Platinum in Coventry, before rounding off with a family show at the Aug Sol House in Manchester.
UK-based Steven “Papa Stavo” Chimbetu, who is one of the Dendera Entertainment directors, said preparations for the show were at an advanced stage.
“This is our debut show without side promoters and we are happy that preparations for the tour are going according to script,” he said. “At all the venues we have ensured that there will be tight security and secure parking.”
Sulu’s publicist Joe Nyamungoma said Sulu would take the opportunity to sample songs from his forthcoming album for the UK fans.
“It has been a long time since we performed in the UK. We had enough time to prepare for the shows. During the shows our fans will have a live feel of some of the songs from our forthcoming album,” Nyamungoma said.
“We urge people to come in their numbers for the gigs as there will be a lot in store and we promise surprises.”
While the UK has slowly become a second home for local musicians who are “stampeding” to stage shows in that country, there have been reports of artistes performing for “peanuts”.
Reports are that dancehall musicians are getting as little as $200 per show with some ending up stranded after dealing with dubious music promoters.
Nyamungoma said the formation of their company Dendera Entertainment was motivated by the need for growth among other factors.
“Of course, there is the issue of low performance fees in the United Kingdom for Zimbabwean artistes, but other than that we took this measure so that we can grow,” he said. “We are testing the waters. Who knows, we might strike gold!”
Although he could not be drawn into divulging the fees they used to get in the UK, Nyamungoma said the figures are never fixed.