United Kingdom music fans were disappointed after sungura musician Alick Macheso failed to turn up for the Leicester Athena show where he was supposed to share the stage with Chimurenga music star Thomas Mapfumo last week on Saturday.
By Nel Katsande in UK
Phab Entertainment, promoters of the show, failed to explain why Macheso failed to turn up despite being billed to perform. The build-up to the show was marred by controversy that at some point, Mapfumo indicated that he had pulled out of the gig, only to make himself available at the 11th hour.
In a post on social media a day before the gig, Chimurenga Music spokesperson Blessing Vava said the Vanhu Vatema singer was no longer flying to Leicester, citing contractual misunderstandings.
However, Mapfumo managed to fly to the UK from his American base where he gave a vintage act before a full house.
It was the absence of Macheso that did not go down well with fans; most who had bought advanced tickets anticipating to be reconnected with the sungura maestro.
In a statement, Macheso’s publicist team had their reasons for not travelling to the UK.
“Every opportunity to interact with our fans across the world is treasured and it is with regret that we announce the cancelling of our weekend UK gig. Much of the preparatory work had been done and we were hoping to get our visas by the beginning of this week so that we travel in time for the weekend affair. However, some unforeseen technicalities worked against this ideal and for that reason we were not able to travel to the UK,” said the statement that was made available a day before the show.
“We take this opportunity to apologise to all our fans and stakeholders who were looking forward to enjoy the original sungura sound with us. Orchestra Mberikwazvo is your brand of choice and without your support, we have no place in local arts. It is our hope that the challenges faced will be rectified so that we are able to hold the envisaged show in the not so distant future. Keep supporting us and may the Lord keep you in all you do. Above all, remember to stay true to yourself and keep the love going.”
UK-based Zimbabwean music promoters have been found wanting when it comes to hosting shows. In most cases, either shows are cancelled at the 11th hour or artists are not paid their dues.
Away from the controversy, Mapfumo proved that he is still a force to reckon with and defied his age by presenting a five-star performance.
One of the fans who attended the show, Joseph Vengayi, said he was happy that the Chimurenga music maestro was still calling the shots.
“I cancelled my work shift to attend this show. It was really a great show and Mukanya is still at his best,” he said.