SUNGURA maestro Alick Macheso believes his dominance on the local music scene is far from over and fans should expect a scorcher of an album this winter.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Mail Leisure at his home in Waterfalls last week, Macheso said he had a “real bomb” of an album, which is bound to make shock-waves on the local music scene.
“I have a secret weapon, ndine chombo chaicho chekuti ndikachiregedzera chinoputitsa nyika yese. No competition will be able to stand this one,” said Macheso in his usual free spirited nature.
The fiery bass guitarist, who was recently offered help by renowned music producer Bothwell Nyamhondera, who is prepared to quit his job just to work with Macheso, said his long time friend and former business partner would be a valuable addition to his team.
“I trust his hand in the recording studio and as we get into the actual recording it will be a plus since we are already convinced with our own rehearsals. I embrace Nyamhondera’s offer because it is based on our personal and professional relationship,” said Macheso, also known as Extrabasso or simply Baba Sharo to his legion of fans.
Macheso’s last release was “Kwatakabva Mitunhu”, which came out in December 2012 and received a lukewarm response from music fans and critics alike.
Of late, word has been that the revered lyricist, whose guitar playing prowess is unrivalled, does not have faith in his current crop of instrumentalists while some bluntly said the musician was now a spent force.
“We have been rehearsing for a long time now and while a lot has been said about me and the band, I have so much faith in the new team and we have really polished our work. They can play the exact sound like the previous teams but I am pushing them to go an extra mile. All that is left is for us is to install the new software and set up the new studio equipment that we recently acquired from America.
“What we currently have in the studio is ideal for rehearsals but for the recording we will use the new equipment and at most it will take us a day or two to record all the songs and voices given the amount of work done to date.”
Pressed to shed more light on the exact time for the album release, Macheso said the new album should be out this winter.
“For obvious reasons I may not want to give an exact date but album riri kubuda muchando chino ichi. I have to release now because next year I want to release another album. We are bringing our listeners the album during winter so that they can enjoy it in the comfort of their homes,” said Macheso with a chuckle.
The sungura king also revealed that while he values the input of band members, he is the secret behind the sound that has made him a household name.
“I am the one who arranges the music and I actually come up with the chords and melodies for all the instruments. From my first to the last album I am the one who does all the vocals as well. For the instruments, I create and record everything and thereafter coach my band members to play the sound for live shows.”
On why he has not used other established local studios, Macheso hinted that he is more comfortable working in his own studio and at his own pace.
“I am more comfortable working in my own studio and at my own pace as compared to booking for sessions and recordings. I trust the new team and they are up to the task. We have Tafi “Fire” Nyamunda, Devine Muzenda, Mike Maikoro, Donald Gogo, Francis Charamba and Givemore Chokumanyara – they have over the years proved their mettle. Speaking to Macheso and the preparations that he says are in place, one is left wondering why it has taken him this long to do what is needed to produce an album.
The musician, however, said it is important that he puts in place a plan to counter piracy so that at least he realises something from his effort.
“My plan for the new album is to have as much raw materials, in terms of blank CDs and cassettes, as is required for an artiste of my stature. I need to have as many CDs produced so that I am able to counter piracy.
“I don’t believe it’s wise at this stage for me to produce 10 000 copies when I know there will be a high demand. I also plan to have music on memory sticks so that I cater for everyone.
“However, it is also important for Government to gazette deterrent laws against piracy just like they did with stock theft where one is jailed for several years. There is a lot of money they could get from taxing musicians if we were selling well. Besides, music is an industry which can add value to the economy if well regulated.”
Macheso said the new album will have the usual 6 tracks though he expects them to be long and ranging from 13 to 15 minutes.
“The album will carry six songs and all things being equal I intend to have one bonus dancehall track. I play all kinds of music. Ndakamborova reggae pane imwe show tinana Sizzla Kalonji naMic Inity- Kalonji christened me Rasta Cheso, akatapirirwa Kalonji uya uya,” said Macheso with an air of nostalgia.
The sungura maestro also took time to talk about Extra Kwazvose, the band that was formed by his former employees.
“Those guys are a part of us – they came from the Orchestra Mberikwazvo institution, where they gained a lot of experience and we wish them well. We, however, wish they could work together instead of continuing with these splits. Working together for a long time perfects your music and gives you staying power. These splits do not work and they do not lead anywhere.
“The boys come to our shows – Obert, Joe, Innocent and Noel. Even Franco who is now fronting Extra Kwazvose recently joined us on stage at our family shows in Manyame Park and Ziko. It won’t be surprising to hear that we are sharing the same stage because it is his chance to grow as well.”
Macheso revealed that he was invited to Franco’s recent album launch but could not make it because of pressing issues.
“I actually wanted to be there but I had pressing commitments. I am happy he invited me this time though they didn’t invite me for the launch of the previous two albums. While I haven’t listened to the album yet I wish him the best and that fans must support him.”
Macheso called on musicians to work together for the good of the industry.
“Competition is healthy but it must be driven by a desire for success and outdoing each other in a good spirit not hatred. When we were upstarts in the industry we had many musicians like Leonard Dembo, Jonah Moyo and Mbada Jazz Band, among others but we would work together.
“I take the new and upcoming musicians as my family together with the likes of other pacesetters like Oliver Mtukudzi and as such working together grows the industry. Even these youngsters must desist from dissing each other and using filthy lyrics,” said Macheso in reference to Zim dancehall artistes.