On Friday, August 17 the legendary ‘King of Zimbabwean music’ Oliver Mtukudzi headlined the HOZA 2012 show at London’s IndigO2.
The HOZA 2012 initiative was put together in order to showcase the best musical talent from southern Africa during the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The line-up included the fabulous talent of London-based singer Cynthia Mare and Zimbabwean mbira player and singer Busi Ncube among others as the warm-up.
The crowd was sadly thin, but Ncube had the modest crowd up and dancing before Mtukudzi hit the stage. Based in Oslo, Ncube sings in six different languages and has recorded 13 albums during her career, making her an impressive warm-up act.
As Mtukudzi launched into his set, he was immediately greeted by excited applause and cheering. His husky voice and acoustic guitar sound haven’t changed much over the years and he clearly demonstrated why he is still one of southern Africa’s biggest stars. His performance was stellar, but his dancing was brilliant. Mtukudzi may not be the spring chicken he was when he became famous in the late 70s, but he can still move!
Before the anticipated encore, Mtukudzi was presented with an honorary award for his service to music and charity. First, however, the audience was forced to listen to a lengthy introduction to American boxer Evander Holyfield, who was to present the award. The increasingly bored crowd started chanting “Tuku! Tuku!” and the award ceremony was hastily hurried along.
As an electrifying finale, Mtukudzi and his band were joined on stage by Shingai Shoniwa, of Noisettes fame. The Zimbabwean-born rising rock star said of Mtukudzi: ‘I grew up listening to a lot of Tuku music and watching his evocative acting performance in the women’s rights movie Neria. I am honoured and humbled to be afforded the opportunity to stand next to the great music giant. That alone to me is a dream come true.’