Tawanda Marwizi Arts Correspondent
Alick Macheso and Nicholas “Madzibaba” Zakaria split in 1997, but memories of their old days when they worked together as Khiama Boys seem to keep them close.
They might have bitter memories that sometimes seem to make them rivals, yet when they share their sweet experiences, a wave of warmth seems to engulf them.
They rocked the local music industry with great albums and many people have been awaiting their combination in the studio, which will come in the form of a duet to feature on Zakaria’s forthcoming album.
Last year, the pair and another member of old Khiama Boys, Zakaria Zakaria, came together in the studio and the recording is expected to take people down memory lane.
It will take people back to the days when Madzibaba led Khiama Boys with Macheso as the bassist and revered guitarist Zakaria Zakaria as the rhythmist.
Their separation opened a can of worms and various theories were propounded.
Almost 19 years down the line, the memories have kept the two close, despite their relationship that had its ups and downs.
Their combination has stood the test of time as they deliver good performances whenever they stage joint shows.
The group became a force in the local music industry with hit songs like “Mabhawuwa”, “Chikara”, “Mabvi Nemagokora”, “Kubva Kure” and “Ndine Mubvunzo” among others.
After their separation, promises to release a joint album have gone on for many years and this year people will be able to hear their first studio project in almost 20 years.
Recently, the two artistes went for a photo shoot ahead of Madzibaba’s album launch and they both opened up on their relationship.
Macheso revealed how they would spend days on tour, surviving on few drinks and a loaf of bread.
“We would spend four weeks in the jungle. Our tours would separate us with our families for a month or more than that. Those days we would perform in different parts of the country,” he said.
He said Zaka was their favourite hunting ground where they met the late Fanuel “System” Tazvida who later joined the group.
Whenever they performed in Zaka they would meet him at a venue that had a man who was good at “braaing”.
“We would meet at Gango and we named the guy who would braai for us Mberikwazvo. That’s how we met Tazvida but he was not into music by then,” he said.
Madzibaba said they have refreshing memories as they were brothers who worked very hard to please their fans.
“I was strict to the end I would tell them that after the show everyone would go to his room,” he said.
Sometimes they would flop, but they accepted it and move to organise next shows.
It was not an easy journey for the group that was considered one of the best on the local music scene. By then Madzibaba would give Macheso and other members chances to perform while he took a break at most of the live performances. With some of these memories ,the two sungura giants still believe they have unfinished business for their fans despite going different ways.
They believe Madzibaba’s upcoming offering “Takakomborerwa” will remind people of the good old days. The album has also the hand of rhythmist Zakaria Zakaria who was part of Khiama Boys.
“We were together with Zaka Zaka who has recorded three songs including the one with Macheso on bass. We still have a lot to do for our fans out there,” said Madzibaba.
Macheso said the memories cannot be erased by their split and he still owes his success to the grooming he got from Madzibaba.
“The album gives a reflection of our memories together. Back then we were young. Now we have matured musically and people are going to like it,” he said.
Peter Muparutsa who worked with them before the split said nothing much has changed in the way they do their studio work.
“I have worked with them before and all I can say is nothing has changed at all. The songs are really good. To me they have managed to bring back the original sound,” he said.
Madzibaba said, “There is no bad blood between us, we are relatives and that does not change.
“I am happy because that has been my wish always to work together again.”
Zaka Zaka, who released an album recently, said it was good to be back together in the studio.
“It is always good to be back in the studio together. The two (Macheso and Madzibaba) are great artistes,” he said.
The band was formed in Chitungwiza and they have decided to launch the 27th album at Aquatic Complex on April 1. The show will feature artistes from different genres and the launch that is likely to leave lasting memories. The Charambas make a grant comeback to their second home at the launch with contemporary musician Andy Muridzo coming on board.
Freeman, Tocky Vibes, Tryson Chimbetu, Progress Chipfumo, Mechanic Manyeruke and Cindy Munyavi are coming for the launch. A business and arts network called Zimbabwe Business and Arts Hub (ZIBAH) is organising the gig. The organisation chairman Takemore Mazuruse said they have found it proper to assist Zakaria in launching the album.
“As Zibah we want excellence in business and arts therefore we found it proper to have an album launch for one of the sungura musicians who worked hard towards the development of the genre.
All musicians on the poster have confirmed their participation on the big day,’ he said.
Mazuruse said they wanted to work with different musicians who have joined the hub to launch their albums. Several organisations such as Nash Paints, Esteem Communications and Jan Jam have come in to assist the sungura musician. Zakaria said he was happy that there are some musicians and organisations that believe in him and his music.
“This is our first time to have a launch of such magnitude that has support of musicians across genres and organisations.
That alone gives me confidence that some people have confidence in me and the music,” he said.
He is confident that the album will make an impact in people’s lives.
“The album is rich in both lyrics and instruments and we have tried our best to give our market the best,” he added.