BY WINSTONE ANTONIO WILL there be a serious contender for the king of Sungura crown anytime soon? It is very doubtful, but if yes, then the contenders have to work hard because Alick “Extra Basso” Macheso is apparently in no mood to give up the crown anytime soon.
The Madhau hitmaker proved and justified why he still carries the “King” of Sungura tag after putting up an electrifying performance during his homecoming family show at Harare Show Grounds’ Andy Miller Hall on Saturday.
The show was his first in the capital after his return from the United Kingdom last week, where he performed at this year’s edition of the SAMA Festival.
Before the Sungura King, also affectionately known as Cheso Power, came on stage the Zimbabwe Republic Police band belted out a stunning performance.
The band, clad in its traditional navy blue and gold outfits, did justice to the set, justifying why it had been roped into the show.
It was a marvel to watch as it put up a sparkling performance that demonstrated that it is no pushovers when it comes to stage work.
The band performed with precision well-polished vocal renditions of some of the top musicians’ songs such as Gemma Griffiths’s Maita Basa Baba, Obert Chari’s Mebo, Baba Harare’s The Reason Why and Mambo Dhuterere’s Hamen Hlebanna that features Zolasko from Botswana.
Their playlist also took rhumba fans to the dance floor when the band belted the song Loi done by Congolese Soukus singer, Koffi Olomide.
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Earlier, before the police band’s performance, jazz musician Jean Masters and Afro-fusion musician Madhuve Sasha had also displayed a treasured performance that was appreciated by the mature and eager-to-spend fans.
Then at 2045hrs, the night ruptured into ecstasy as Cheso Power, backed by his Orchestra Mberikwazvo, walked on stage to a rousing welcomed by his ever faithful legion of fans.
Deafening wild screams greeted the band as fans pushed and shoved as they stampeded to get closer to the stage.
What a standing ovation it was. Undeniably Macheso is a darling of many.
After about five minutes of sound check, Macheso did not waste time before getting into serious business of the night.
He opened his set with yesteryear song Chengetai much to the delight of the fans who sang alone. After Chengetai, Mundikumbuke followed and then Madhau; all hit songs that make up Macheso’s rich discography.
As they were about to belt their fourth song, there was a signal for an interlude, music promoters Josh Hozheri and Wanisai Mahwindo Mtandwa gracefully invaded the stage.
What was the reason for this inconvenient interruption, they wanted to present a cake to one of Macheso’s dancers, Selemani “Majuice” Mpochi, for the belated celebration of his 35th birthday.
The pleasant surprise present melted Majuice.
Big Hozheri took off his promoter’s jacket and in his hoarse voice led the singing of the famous Happy birthday to you song with the revellers joining in.
According to Mahwindo, Majuice’s cake was provided by of some promoters and the diehard Orchestra Mberikwazvo fans.
“Tinotenda (thank you) Josh Hozheri and Mahwindo for the gesture. But mdara Josh ona zvekuita paJojo tank (Josh can you do something about your stomach),” Macheso said jokingly in reference to Hozheri’s belly much to the delight of revellers.
That done, Macheso continued with his scintillating performance as he took fans down memory lane with more of his yesteryear hits such as Shedia and Tafadzwa, before he switched to the recent discography.
The fans’ spontaneous reaction — singing and jamming the dancefloor was enough testimony that this was a night to remember.
During his performance, Macheso took the opportunity to announce to his fans that he was set to give them something fresh in the form of an album scheduled for launch on June 10 if everything went according to plan.
“We are certain that if everything goes according to plan, we will be launching our new album at the Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza,” he said to wild cheers from the revellers.
“I will also take the opportunity to celebrate my 54th birthday with you. You are our paymasters, it is you who make it happen. Without you it is not possible for us to perform.”
To spice up his set, Macheso took time to remember some departed music legends by playing their cover versions.
He played to perfection Tongai Dhewa Moyo’s Nguva Yekutenda, Simon Chimbetu’s Saina, System Tazvida’s Anodyiwa Hataure, John Chibadura’s Mukadzi Wamakandiroorera, Oliver Mtukudzi’s Ziwere and Leonard Dembo’s Chitekete among others.
What a well-choreographed set it was.
As Orchestra Mberikwazvo closed their set with the song Gungwa, Macheso saluted the fans for their good behaviour.
“If I was the one controlling time, I would have reversed it to 12 noon, so that we can continue to have more fun. As we all know there is a curfew so we cannot go beyond the stipulated time, we have to travel before that,” Macheso said as he waved goodbye to the fans.
Some fans could be heard chanting “one more”, “one more”, while others shouted, “Baba Shero!!, Baba Shero!!.
Macheso’s security had a tough time to contain the excited fans who flocked backstage to get take selfies with Macheso soon after his performance.
Tich Makahamadze, Macheso’s publicist, said they were impressed by the turnout at the show.
“The reception was overwhelming and we are grateful to our fans for embracing us this much,” he told NewsDay Life & Style.
“It is so encouraging and we want to thank our fans for that support.”
- Follow Winstone on Twitter @widzoanto