Wednesday, August 17, 2016

John Chibadura & Tembo Brothers - 1980s Zimbabwean Sungura Music

Edited by Azizi Powell

This post showcases a video of John Chibadura & Tembo Brothers performing in the 1980s and includes selected comments from this video's discussion thread.

Information about Zimbabwean Sungura music is given below along with information about Zimbabwean Chimurenga music. I'm sharing information about both music genres since a commenter indicated that this was Sungura music, but the video title describes it (incorrectly?) as Chimurenga music.

The content of this post is presented for cultural, entertainment, and aesthetic purposes.

In addition to the music, I'm interested in the styles of dancing that are shown in these film clips.

All copyrights remain with their owner.

Thanks to John Chibadura & Tembo Brothers for their musical legacy. Thanks to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the publisher of this YouTube example.

Editor's Note:
The title of the showcase video below indicates that the music as an example of Zimbabwean "Chimurenga" music. However, a commenter wrote in English that the music was actually an example of "Sungura" music and several other comments included the Shona[?] word "museve" in their comments. "Museve" is another term for Sungura music.

"Sungura or Museve music is arguably the most popular music genre in Zimbabwe. The genre was popularised in the 1980s by groups like Khiama Boyz and System Tazvida's Chazezesa Challengers. The birth of Urban Grooves music in the New Millennium failed to scale the dizzy heights that Sungura reached.

Sungura reportedly originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo. One Zimbabwe musician, Mura Nyakura who travelled to Zaire in 1948 fell in love with the kanindo-rhumba beat there which he then introduced to Zimbabwe.[1] The genre later became known as sungura music, with the likes of Ephraim Joe and his band the Sungura Boys popularising it. Within a few years time, the genre was to become most popular music genre with over three quarters of the musicians playing it. Legendary producer, Bothwell Nyamhondera is credited for producing sungura music becoming one of the originators and earliest proponents of the genre.[2] The first popular sungura outfit was the Ephraim Joe led Sungura Boys. The group was composed of talented guitarists and lyricists such as John Chibadura, Simon Chimbetu, Naison Chimbetu and System Tazvida. Over the years, the genre had been given various names like Zora coined by Leonard Zhakata and Dendera music by Simon Chimbetu.

Most musicians who play this genre usually tackle different life experiences that includes love, hardships and unity. Some of the earlier proponents of this genre like Leonard Zhakata and John Chibadura were marked with hopelessness, entrapment and despair. As a result it was categorised lachrymal (tear-washed or weeping) music. In extreme contrast, others sang of hope and optimisim in hard times and the hope that everything would be fine in due course. One such musician is Tongai Moyo whose music was rooted in purposeful agency, unity in struggle, and in repudiating defeatist attitudes.[3]

Losing Steam
In 2013, Sungura music which had for years dominated the country's showbiz seemed to have lost its steam. This was caused by a myriad of reasons chief among them the overflowing of Zimbabwe Dancehall and the lukewarm reception of sungura albums...

Few Women in Sungura
Few or no women at all in Zimbabwe are full time sungura musicians. This is caused by tradition and culture amongst the Zimbabwean people. Culturally, women when not allowed to play certain instruments such as the drum especially during menstruation. This was done to make religious ceremonies pure as the drum played role in evoke ancestral spirits. As, this tradition put women at the bottom of society, this is allegedly why femals venture into sungura music full time. When they do they are merely relegated to dancing or to providing backing vocals. Another reason is that since Sungura musicians are known to perform in public places like beerhalls, women who visit such places are culturally associated with loose morals.[5] As a result, despite the popularity of the genre a few women dare to venture into it."...
Italics were added by me to highlight this portion of that sentence.

"Chimurenga is a Shona word which means to fight or struggle. Traditionally, chimurenga or bongozozo is a fight in which everyone at hand participates. The word's modern interpretation has been extended to describe a struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice. Thomas Mapfumo coined the phrase chimurenga music to describe his revolutionary music which evolved during Zimbabwe's struggle to gain independence in the early seventies. The war of liberation which was dubbed Chimurenga Chechipiri or the second revolution was a fulfilment of the prophesy of a great Shona spirit, Mbuya Nehanda, sister of the great Shona prophet Chaminuka. Mbuya Nehanda led the first war, Chimurenga Chekutanga against British colonial rule in Zimbabwe and was hanged in the late eighteen hundreds. However before she died she declared that her bones will rise and fight the second war of liberation. Her prophesy was not realized until almost a hundred years later. While armed struggle ragged along the borders of Zimbabwe, Mapfumo used his music to arouse revolutionary sentiment among Zimbabweans during the seventies. Mapfumo has continued to use his chimurenga style of music to address a multitude of pressing political and social concerns in peace time Zimbabwe.

Characterized by biting social and political commentary, third person political innuendo, Mapfumo has developed a style of music whose roots are traditional Shona mbira music, but played with modern electric instrumentation, a more modern message adapted to current social and political affairs, a sense of urgency and a cry for justice."

"Chimurenga music -a genre of African popular music
"Stylistic origins: Mbira; Electric blues
Cultural origins: 1970s Shona people
Typical instruments: Vocals - electric guitar - bass guitar - drums

Active: 1980s - 1990s
Born 1957

Chibadura grew up tending his father's goats, and after finishing school, worked as a truck driver. He moved to Harare in 1980, whose local music scene made an impression on him and moved him to try his own hand at performing. He formed his own band, the Tembo Brothers Band, the next year and found success quickly with several hit LPs. He toured the U.K. twice at the end of the decade and released a few popular albums there."
For more information about John Chibadura, read the Wikipedia excerpt that is quoted under comment #3.

SHOWCASE EXAMPLE: John Chibadura & Tembo Brothers - "Rudo Runokosha" - Zimbabwean Chimurenga Music

mrmozambique, Uploaded on Dec 8, 2009

High quality audio on this rip from a VCD I picked up in Maputo, Mozambique. I think the original must have been a VHS as you can see the tracking errors during the vid. The production is Zimbabwe. I have several of these and will upload a few more. RIP Mr. Chitungwiza.
Here are selected comments from this video's discussion thread. These comments are numbered for referencing purposes only:

1. kidkivha
"Great memories. The man was a genius. One of the best musician to hail from southern africa. MrChitungwiza. We miss you so much"

2. Beaton Nyamapanda
"This song is not Rudo runokosha. This is actually Rairai vana"
Isn't this a film clip of more than one song?
3. PL Boogie
"Mr. Chitungwiza.. True great.. Feel sorry for the few that never got a chance to see him Live. I was lucky enough to watch him in Zim and Zed aka Zambia. Good vibes vakanaka havararami "
"Chitungwiza – known colloquially as Chi Town – is a high-density dormitory town in Zimbabwe. The city is approximately 30 kilometres south of the capital, Harare. It was formed in 1978 from three townships: Seke, Zengeza, and St Marys...

Chitungwiza is located in the traditional territory of the Hera people. Its most distinguished historical figure is the Pasipamire, the pre-colonial svikiro (spirit medium) of Chaminuka. He is remembered for predicting the colonisation of the country by the British.

Johane Masowe we Chishanu is one of largest religion worshiping in the open spaces and vleis. Emmanuel Makandiwa of the United Family International Church has built the biggest church in Chitungwiza thereby bringing a huge transformation to Chitungwiza's infrastructure, he also is claimed to have the largest following of over hundred thousand members to date. Apostolic Faith Mission in Zimbabwe is also one of the largest churches with two provinces Chitungwiza East under the leadership of Overseer A Madawo and Chitungwiza West under the leadership of Overseer Dandure. The late renowned Overseer P.D. Chiweshe was also a pastor of AFM at Seke Assembly for 23 years.

The economy is supported by informal trade, residents earn a living through selling green groceries at informal markets such as Chikwanha, Jambanja and Huruyadzo. Art has proven to be among the highest contributors of income in Chitungwiza, many musicians come from Chitungwiza with the well known ones being Alick Macheso, Nicholas Zacharia, Mechanic Manyeruke, Amos and Micah Mahendere, Dhadza D, Guspy Warrior, Nill Jay, Job Mashanda, the late Dembo, the late Marshall Munhumumwe, the late System Tazvida, the late Cephas Mashakada, the late John Chibadura who was nicknamed Mr. Chitungwiza among others.
Italics were added by me to highlight that portion of that sentence.

4. Graham Findley
"Fabulous! I had the pleasure of doing the sound for this man in 1998, when he toured Britain for the last time before his death the following year. I've got a poor quality desk tape, and the first track they did that night was Rudo Runokosha. I never knew what it was called till now, as it isn't on any of the albums I've got. Thanks for posting this."

5. jedxtcable
"I am English.... I do not understand the words.. this shames me. But I do understand the moves and the guitars and the drums, this man and his music are a blessing to us all...a great blessing"

6. Webbo Marime
"unfortunately, this is not chimurenga music! Although the genre is sungura, Mr. Chitungwiza himself could have had his own description of the genre as he would have liked it as was the trend during those days."

7. Isheunesu Magwaza
"Rudo Runokosha means "love is precious""

8. Isheunesu Magwaza
"this guy was talented."

9. goldenhelix
"Can anyone tell me how he actually died? I have been interested in this man and his amazing music, but there is very little information about him. According to what I've been able to find he would have been in his 30s when he died, so I am very curious to know what caused his death at such a young age. 

10. mrmozambique, 2014
"Although I don't have any evidence, I believe the general assumption is that he died of AIDS. Tragic, really." 

11. Mncube Velly
"big up mr chitungwiza"

12. Renovaldo Mazonda
"The real legend! Your songs make you immortal."

13. Johnny Machava
"i love back to 1982s music john teach eliminate the cause of mistakes"

14. Peter Weico
"Mr chitungwiza was the legend of the legends, zororai murugare Mr chtngwza

15. Tatenda Shumba
"during the sweet days, the Zimbabwe I know!!"

16. faraimisheck chasakara
"Chibadura was a legend,zvaive zvinhu"

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