By Stephen Ephraem
DR Oliver Mtukudzi affectionately known as Tuku was leader of Black Spirits band and an internationally known Afro Jazz icon.
Popular for uplifting vernacular languages, especially Korekore which is spoken in Dande Valley were his roots are, Dr Tuku died at the age of 66.
The late Dr Oliver Mtukudzi was UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Southern Africa. His musical journey started in the late 1970s releasing more than sixty albums which struck gold when he launched his Tuku Music brand in the late 1990s.
The brand become more active in South Africa. Mzansi based Afro Jazz crooner, Steve Dyer produced albums during the initial stages of Tuku Music brand. AOPO Pty Ltd also came into the Tuku Music arena.
AOPO is a South African music label co-owned by Ali Gumbi Moyana and his wife which has a global digital distribution arrangement with Orchard Enterprise New York a subsidiary of Sony Music which has a catalogue of music legends like Michael Jackson, R Kelly, Kwesta, Sho Madjozi, to name just a few.
The Marketing and Promotions Executive for AOPO Pty Ltd, Ali Gumbi Moyana has released an eight track album titled Simomondiya which contains a tribute to Dr Tuku named Remembering Dr Oliver Mtukudzi. In that track, Moyana features Innocent Kufakunesu.
According to Ali Moyana, he had a strong working relationship with the late Dr Tuku.
“In 2015, Dr Oliver Mtukudzi made an agreement with me to arrange shows for him in South. By that time I was managing Congolese rhumba icon Kanda Bongoman so Dr Tuku asked that we assist in releasing artists he was nurturing under his Pakare Paye Arts Centre.
“In 2018, we released a collaboration of Dr Tuku with Diamond Musica named Bhutsu. AOPO Music arranged his appearances at the Spring Festival in Phalaborwa and Dr Tuku was one of ours,” said Moyana.
Other tracks in the album are the title track Simomondiya, Moya Wanga, Lovola, Ncino Lowu, Gugu Lami, Tsakani, Ndinokutendai Mwari (ft Selmor Mtukudzi).
Ali Moyana is not new to Zimbabwe music since he has been working with artistes such as Masvingo crooner Jonah Moyo & Devera Ngwena Jazz Band, Zozo & Sengere Super Beat and Selmor Mtukudzi.
Moyana released a collaboration song with Selmor Mtukudzi in 2014 titled Haku Khensa and the song was nominated for the 12th Munghana Lonene Xitsonga Music Awards in 2015.
Ali Gumbi Moyana was born over 40 years ago in Giyani, Limpopo Province in South Africa and is proud of his Ndau identity.
He also released a Ndau language song called Ndauwe and also produced Dr Hlati’s single called Mwana weMuNdau last year.