Mono capitalises on COVID-19 lockdown

Mono Mukundu

THE coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has provided a learning curve for venerated music producer Clive “Mono” Mukundu who is now using most of his time during the 35-day lockdown to learn more about studio engineering and production amid global efforts to flatten the infection curve.


Mono told NewsDay Life & Style yesterday that about a fifth of his clients were Zimbabweans based in the diaspora while foreigners constituted another percentage, which afforded him sufficient time to experiment with other things.

Mono indicated that he was also working on COVID-19 awareness jingles.

“One fifth of my clientele is Zimbabwean diaspora artists and some few foreign artistes. So at the moment that is the work I am mostly doing and also a few coronavirus awareness jingles,” he said.

The producer, who is also a multi-instrumentalist, said he was also clearing some studio backlog.

“But since it is only a fifth of my work, it means I now have a lot of time to be idle, but instead I’m using that time to clear some backlog and to learn more about studio engineering and production, because learning never ceases if you are wise,” he said.

Mono said he was also incorporating musicians passing through the studio in creating the COVID-19 awareness materials while paying due regard to the prescribed precautions around the disease including social distancing.

“I also feature some artists who pass by the studio, either to pick something or to do coronavirus awareness material, but we observe all the prescribed precautions as we jam,” he said.
Mono, who runs Monolio Studios in Harare, underscored that musicians had a significant role to play in the campaign to halt the spread of COVID-19,which has accounted for over 200 000 lives across the globe.
“Musicians should be at the forefront of making people aware of the disease. That will help them spread the message as well as keep on being relevant. When I do jam sessions with artistes, I encourage them to compose COVID-19 awareness songs,” he said.
Mono has so far worked with artistes including Dereck Mpofu, Tererai Mugwadi, Jah Signal, Lwazi Tsabangu as well as Albert Nyathi and his son, Xolisani.

Although a lot of musicians have rued the lockdown for stemming the flow of their income, the veteran producer said it was better to maintain one’s health.

He said innovative players in the music industry could always find ways to continue generating incomes.

“It is now time to look for other innovative ways of making money via the internet. Those who can teach can teach music via applications such as Zoom and Google class. Some schools all over the world and even here in Zimbabwe are also doing that to make sure that their pupils will not have to repeat same grades.

Mono said another key lesson drawn from the lockdown was that the need to save money was critical because the music business was a gamble.

“This lockdown period also teaches us that we need to save money. The music industry is generally a gamble, with times of plenty and times of drought. Therefore, every wise gambler knows that one needs to save during the times of plenty,” he said.

Mono said the “jamming” sessions he has been doing with his family during the lockdown have strengthened their ties.

“Jamming with my son has made us closer, not only with my son, but with the whole family. I jam with my son and either my wife or my daughter would be the cameraperson.

“We just use my smartphone for both shooting and editing, using an application called kinemaster to do the editing, so we just have fun,” he said.