The Sunday News
Bruce Ndlovu, Sunday Life Reporter
LAST week, Ammara Brown released Loyal, her first single released in 2019.
With a bouncy beat and a catchy chorus, the song is a strong indication of her ambitions this year, a year in which she now looks set to continue her reign as one of the most sought after female talents on the country’s urban music scene.
Ever since she relocated to the bright lights of Johannesburg in South Africa, Ammara has made her ambitions pretty clear. She has conquered Zimbabwe and has her eyes firmly set on taming the rest of the continent.
Stardom in Zimbabwe and stardom in the rest of Africa are quite different and Ammara will need her hard work and talent to match her ambition if she is to become the continental icon that she clearly craves to be.
Songs like Loyal, with dance inducing beats and easy to remember lyrics certainly stand her in good stead as she forges ahead with her career.
Meanwhile, only a week before that song, another female Zimbabwean artiste who has looked ripe for superstardom over the last few years, Selmor Mtukudzi, held a gig in remembrance of her late legendary father.
It was not the first gig of its kind, but what stood out perhaps about this one were the utterances of Selmor’s mother and Tuku’s first wife, Melody Murape, after her daughter had once again put up an admirable display in front of a sizeable crowd.
“From what I have witnessed at this concert I am satisfied that Selmor is carrying forward her father’s music legacy. Through her performance alongside her sister Sandra I believe Selmor has been anointed by her father,” she said.
“I was not expecting such a crowd. I want to thank Zimbabweans for the support. They should keep on supporting her so that Tuku’s music will not die as long as Selmor is there. Selmor has shown the presence of her father. I wanted to cry because it felt like it was Tuku playing. I believe it is him (Tuku) who is blessing his daughters. Sandra’s dressing really surprised me. She resembled Oliver Mtukudzi,” she reportedly told the media.
Ever since the death of Tuku, Murape has been more visible than she was in the past. This is perhaps because as the battle for Mtukudzi’s legacy continues, she believes that she protects her children’s interests by making her voice heard.
Selmor on the other hand, seems to be content to let the music do the talking which is commendable.
The most worrying thing however, has been how talk of Tuku’s music and legacy is now drowning Selmor’s voice, a voice that had seemed to have fluency on its own away from her father’s massive shadow.
Like Ammara the first thing that grabbed people’s attention about Selmor was that she is a child of one of Zimbabwe’s most illustrious musicians. A surname like Mtukudzi or Brown is bound to attract attention of star-struck Zimbabwe and one can dare say that these two reaped the rewards that the attention brought earlier on in their careers.
While other artistes might struggle for recognition earlier on in their careers, these two already had a little push to get them going because of their fathers’ reputation. Some names open doors and perhaps sometimes, as a Brown or a Mtukudzi, these two did not even need to knock before some doors were thrown wide open. For other artistes, with surnames that do not make music industry insiders jump, the only option is to break the doors down.
As vital as the fame that was at the time, where they brought about by their names was at the time, the way their careers progressed after those privileged beginnings is admirable. Without hitching a ride on the rich catalogues of their fathers, they managed to emerge as the poster girls of the Zimbabwean music scene.
In the space of a few years, the fact that they were the daughters of Zimbabwe’s most famous musicians was now just merely an afterthought. Their identities were no longer defined by the surnames that they carried.
Ammara has continued down this path and now looks primed for further success on her own terms. Songs like Loyal owe almost nothing to her fathers’ catalogue, a catalogue dominated by a rich blend of traditional instruments and his dominant guitar riffs.
Until her father’s death, Selmor’s career had seemed to be following a similar trajectory. Oliver Mtukudzi’s catalogue is perhaps the richest in the Zimbabwean music scene and one can understand why everyone is scrambling to get a piece of it. Like the Chimbetus’ Dendera, there will likely be many pretenders to the Tuku Musik throne. As the months roll by, many princes and princesses will rise to claim parts of the vast kingdom the great Tuku left behind when he passed away.
However, for Selmor, one wonders if she is sacrificing who she is for the sake of pursuing her father’s legacy. Selmor could already turn heads without basking in the bright light cast by Tuku’s music.
Does it mean that her own music, her own identity will now take a back seat because she is, according to Melody, Tuku’s anointed heir? Music lovers have notoriously short memories these days and as the months roll by, one wonders if there shall come a time when memorial gigs do not attract the attention that they currently do.
Perhaps the memorial gigs interest people because they add new juicy storylines to the on-going Mtukudzi family soap opera. Before long, Selmor might need to step back, take a glance at Ammara and chart her own path.