Over to you, Selmor…

SOUNDTRACK: Winstone Antonio

IF a movie chronicles the journeys by some sons and daughters of departed Zimbabwean music legends, its script would not make the dead smile — at least not all of them.

The movie would obviously feature Selmor Mtukudzi (pictured), the daughter of the late music super star Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi and Peter “Young Igwe” Moyo, son of the late legendary sungura musician, Tongai.

It should also feature Tendai and Morgan, sons of sungura kingpin Leonard Dembo; Tendai Chimombe, the eldest daughter of James; Biggie Tembo Jr, the son of Bhundu Boys frontman Biggie and Afro-pop singers Ammara and Chengeto, daughters of the legendary Andy Brown.

Some of these sons and daughters of the late music legends have disappointed after failing dismally to uphold their fathers’ music legacies despite widespread sympathy from fans.

On November 11, 2011, the clock had just ticked 11pm, a fully packed Sports Diner, (now defunct), was a house of emotions as a very young looking and unpolished Peter “Young Igwe” Moyo, went on stage at a show dubbed Quad 11 organised in honour of his father.

Some wept as the Young Igwe, despite glaring inability to fill in his father’s shoes, was feted as a true heir to the Utakataka Express throne.

About nine years down the line, the jury is out. The Young Igwe has not lived up to public expectations.

Observers have openly said the Young Igwe “survived” musically because of sympathy from both fans and arts promoters during his formative days when he took over the reins at Utakataka Express, before he was weaned off by the promoters.

The son to the Samanyemba hitmaker had four of his albums failing to take the industry by storm, while off the stage he has made headlines, not for his musical exploits, but for bed-hopping errands and he doesn’t give a hoot about his critics, choosing to argue “I am not my father and don’t compare me to him”.

Selmor, the daughter of the music icon, Tuku, who breathed his last at a local hospital on January 23 last year, faces a similar litmus test.

The undisputed heiress to the Tuku music throne, Selmor, has a tough task ahead as she launches her latest album, the 11-track Dehwe ReNzou, at RM Garden Hall, Harare Agricultural Showgrounds exactly a year after Tuku’s death.

Although she has been in the industry for long, with five other albums under her sleeve, it is this latest offering which has generated a lot of interest and is set to answer many questions, chief among them whether, just like the Young Igwe, she was banking on sympathy of her father’s legacy.

The album will be her first offering after her father’s death, and being endorsed by Mtukudzi’s multitude of fans as the bona fide heiress to the Tuku music throne.

Music fans can only hope that the talented artiste has done her homework well so that she will not join the list of those offspring who think their fathers’ fans are obliged to support and sympathise with them.

The album was recorded at Steve Dyer’s studios in Johannesburg, South Africa after the death of her father.

While Selmor might appear at ease, without doubt, the hard-to-please Tuku fans will be eager to listen to the album which, according to her camp, is a fusion of afro-jazz and traditional local beats like katekwe and jiti. Has she brewed a pot good enough to keep her father’s music alive?

So far, Selmor has proved to be comfortable in her new role and undermining her capacity is unjustified while also failing to remind her of how big the Tuku brand is would not be advisable.

We can only hope that Selmor put this into consideration when she was in the studio.

Privileged to be joined by the original Black Spirits band members including Piki Kasamba, Never Mpofu and Sam Mataure, this, no doubt, attracts the attention of not only music fans, but also stakeholders in the world of showbiz.

With the involvement of these talented original Black Spirits members, with Piki doing the backing vocals and percussion while Mpofu and Mataure play bass and drums, respectively, no doubt a lot is really expected by the fans.

Even Selmor herself has also promised the best quality album production than ever on the project that features songs like Zvine Basa Rei, Uchafinhwa, Tanda Mbizi and Unconditional Love.

If the album, which also features legendary South African musician Vusi “The Voice” Mahlasela on one of the tracks, fails to compete in the cutthroat world of music, then pressure will definitely mount for Selmor in her attempt to keep her father’s music legacy alive.

But Selmor must be allowed to run her own race as she has already said that her father’s shoes are too big to fit. But showbiz can be a cruel industry.

Selmor is on record saying she has worked hard over the years to develop herself into a brand without ever riding on her father’s coattails, urging people not to unfairly compare her with Tuku, but to judge her talents against her fellow female colleagues.

All the best to Selmor and her team that comprise her husband Tendai Manatsa, sister Sandra, publicist Reginald Chapfunga and veteran promoter Josh Hozheri as they launch the album at a ceremony that will also be graced by the king of sungura Alick Macheso and other artistes and stakeholders in the creative sector.

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