BLegendary musician Thomas ‘Mukanya’ Mapfumo ‘s history is one that is decorated by wonderful music but in the midst of the good vibes, in that husky voice has been some of the most frank, seemingly stubborn views.
Mukanya’s utterances have not always been bliss to many.
Most of his views have caused discomfort amongst many and just a few weeks ago the musician was at his rabble-rousing best.
Speaking on national television, the Chimurenga music star caused quite a stir when he declared that only he and the late Oliver Mtukudzi were international artists also suggesting that the likes of Macheso were ‘local’ artists only known as far as United Kingdom.
The statements did not go down well with the multitudes of Macheso fans and some neutrals, with some labelling Mukanya as disrespectful, stubborn and out of depth forcing the musician to issue an apology.
In a five minute video, Mukanya declares his love for Macheso but called out his management for their failure to propel the sungura stars profile.
Alick Macheso has been in the musical gullies since he released the album Magariro in 1998, his musical journey has been a flourishing one going from strength to strength.
Macheso’s music fits the bill to cross beyond his traditional hunting grounds and dare the American, North African, Asian turf amongst many, after all who wouldn’t want to watch the fiery bassist play, or that moment when he slaps the strings with his towel, the amazing dance antics all spiced with good vocals!
The brand seems ripe but he still is confined to the United Kingdom, South Africa and maybe once in a while Botswana, Dubai and Australia. Maybe Mukanya was right after all!
When Bhundu Boys crossed the great divide and took their music to the United Kingdom, their journey was made possible by a combination from good management and fruitful links.
Though their first abroad trip was not as planned, the links with producer at Shed Studios Steve Roskilly ,UK based Discafrique Owen Elias and Doug Veith made it possible for them to make the historical trip.
Sharing the same record label with Madonna and Dire Straits or even performing at Wembley stadium as an opening act for Madonna did not happen by luck , it took the great work of one Gordon Muir who managed to sign the Bhundu Boys with Warner (WEA) records.
Management is key in an artiste’s career and when it come to the international market one needs a competent manager that is able to turn venture into the global village.
In the here and now, Macheso’s brand is not getting as much equity as it deserves.
Good music is useless if it’s not handled well and put in its right market place, it takes a good manager and good business links.
One wonders why the Macheso camp has not worked with Norwegian Eirik Hoff Walmsness, a self-confessed Macheso fan.
Eirik Hoff Walmsness is not a regular Macheso fan, but an accomplished musician with a lot of stage hours with many links with festival organisers and music stakeholders.
A partnership with Walmsness could grow the Macheso brand for an instance a well recorded duet on Norwegian popular social media sites can bring the much needed international publicity for Alick Macheso.
Macheso should understand that his brand is now big enough and he needs a management team that understand the need for growing the brand and fostering proper business partnerships rather than being just booking agents.
Granted, the sungura star has had a few endorsements but he must utilize them to the fullest.
For instance the Red Cross is an international organization and through his association he must look at ways of getting into more international markets on that brand not just the United Kingdom.
The difference between Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Mokoomba and the rest is in the management and their prolife attest to the importance of the role of a good manager.
When Debbie Metcalfe took over affairs at Tuku Music, the late natyional hero Oliver Mtukudzi became an even bigger star and he dared new markets reaffirming a legendary status that still live even beyond his grave.
It is high time Alick Macheso enlist the services of a manager that is willing to take the burden and grow the brand beyond its current influence.
Our music industry doesn’t make it easy since we do not have true record labels in the mould of Sony BMG, Afrotainment or Virgin records that do the marketing part for their artists, thus the manager should be in the gullies and grow Macheso brand.
Mukanya might be a known rabble –rouser and sometimes seems to suffer from verbal diarrhoea but in his rantings is a bit of sense.
Maybe just maybe, Mukanya was right after all, Macheso needs a fresh switched on management team.