Oliver Mtukudzi made the cover of Time magazine, the only Zim musician to do so, and one of very few in Africa.
With now exiled Thomas Mapfumo, in the 70s, when they were both part of the group Wagon Wheels.
Zimbabwe music legend Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi has released a record 65th album, the launch of which coincided with his 64th birthday celebrations.
The album was released at a “by invitation only” party at Pakare Paye Arts Centre, in Harare, Zimbabwe, marking a great milestone in the musician’s illustrious career.
The 12-track Eheka! Nhai Yahwe features South African jazz legend Hugh Masekela who collaborated with Tuku on Bhiza RaMambo and Kusateerera, as well as Afropop gospel singer and Muvhango actress Maduvha Madima, who contributed to the track Ndinecha.
Tuku also featured his wife, Daisy, on Haasi Masanga.
The music legend said his marriage to Daisy was not coincidental.
“The things that happen in our lives are not random, or coincidences. Our lives go according to God’s plan. Even getting married to my wife was not a random event,” said Tuku.
“We did not meet by chance, and for us to be alive and together until this day, haasi masanga, (it’s not by chance). God had a plan for us long before we met.”
A cultural icon, Mtukudzi’s music touches people across generations in different ways with his strong social messages appealing for respect, restraint, tolerance, self-discipline, peace and celebration of the good things in life.
The release of his 65th album could just be a formality as the album was unveiled in South Africa recently, and pirated copies have flooded the local market.
Nevertheless, Tuku has every reason to celebrate a life in which he has led by example and inspired many young musicians.
He is a star who has exhibited that music can be lucrative business, while his investments and lifestyle have crushed the yesteryear notion that nothing good can come out of a musician.
Getting into music in the 1970s, at a time when most parents would chide their children for mentioning anything related to such a career, Tuku has grown into an icon.
True to his totem, Nzou Samanyanga (elephant), he has stood as a giant in the music jungle, guiding young artists through his Pakare Paye Arts Centre and sharing valuable notes with established singers.
As a brand ambassador, he has represented the country at various international platforms and done much humanitarian work beyond the stage.
As he celebrated his birthday, many stakeholders in the arts industry, his corporate partners and music fans at large celebrated with him.
National Arts Council of Zimbabwe director Elvas Mari said he admired Tuku for being a role model to young artists and that there was so much to celebrate about another year of life.
“He has been a champion for the arts sector and the country at large. He has been a role model for artists across genres and he is leading by example,” he said.
“I admire his social responsibility activities and what he has done through his Pakare Paye Arts Centre.
“We are happy to have such an artist in the country and we wish him many more blessed years.”
Musician Suluman Chimbetu, who has collaborated with Tuku on songs and shared the stage with him on several occasions, said he was happy to have learnt a lot from the man who has seen it all in the music industry.
“He is my father in the music industry and I am happy to celebrate with him.
“We have shared a lot and he always inspires me to work hard.
“He is a father figure to the whole music industry and you can tell from the number of collaborations he has done, he is willing to work with everyone.
“I say ‘happy birthday to you Samanyanga’,” said Suluman.
After his concert held last Friday at Borrowdale Manor in Harare, the Wasakara hit-maker was due to tour South Africa, to perform in three shows as part of his 64th birthday celebrations.
Tuku was due to hold two shows in Cape Town and one in Durban backed by South African-based Shame “Shamie” Mabvudzi and several other supporting acts.
The launch of his 65th album puts Tuku in a rare group of artists who have had the most album releases, be they studio albums or live performances.
When he wasn’t gallivanting around Las Vegas in a jumpsuit or chilling at Graceland with a cheeseburger, Elvis Presley was making albums like there was no tomorrow.
Until his death in 1977, The King of Rock released over 60 albums, including numerous collections and soundtracks.
The legendary Frank Zappa released 119 albums, with 100 studio albums, 13 compilations and six rock operas and bootlegs.
Of those albums, 38 were released after his death in 1993. Another, Dance Me This, is due to be released this month.
Johnny Cash released 167 albums, although 104 of them are compilations (making him the official compilation heavyweight champion of the world).
Cash also churned out 55 studio albums, on top of presenting his own TV show, playing shows for prisoners around the US and leading a life worthy of an Oscar-winning film.