HomeStandard PeopleMatulana’s music stands the test of time

Matulana’s music stands the test of time

It’s approaching dusk at a rural service centre in Matabeleland South and revellers packed in one of a handful of liquor outlets at the centre clamour for encore for an “old school” track. The song is replayed and nearly all, both old and young take to the dance floor.

By Nomuzi Mtunzi

Obediah Matulana
Obediah Matulana

Musician, Obediah Matulana could be long-forgotten in other parts of the country, but in the past three decades he has proved to be the magic wand for music lovers, especially in the Matabeleland region. His music stands the test of time and is followed like a religion, making it the preferred playlist at beer outlets, family gatherings and weddings.

The song, Divorce Number 1, which he released in 1988 and became an instant hit in the country is still popular among merrymakers.

With 19 albums under his belt, the 53-year-old musician believes he is still in the game and has something to offer to his legion of followers. He recently released his latest offering, a reggae album titled My Family Comes First.

“I just released my 19th album titled My Family Comes First and I also re-released the album Gawula & Various Kanindo Music. I re-released this album after I realised that revenue from it had not benefitted us as the band,” he said.

“We have embarked on selling our music on the streets to evade piracy. I am selling my music in Bulawayo and that is the only way I can get revenue and sustain my career.”

Matulana, who is popularly known as Dr Jah Kanindo, produced the albums working alongside Nigel Gweshe of G Quality Studios in Bulawayo.

The album Gawula & Various Kanindo Music which contains 11 tracks and the album Val’ umlomo — a seven-track project — were initially produced on cassettes, but due to public demand, Matulana reproduced them on CDs.

Matulana said releasing DVDs had given impetus to his music, boosting his popularity locally and in South Africa.

His debut DVD titled Joshua Nkomo, was released in 2014 and carries tracks such as Divorce Number 1, Testing Ground, I am Sorry, Asambeni Ekhaya, Sathane and the title track.

“The DVDs are of good quality and were shot in South Africa. They are doing well in Zimbabwe and South Africa which is something that I commend for my fans and all those who love music,” he said.

The age-defying artist, who is backed by the Jet Sounds, made his grand entrance in the music industry in 1988 with the single Divorce Number 1, having worked under the shadows of the late Solomon Skuza and Ndux Malax.

After releasing Divorce Number 1, Dr Jah Kanindo never looked back and released chat after chat, including hits such as Omazakhela and Asambeni Ekhaya. Of late he has fused his kanindo beat and reggae to come up with a unique Afro sound.

“I never looked back after releasing Divorce Number 1 and I have worked with great artists such as Skuza, Ndux Malax, Martin Ndlovu and Search Brothers, Mukoma Ketai Muchawaya, Leornad Dembo, Christopher Shoko, Ebony Sheik and Albert Nyathi, among others when we performed at different places across the country,” he said.

Matulana has had sold-out shows in Plumtree, Bulawayo, Hwange, Victoria falls, Gwanda and Beitbridge.

He said he has groomed his sons Mthabisi and Mthulisi who are now part of the Jet Sounds.

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