Nyemudzai Kakore Entertainment Reporter
Marshall Munhumumwe a social evangelist in most of his musical lyrics fronted the Four Brothers group for two and a half decades before suffering from severe stroke and passed on in 2001. His music instigated and evoked behavioural change towards social calamities which befalls the human race.
To mention one of the group popular hits, Mbereko Yakaramba which is an advisory song to the community to accept the will of the almighty on child bearing before entering into the game of mudslinging between a wife, husband and the family members.
Rudo Imoto released as a single advised women to steadfastly respect, love their husbands and not neglect themselves to ensure a spark which existed in times of courtship to remain.
This assisted the community there and now to lower the percentages of marriage breakages.
The powerful lyrics in most of his songs witnessed the musical group to rise to the highest margin and managed to conquer the music Industry by touring internationally which now hinders most of the current crop of musicians.
In the history of the musical industry the survival of a group bands has remained insignificant with few exceptions such as the gospel outfit Mahendere brothers and the four brothers themselves. Internationally music groups such as Westlife, Backstreet boys and locally Paxfro failed to stand the taste of time.
Munhumumwe was a nephew of Chimurenga music guru Thomas Mapfumo who helped him to become a drummer-cum-musician par excellence.
In 1977 after leaving his band together with Alex Phiri Chipaika (rhythm guitar and later keyboards), Edward Ulaya Zulu (lead guitar) and Never Mutare on bass, they formed the Mighty Four Brothers and produced one song at Shed Studio in Harare.
The word “brothers” per sir was a stage name which is in contrast with other bands who are blood brothers such as the Mahendere brothers a gospel musical group.
The success of the record helped the group to sign a contract to play at Chikwanha Nightclub in Chitungwiza for a year and moved to Machipisa Nightclub and did a string of recordings which include Adiwa Usamuzvonde and Sara Ugarike which scaled them up the ladder managing to sell over 100 000 records.
With the attainment of Zimbabwe’s independence from the colonial masters Munhumumwe caused a great stir with classics such as “Makorokoto” which went gold. Other songs included Pamusoroi Komuredhi and Zvamauya Tongai Zimbabwe.
The group now persevering into music remained poor and for six years, they still played at Machipisa and the royalties were not enough to buy them a music kit, which is the same fate with most of current musicians who outwardly are popular but cannot earn enough royalties to buy their own equipments.
In 1986 a star shone for the group and was approached by international promoter, Stuart Lyons and by 1987 to 1990 the group had performed in over 10 countries including West Germany, Denmark, Britain, Canada, and Austria.
BBC Radio 1 disc jockey, John Peel championed The Four Brothers and recorded four radio sessions for his show between 1988 and 2000.He described their music as “out of this world”.
After the death of Munhumumwe the group released a hit album ZveHama and music predictors assumed the group will remain intact but conflicts among the band members failed to reach the scale which had been set by Marshall.
Munhumumwes producer/director at Gramma Records Tymon Mabeleka in one of his interviews admitted after the death of the legend that he was simply “in a league of his own” and also urged upcoming artists to rise through originality and hard-work.
Past Radio 2 presenter now Radio Zimbabwe Fidelis Manyange once said “I strongly feel that the music of Munhumumwe should be accorded airplays on national radio and depriving his stuff is more or less the same forgetting our truly Zimbabwean music as he was also a reputable choreographer and social evangelist destined for greater things,”.
Munhumumwe always described as ever-smilling in one of his producer interviews Mabeleka said “his success came out of hard work, resilience and determination,” This juxtaposes most of urban grooves who lacks originality and entertain fans by playing background music in a live setting.
A reunion in 2007 between James Nyamandi who became the provisional lead vocalist after the death of Marshall and the only surviving Four Brothers member Frank Sibanda was set to materialise. This never happened until Sibanda passed on in 2010 leaving most fans hoping Nyamandi could relieve the band’s name.
In 2012 Nyamandi released an album titled “Marambadoro”with The Four Brothers as his backing group.
He was ordered not to use the name Four Brothers by Marshall Jnr who through the family lawyer filed a lawsuit for using the name without the families consent.
Marshal Jnr who was once reported to be in the butchery business said, “The storm is now over.We had a successful meeting here in Chitungwiza”.
Nyamandi responded saying, “I thought I was keeping the late Marshals legacy alive, but it looks like I was wrong and I have to avoid unnecessary trouble,” he said.
However not all daughters and sons of legends have the ability to relieve the legacies left behind with few exceptions such as Suluman Chimbetu who have managed to break the music industry by storm. Peter Moyo although he struggled at first to sing has managed to create a household name for himself.