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Music does not pay: Dino

Musician Dino Mudondo is indeed a patient man. Had it not been for his passion for music, he could have quit a long time ago.

By Jairos Saunyama

He is a man of dreams, and after releasing 18 albums in his music career, he still needs 22 more. He is no longer after money, but is advocating for a place in the Hall of Fame.

The 37-year-old, who describes himself as the “best wedding musician” in the country because of his songs that are laden with love lyrics, said he used more than $36 000 to release albums and has received nothing in return, all because of piracy.

Mudondo, a self-confessed high school dropout, said God is the one who is ensuring that he secures funds to keep him afloat as far as releasing albums was concerned.

“Handisati ndaitawo mazimari nemusic [I haven’t made much money from music] even though I use close to $2 000 to produce an album. I have 18 albums. At JP Studio [music stable owned by musician Jah Prayzah] it cost $150 to record a song. I need producer fees and instrumentalists also need to be paid, among many others who contribute in the process,” he said.

“This means 18 albums multiplied by $2 000, which makes it $36 000. It is a very big investment. I hope and pray every day that one fine day I will get paid the same way. That is why I write songs every day, I have faith kuti iye jehovha anondipa simba rekushanda kuti ndifinancer this dream haasi benzi nerimwe zuva ndinechivimbo ndichatambidzwa korona [God who gives me strength to work hard to finance my music career is not a fool, he will also reward me one day].

“Faith pays, for more than a decade I have been in this music game but I still haven’t been rewarded for all my efforts.

“I have got a dream that I am going to make it to a legendary status and if there is a chance, I am going to take it. If my Dr Tuku [Oliver Mtukudzi] only made it with his 40th album Tuku Music, I feel with 18 albums under my name I am in the right direction.”

In an interview with The Standard Style, Mudondo said despite holding shows, he hasn’t secured meaningful revenue from music to keep him afloat.

“The money we get from live shows is to sustain the band and a little to keep the vibe alive. Otherwise I have a second job whose income I use to look after my band. If we do not get well paying gigs, I have a family to look after as well. So this man got to work hard to see his dream of becoming Zimbabwe’s biggest artist come true,” he said.

The musician, whose genre is a fusion of reggae and kwasa kwasa music, said his partnership with Willom Tight was formidable. Together they toured Zimbabwe, leaving unforgettable marks wherever they performed.
According to Mudondo, the split with Tight was “necessitated by a career change” that saw the Makhoikhoi singer going solo in 2006.

Mudondo released a chain of albums between 2006 and 2014 before taking a short break.

Some of his albums include Makorokoto (2002), Makoikoi (2003), Nganganga (2004), Winning and Dining (2004), Dino (2004), Mhemberero (2005) and Rastakwasa (2006), among others.

Meanwhile, the musician is currently working on a new album titled Sando which will be released next month.

“It feels great to be back. I am heading to the top after a short break from public performances due to some misfortunes in my life, like the loss of my father who used to double up as my manager. Being the first born in a family of four I was left with a lot of responsibilities like the running of our farm and a timber business I used to co-run with my father and so on,” he said.

“But it is the microphone that kept on calling back on stage and i just couldn’t resist the callings from my loyal fans to come back and sing for them, hence the release of my latest album Sando. I have also partnered with I do Company, which specialises in wedding events, as their chief wedding entertainer which has seen me getting more wedding bookings.”

The eight-track album Sando includes the title track, a powerful reggae wedding song, Chenaimoyo which is a melo-tuned sound for those who enjoy some lovers’ rock. Zvakanga Zvakawoma talks about the hardships couples can go through in building happy relationships and Usazokanganwa Kupfeka is an Aids awareness song edging youths to abstain and the old to use protection.

Born in New Canaan, Highfield, Dino went to Rusvingo Primary School before enrolling at Ellis Robin High School for his secondary education. He dropped out of school while doing Lower Six to pursue music.

He did an LCCI diploma at Open Learning Centre and worked for several timber companies in the field of marketing.

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