The rise and rise of Sungura King Alick Macheso

The rise and rise of Sungura King Alick Macheso

09 Feburary 2016  – ALICK  Macheso, who is  arguably ‘The King of Sungura and the founder of the popular  Borrowdale Dance says it was the music of the great Devera Ngwena Jazz Band that inspired him to take up the guitar.

Born in 1968, Macheso  started playing the guitar at the tender age of nine despite that everyone in his family did not understand  his interest in playing and making the  banjo.

Since he grew up on a farm in Bindura, there was not much entertainment  fun for the young Macheso.  So apart from going to school, his only other source of entertainment was  his banjo so much that he started to have problems with his grandmother when he started stealing twine strings from fishing rods to make it.

Macheso had to drop out of high school because his father couldn’t afford to pay fees, forcing him to leave school in 1983 and move to , Harare to look for a job.

But finding a formal job wasn’t easy for the young Macheso, especially without  any advanced educational qualifications forcing him to joine Nicholas ‘Madzibaba’ Zakaria’s band the Khiama Boys, in 1984.

With Khiama Boys, in 1984 they released their debut single  Mabhawuwa, which became  an instant hit. Vocals for the song were done by the late System Tazvida. Other musicians who participated include Cephas KUrashanga and Nicholas Zacharia.

Other early hit songs by the Khiama Boys included Kubva Kure’‘Shamiso’, ‘Sekuru Ndibatsireiwo’, ‘Chionai amai’ and ‘Varume Woye’. The Khiama Boys went on to release their debut album Kubva Kure’ .

Macheso rhen left the  band in the late 1990s to form Orchestra Mberikwazvo with the help of Rise Kagona, formerly of Bhundu Boys,  to  make his on a niche in the Zimbabwean music scene.

Although his first two albums, Magaririo in 1998 and Vakiridzo in 1999 were not phenomenal,  his  third album, Simbaradzo, released in 2000, turned out to be a winner selling  350 000 copies, breaking records for album sales and shooting him to stardom, making a  turning point in his career.

His trademark bass strumming technique, along with his flamboyant Borrowdale dance gave Macheso attention from all corners of the music industry. His follow up to Simbaradzo entitled Zvakanaka Zvakadaro’ in 2001 was also a success, reportedly selling 100 000 copies in its first week alone.

In 2003, another album,‘Zvido Zvenyu Kunyanya, was an instant hit and two years later, a follow up album, Vapupuri Pupurai catapulted Macheso onto the international map.

Performances outside Zimbabwe have included the Southern African Summer Sunsplash Festival held in London, England. Alick Macheso  has also played alongside Papa Wemba during the Francophone Week in March 2001.

Macheso’s music is also popular in neighboring Mozambique and they have held successful tours there.

Macheso owes his bass guitar playing and song-writing prowess to a number of great musicians with whom he has played  with in the past like  Zacharia, Shepherd Chinyani, Tineyi Chikupo and Cephas Karushanga.

Macheso won his first award in 1999 at the Tinotenda Siyabonga Annual Musical Awards (TSAMA) for the Best Upcoming artist. The second award came in year 2000 for the Best Sungura Artist category. The second award came in year 2000 for the Best Sungura Artist category. The NAMA awards in the same category also followed in the years 2003, 2004 and 2005. – Jive Zimbabwe edited by Patience Rusere