Muso’s use of Mtukudzi guitar hits sour note with family
But Ashton 'Mbeu' Nyahora says it's no big deal and, besides, the late jazz crooner's wife gave him her blessing
A musician who was close to Zimbawean jazz musician Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi has fallen out of favour with the family after he used the late legend’s most prized music instrument – an acoustic guitar – at a festival in Cape Town.
Ashton “Mbeu” Nyahora performed some of Mtukudzi’s songs at the Cape Town International Jazz Festival that ran from March 29 to 30. The festival was one of Mtukudzi’s favourite gigs to perform at.
“He’s not one of us, but he was allowed to play our father’s guitar? We are not happy at all,” said daughter Sandra Mtukudzi.
She and her sister Selmor have been hosting “thank you” gigs, called Selmor Mtukudzi and Friends – Tuku Music Lives On Concert, in their father’s honour, and both toured with him at some point in their own music careers.
Mbeu’s manager, Eugene Museredza, said the artist used the guitar because it was one of many available from Mtukudzi’s arts centre, Pakare Paye.
He used it to make sure his performances had the same sound as those of the late crooner.
“My artists normally use steel strings but the legend [Mtukudzi] used nylon. As such, when playing Tuku’s music, there is a need to use that particular instrument. We didn’t know it would come to this. Besides, his widow, Daisy, gave us the blessing,” he said.
Mbeu said he was very close to Mtukudzi, especially after his son Sam died in 2010.
“He believed in me more than I could believe myself. I grew up at his arts centre and I know his music very well – that’s why I have been part of at least two gigs in his honour after his death. The Black Spirits [Mtukudzu’s band] manager Walter Wanyaya is the one who asked me to help with the Cape Town gig,” said Mbeu.
The Mtukudzi extended family gathered on Sunday at the family’s homestead in Madziva, Mashonaland Central, where he was buried. There, they divided up and shared his personal belongings.
The family is said to still be in discussions about how his music legacy will be managed in future.
Mtukudzi, who died in January aged 66 in a Harare hospital after a long battle with diabetes, said on his death bed that he wanted his family to unite amid a lot of infighting, a nephew told Zimbabwe’s Sunday Mail.