SOUTH Africa’s Afro-jazz maestro Hugh Masekela is set to release a mbira compilation album, Shai Shai, done with several female jazz acts in honour of his long-time friend, the late Dumisani Maraire.
BY SINDISO DUBE
Maraire — who was the father of the late Chiwoniso and was renowned as a master performer of the mbira — died on November 25, 1999 after suffering a stroke.
The 12-track album also features local female jazz acts Prudence Katomeni Mbofana, Rumbidzai Tavaziva, Joyce Warikandwa and Berita Tarupiwa, who contributed a song apiece.
The producer, Victor Kunonga, yesterday confirmed that the album was now ready for release.
He told NewsDay yesterday that there were now wrapping up the album’s production and it was expected to hit the market any time soon.
“I can say the project is ready now and we are set to release it soon, we have been fine touching the project for some time now since we want it to be perfect,” he said.
“Bra Hugh has always wanted to do something in honour of Dumisani Maraire and initially he wanted to do the album with the late Chiwoneso, but it was unfortunate that she passed away before they could implement the project. Therefore, we embarked on it last year in January,” he said.
Kunonga said he felt humbled when Masekela entrusted him with the project.
“Bra Hugh is a music icon and when he approached me I was very surprised, my last album Kwedu prompted Bra Hugh to offer me the honours of producing the album. It’s an honour to hear an icon like Masekela describing your Kwedu as authentic African rhythms,” he said.
At the peak of his music career, Maraire was renowned as a dynamic musician who introduced Northwest and North American students and audiences to the joyful sound of African marimba music.