FOR an upstart in music like Afro-jazz crooner Gary Tight (pictured), breaking bread with legends Thomas “Mukanya” Mapfumo and Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi could only have been the stuff of which dreams are made of.
BY ANESU MUSHAWATU
But this week, the young musician, who has been under the tutelage of Tuku at the Pakare Paye Arts Centre, had a golden chance to share more than a meal with Mukanya — but also had dosages of wisdom distilled over many years dispensed to him.
Although he had rubbed shoulders with Tuku on stage before, he had never imagined that he would have an encounter with the Lion of Zimbabwe, as Mukanya is affectionately known, who had been away from Zimbabwe for the last 14 years.
The gods of music, however, in their random distribution of cards, appear to have favoured the youngster and he not only had an opportunity to share a meal with Mukanya on Monday, but will also be part of the curtainraisers during the Welcome Back Bira at the Glamis Arena tonight.
All that Tight had known about Mukanya from as back as primary school — according to his manager Godfrey “Vokal” Bakasa — were mere stories and songs played on radio.
“Ever since Mukanya came into the country, he (Gary) had been longing to meet one on one with the legend. Although he had seen him during a Press conference, he was aching to meet and talk to him,” he said.
“It’s not every day that you meet and talk to a man of that magnitude. But on Monday, during Mukanya’s tour at Oliver Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts Centre, we grabbed the opportunity to have a one on one conversation with the legend.”
Tight, whose star music pundits believe is on the rise, took the opportunity to glean as much as he could from a man who had seen it all in the cutthroat music industry both at home and abroad.
Bakasa said during the meeting, Tight was given a few tips on how to handle the music industry and the meeting has since revolutionised the young crooner’s perception of the industry, and he was going to always cherish the notes he received.
“During the meeting, he (Mukanya) told him that the industry is not an easy road and encouraged him to work hard to succeed, (to) be original or face the task of being better than originators, express your culture and work hard because music brings people together,” Bakasa said.
“Mukanya is one of the biggest names in the history of our music and meeting him on a more personal level is something to cherish and treat with respect.”
Tight did not know what to expect before his encounter with the legend, but after the exchanges, he was so inspired and impressed to strive to scale the dizzy heights that Mukanya has enjoyed in a long glorious music career.
Although Tight had performed before huge crowds at the Harare International Conference Centre — including during Winky D’s Gombwe album launch and the Jamaican superstar Tarrus Riley gigs — this is probably going to be his biggest stage given the authority that Mukanya commands.
In retrospect, participating at the Gombwe album launch and the Riley shows have been dress rehearsals.
At the age of 23, Tight will be the youngest of the supporting acts, who include Tuku, Sulu Chimbetu, Winky D, Andy Muridzo and Diana Samkange.
And the Tight camp is not taking this opportunity lightly.
“It’s a huge stepping stone that needs a well-synchronised act. The crowd is not the (kind of) crowd we get every day at our international headline shows,” Tight was quoted saying.
Meanwhile, show organisers Entertainment Republic have spared no effort to ensure that this would be a homecoming show to remember.