By Stephen Ephraem
KWEKWE based sungura outfit, Utakataka Express became a household name in the Zimbabwean musical circles in 1996 when it released Naku album which carried a song titled Chechete that became an instant hit.
With its sound similar to that of Leonard Dembo and his Barura Express who had passed on in April of that year, many lovers of Dembo’s music found Utakataka as a replacement for their late maestro.
Utakatakata Express was formed by the late Tongai Moyo and Ronnie Mudhindo who had left Sheperd Musekiwa’s Shirichena Express. The late Tongai Moyo eventually fronted the newly formed outfit.
Ronnie Mudhindo later left Utakataka Express end of 2003 after the band released Chingwa album to form his own Orchestra Zvambura. The late Tongai Moyo died in 2011 after battling with a cancer ailment.
The late Tongai Moyo’s legacy is being kept alive by his two youthful sons, Tongai Moyo Junior and his sibling Peter Moyo. It’s Tongai Moyo Jr who is eyeing for international exposure.
Born 22 year ago in Kwekwe, Tongai Moyo Jr is known with his two stage names Obert as well as Manual Machine System yaForce. He started his musical career in 2016.
Speaking to Post on Sunday from his Kwekwe base, Obert revealed that all is set for his international exposure.
“I have four singles, three of which I released as collaborations. I collaborated with Brian Samaita on ‘Dhewa Venyu,’ then Chief Shumba on ‘Chingoziva’ and worked with Ronnie Mudhindo on ‘Dzinza Rinokosha.’
My hit song is Cain naAbel. I am looking forward to release a full album very soon but I am waiting for my sponsors to give a go ahead. The album is set for international market since I included English, Xhosa and Ndebele to my lyrics,” said Tongai Moyo Jr.
Asked on how the precedence set by his late father has helped him in his musical career, Obert indicated that it is a blessing to be identified with the departed icon.
“Being son of the late Tongai Moyo is a real blessing. Utakataka means being soft in Shona language. My musical journey is softly cruising the tide. I honour my producers Jabulani Ndlovu and Gideon of Trutone studios for keeping the Utakataka sound alive.
“I honour Ronnie Mudhindo who is well known for mentoring Kwekwe based youth like myself. I respect all the fans that love and appreciate my trade. My life revolves on the love I am shown by Utakataka fans.
“So far I have released 2 videos namely, Tsoka yerudo and Dhewa Vedu. My family is my backbone and strength, please let’s keep the Utakataka brand alive and burning,” added Tongai Jr.