THE LATE REVIEW: Munya Mataruse’s Album Launch

My first Jazz album launch was amazing! Munya Mataruse  from Pakare Paye Arts Centre, which was founded by Oliver Mtukudzi in 2003, launched his second album PaShangara at Jazz 105 in Harare on Tuesday 26 November.

I had no idea what to expect from a jazz album launch except jazz music of course. The only album launch I had ever been to was a hip hop one so I was pretty excited as I walked into Jazz 105 for the very first time. The sound of Lira playing in the background while we waited for the launch to start gave me a happy and warm feeling although I would have loved to hear something local. After all it was a local album launch.

Munya Mataruse

Munya Mataruse

 

The event which was supposed to start at 18:30hrs started an hour and a half late but it was worth the wait. Opening acts were performed by the talented Donald Kanyuchi, who played both the harmonica and guitar simultaneously,  and Munya Nyamarebvu. I loved how Donald would play the guitar with one hand while dancing. Both artists are from Pakare Paye Arts Centre. Without a doubt these young cats from Pakare Paye are going to give a lot of musicians a run for their money.

The moment Munya strung his guitar he had the audience dancing. He performed  a few songs from his first album such as hondo ihondo, which was the crowd’s favourite song, before giving us songs from his new album. He did not just perform songs for his audience, he engaged with the audience and even had Alick Macheso and Jah Prayzah, who were  guest artists,  on stage with him for a bit of fun. Ammara Brown and of course the great Oliver Mtukudzi were also among the guest artists present. Earlier on when I arrived at the venue I had seen Munya at the entrance and he seemed like just another random guy but seeing him on stage was different. There was passion in his eyes and his smile reflected the joy in his heart at that very moment. He is not only talented but loves what he does and that goes further than just having talent.

The guest of honour Amai Daisy Mtukudzi looked stunning in her gold and brown dress that matched her husband’s outfit. She was so proud of Munya. In her speech she said “… kuita rombe kuda, ma gitare haaitise urombe. If you work hard and put God first zvinhu zvinokufambira…” She urged Munya to stay humble and respectful. Tuku did not give a speech but you could tell he was happy with the performances on stage. He was even dancing a little in his seat.

Alick Macheso and his wife presented hampers to Baba na Amai Mtukudzi courtesy of Jazz 105 and Chippaz Promotions. Alick Macheso by the way had the crowd in stitches every now and then with his jokes. Other familiar faces at the launch were Witness Matema and Hazvineyi Sakarombe to mention a few. For some odd reason the Master of Ceremony kept calling Munya, ‘Matarutse’ instead of Mataruse.  If you’re going to be the MC at least make an effort to get the names right my guy.

The decor was disappointing. It looked like a wedding reception. The flowers on the table were beautiful but wrong for the occasion. They were the type of flowers you would take to hospital to see a sick relative or the ones you take to a funeral.  The turnout was great but because of where the stage was it seemed as if only a few people attended the launch. Jazz 105 should consider restructuring their stage area as it only allows a few people to see what is going on stage and as a result everyone was squashed in one corner of the whole building and the rest of the building appeared empty.

Overall, it was a great night and certainly not bad for my first jazz album I also caught up with a few friends and fans of Munya as I was leaving and they loved every minute of it. Paddy Tongai Nyikadzino and his friends bought CDs and t-shirts and seemed to be having an awesome time.

Munya’s first CD was auctioned at USD1000.00 pledged by Wilson Phirima. We still don’t know whether that money made it to Munya.

You can however get yourself a copy of Pashangara at Jazz 105 for just USD5.00 only. Norton the launch is coming your way on Wednesday the 1st of December 2013. Skweya skweya!

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Michelle Phiri is a budding blogger.