|Have the Crooners hit rock bottom?|
|Monday, 07 March 2011 21:14|
Cool Crooners is one of Zimbabwe's most popular jazz groups that was formed soon after the country got its independence in 1980.
For nearly two decades, the Cool Crooners became a household name and made appearances at different musical forums, where they did extremely well.
Many of their fans are however, now wondering what happened to their fortunes that seem to be on the wane.
There are reports that the eight-member group is now charging only US$100 for a show, a figure that can best be described as pittance.
Our Bulawayo Bureau tracked the group down to try and get some answers on what happened to the money they made during their hey days.
The two founder members of Cool Crooners, Abel Sithole and Lucky Thodhlana had a lot to say about the music industry.
Sithole said as Cool Crooners they had been to places such as United States and France having shows but would not get much from the tours.
At some of the shows, he said, they would charge 25 cents admission fee, making it difficult for them to make meaningful cash from the shows.
"People can conclude that as Cool Crooners we failed as a band but we managed to buy houses for our families.
"During our days we used to get some deals in places like the US but now the promoters were working for certain companies which meant that we had to pay a lot of money," he said.
Sithole said they were not the only group affected but there were several others.
"We had groups like Bundu Boys who got the same deals for international shows but what did they get? - Nothing - as they only agreed to these deals due to over excitement.
"The fact that we were going to America is one that made us overlook other important things like terms of contracts," he said.
Thodhlana said he managed to buy a house and a vehicle from the money that he got from the music industry.
"We might be viewed as failures by a lot of people and we cannot stop people from commenting.
"But I managed to buy a Peugeot 404 which then was a good car and up to now we are still working hard like before.
"Our albums "Blue Sky" and "Isatilo" are being marketed by Sony Records which is an international company," he said.
Thodhlana said to supplement their money from the CDs they staged shows at weddings and other private functions.
"When staging live shows we usually incorporate a live band to spice up our performances.
"We charge at least US$800 per show but as people we negotiate with our customers. So those claims that we are suffering are not true and we work for our families."
Thodhlana said the Cool Crooners had lived on music and would continue to do so and charge fees that are sustainable.
"We know things are hard but we try to negotiate with our customers because they also know that we live on music," he said
Thodhlana said the music industry had its own ups and downs. It was not always about money.
"What we learnt is, in music it is not as rosy as what people think. At times you make money and immediately you become broke," he said.
Thodhlana said because of that life goes on and they are still in the music industry full time.
"As a band we are working on opening a shop so that we can sell our products like CDs, printed T-shirts and coffee mugs as a way of adding to the little that we are getting.
"All this is meant to show that we are still strong and pull through like what other groups of young artistes are doing," he said.