Gudu back after a decade

01 Sep, 2012 - 00:09 0 Views
Gudu back after a decade

The Chronicle

The song was a product of two Bulawayo musicians, Calvin Gudu and Muzi Mangena, who are now based in the United Kingdom.


Saturday Leisure caught up with Calvin who is riding on the release of his single Great after more than a decade sabbatical.

Great is a very polished product with an African feel.

Calvin, together with his brother Chris, was also part of the group Matonto, which also did very well regionally with songs like Umendo.

The mention of Calvin reminds Zimbabwean music fans of chart busters like Tombofara, ncwam ncwam and Angeke. Though the beat was arguably international, it had an African feel.

The singer, songwriter and producer, who now runs Praise Worth Records where this song Great was produced said the song has a clear international feel.

His album Above All which is poised to make an impact on the emerging sound of modern Christian music, will be released next month.

“I guess it’s the exposure to more genres of music here in UK, Europe and US and also working with artistes from different countries, hence the wider sound.

“On this track there is little Zimbabwean and Africa, but in the album there are some subtle, but authentic home signatures. I think people will find the mixture quite refreshing.”

Calvin said the message in the single in which he talks of being able to do “the impossible through Christ,” was inspired by what he experienced in life.

“Life can be overwhelming with its never-ending challenges and I found that I am only human and could only do so much. So in reading the Word of God, I got very excited at the power that I possess once I am in line with the Word and rely on him for strength to do what would otherwise be impossible.

“So yes, I feel strong as I rely on Christ. I see results of this everyday. It’s a truly working formula for me. It can work for anyone who believes,” he said.

Calvin said he had made great strides in his effort to develop his music.

“I have been developing our record label Praise Worth Records, the studio and our film production, SaFrankie Films, the company that made our Great video,” he said.

The single has been well received at churches, conferences and corporate events around the United Kingdom.

Calvin said since its release on 12 August, Great had enjoyed extensive play on worldwide web-based radio stations fast gaining popularity among the Christian community.

Calvin said he was putting together the album Above All with the help of Los Angeles Grammy Award winning mixing engineer, Matthew Marrin.

The former Milton High School pupil said since collaborating with Muzi on Tombofara, he has not worked with anyone else.

“However on my new record I have worked with other musicians from UK, US, SA, Israel, Poland and Italy.

“I have been blessed to work with multi-Grammy Award winner, Marrin of Los Angeles on my project.

Marrin is one of the best engineers who mix for Chaka Khan, Usher, Tyrese, Trey Songs, Janet Jackson to name just a few.

“His services are in high demand throughout the world but he managed to find time for our project. A great guy to have in my team,” the singer said.

He said he also works with another Grammy winner, Gavin Lurssen of Lurssen Mastering in US.

Calvin added, “Now, he is something else with a string of Hollywood blockbuster projects. It’s all God’s favour to have these wonderful artistes honouring Praise Worth Records and I like that.”

He said his studio has also teamed up with artistes from South Africa’s Liquideep stable.

Calvin works with his wife, Sima, whom he said is the integral part of the team at the record company.

“One of the most important people in this project is my wife Sima, who is my executive producer. Now this woman knows how to shape a record,” he said.

Calvin said the music he grew up listening to influenced his music.

“I grew up listening to Freedom Sengwayo and Brian Sibalo, Jim Reeves, Slim Whitman at home. So that is my music background or roots,” he said.

Calvin said because of programmes like Hits Pick and Mvengemvenge, he found himself enjoying pop music.

“The presenters were also amazing then, so even if you might have not liked the song by the time John Matinde, Josh Makawa, PJ, Musi Khumalo, Yvonne Marimo or Hitman finished introducing a new tune, you found yourself enjoying the vibe. But somehow I missed gospel music all along, so here I am, back home,” the singer said

Calvin said they were doing rounds on the UK promotional tour and then Europe but the big event was the show back home in Zimbabwe.

Beside music, Calvin was heavily involved in advertising production during his school days with New World Music headed by Geoff Sedgwick. At the same time he was in the Milton High School marimba band.

He said when he moved to the UK, he worked on a number of commercial projects before teaming up with Nono Mkwananzi, Simelweyinkosi Mlaphisane and his brother Chris to form Matonto.

Asked how he felt after Tombofara took the nation by storm, he said “The Tombofara thing just happened. There was no formula to it. It had its own life. I think the main thing was that we were young but managed to appeal to all age groups,” he said.

Calvin said when he decided to work on the song which turned out to be Tombofara, his partner, Muzi was on a tour of Denmark and he was taking a month’s break after one year of live performances and workshops there.

“So I suggested that we do a song. I had no idea what the song would be, but by 5pm I started messing with some chords and began to lay an R and B music bed,” the singer said.

He said when Muzi arrived in the UK they hit the studio and began to write for their imaginary brides.

“I wrote the music and both Muzi and I wrote the verses. Muzi did a large part of the lead vocal arrangements while I arranged the backing vocals. I produced the overall track,” Calvin said.

The Bulawayo-born singer said when the song hit the airwaves, the feeling was incredible.

“The response was simply unbelievable. We don’t own Tombofara any more. It’s the people’s song now. Really without the people of Zim, the newspapers, Radio 2 and 3 and the presenters the song would not have that popular,” he said.

He paid homage to the late Dinx Mabena who organised the group’s premier performance at the National Gallery in Bulawayo.

“That was a good show and we later spread to other towns like Harare and I cannot forget such people,” he said.

The musician said he has been following the country’s music scene and said Zimbabweans were incredibly talented.

“I hear some pretty amazing stuff both in vernacular and English. There is a flair of freshness that is abundant in my country. Amongst countless gifted younger artistes, I particularly like what Mr (Sanii) Makhalima’s Umsindo Records is doing for the new generation.

“Our radio is getting massive hey! I am very excited about Star FM and ZiFM in particular, but most of all I am grateful to ZBC who made us who we are today,” he said.

He added that he sees Zimbabwean music going places and the world receiving it well once there is a solid music export formula back home.

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