#LAReviews | One Night With Oliver “Ollie Tuku” Mtukudzi

It was a night filled with nothing but memories of how good music can bring people together. Music has the power to transcend beyond borders and simplify languages. This was the case end August at Gold Reef City’s The Lyric Theatre as they hosted the legend Oliver Mtukudzi – “Ollie Tuku”, as his fellow Zimbabweans call him.

Opening the night with the “curtain raiser” Hosanna, which is one of his first commercially successful songs he has done, the night’s mood was set. Before going into the catchy tune he takes time to give a brief history of his career – with a career that spans over 30 years, his humor never gets old. Without hiding his age, he shared a familiar feeling with the crowd when he said, “I am 65 and I am a youth” and everyone broke into laughter as he really did show off his youthfull side alongside as he danced around on stage. It is certain that this creative nature, voice and sound is still so unique to the African music scene.

The highlight of the night came when he “brought the house down” to the dance floor with his popular jams such as Neria (which is the soundtrack to a movie Neria (1993) in which he starred in) and “Kurarama huite madiro” as it is popularly known. The songs actual title is called “Mutserendende” and it is a lamentation in comparison to the easy life led by those that came before us. He takes time to educate and touch on issues that are not unique to the black community alone. For instance, in classic “tuku” style, he sang the song “tozeza baba” which is another lamentation of children who are being raised in an abusive household where the father is not only a wife beater but a drunkard. Song ends with the wife telling the husband that she is going to leave him. He also sings “todii” which is about how couples infidelity can lead to infection of the innocent party. It is songs such as these that are the crux of his long illustrious and successful career in music.

With such a humorous personality one has to have charisma and charming attributes. This was shown by his classic dancing skills that are an imitation of his cultural totem “samanyanga” the elephant (Mhukahuru). In show biz style, one would be tempted to say “samanyanga” (the totem) is his alter ego because as soon as he started dancing one would see that any dance he did was an imitation of the elephant’s lifestyle. He had imitated the way it walks, eats and the way it oozes swagger.

All in all, one will not be blamed for a biased rating of this show by awarding it a perfect 10 out of 10. It was a night that I will remember as this was my first Mtukudzi musical show in SA. If I had the power I would dub him SIR Oliver Mtukudzi. However, my power only extends to me calling him the Legendary Oliver Mtukudzi.

Words by Louie-Vincent Office

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