LEGENDARY musician Leonard Dembo’s son, Tendai Dembo, has ridden on his father’s legacy and fame, following in the great late musician’s footsteps by venturing into music. He now fronts the resuscitated Barura Express, which his father founded.
BY TAKUDZWA MADZIVANZIRA
Tendai is Leonard and Eunice Dembo’s second son in a family that is made up of Morgan and Fenny.
Tendai attended Chaplin High School in Gweru and Pakame High School in Shurugwi. At Chaplin, he was close friends with fellow musician, Peter Moyo.
During high school days, Tendai played basketball, volleyball and soccer and was a key player in all the disciplines. Currently, he is one of the popular players at the annual soccer event that features sungura and Zimdancehall artistes organised by promoter Patson “Chipaz” Chimbodza.
Tendai was also part of a very popular music group that won the hearts of many in church when they sang at Pakame between 2005 and 2006.
The young man also used to enjoy hip-hop, ragga and R n B.
Many who knew him back then are quite surprised that he is now a sungura musician.
During our time at school, Tendai would bring his father’s cassettes and we used to play them in Mukoma Divha’s room. Mukoma Divha was one of the cooks.
When Tendai played his father’s cassettes, he used to hold his head, look down and listen to the songs with absolute concentration as if he didn’t want to miss anything.
If you wanted to see the worst of him, you only had to disturb him while he was listening to his father’s music.
Tendai, however, only ventured into music after high school in 2007. Together with his brother Morgan, they were assisted by Alick Macheso, who taught them to play instruments.
The journey to fill in their father’s shoes was not easy given that Musorowenyoka passed on when Tendai, Morgan and Fenny were still very young, in Grade 2, Grade 3 and pre-school respectively.
When they started holding shows, pulling the crowds was not easy as they were newcomers in the music industry. But because of Tendai’s talent and Dembo’s rich music estate, they slowly struck the right chords and today, they have won the hearts of many music lovers.
Tendai is drawing capacity crowds during his shows at Joy Centre (Highfield), Manucho (Waterfalls), Paramount (Chitungwiza), Chivavaya (Guruve), Ngundu, Rutenga, Triangle, Chiredzi, Gokwe-Chitekete, Zimplats and the Odyssey (Kadoma), among other places.
Together with Morgan, they released Kutsika Matsimba in 2013. In 2014, Tendai launched his first album, Kupakwashe, as a solo artiste.
This was followed by his second offering, Mushando, last year. The album is receiving much airplay on National FM courtesy of his loyal fans who periodically request his music. The album was produced by the legendary Bothwell Nyamhondera and is available at Diamond Studios.
Tendai has been able to tread the straight and narrow when it comes to dealing with women, a very strong temptation in the music industry, particularly for a single young man. His mother Eunice’s wish is for him to get a woman who will understand the nature of his career in music. She saw it all during her time with Leonard.
To her credit, she successfully managed to single-handedly raise the three children Leonard left her.
She says she is grateful to the fans that have unwaveringly supported the Barura brand.
Barura Express is currently made up of Tendai (lead vocalist and lead guitar), vaMbewe (bass guitar), Levison Bhibho (rhythm guitar), Knowledge (drums and backing vocals), Chamu (chanter, backing vocals and dancer), Spencer (dancer), Budgie (dancer) and Talent (dancer).
Tendai is concerned with the welfare of his band members. When shows don’t yield much, he sacrifices his pay for his band members. He also takes part in charity activities which include mobilising food, clothes and stationery which he donates to people in need. Firomumwe Primary School in Gutu is one of the beneficiaries of Tendai’s charity programme.