EDITORIAL: Let’s show some love to Mokoomba

MOKOOMBA are back home after a successful month-long tour of the United States.

They might not be the musical group whose name will quickly pop up if music fans are asked to name their favourite group in this country but they are the Zimbabwean band with the biggest profile when it comes to Europe and the United States.

For years, Mookomba have been building their name, and fan base, in Europe and the United States and have been successful in doing so.

While many local music outfits play to predominantly Zimbabwean crowds when they tour Europe, Mokoomba have been accepted by fans from different nationalities.

They are the closest thing we have had, in terms of being accepted by fans of different nationalities in Europe or the United States, to the Bhundu Boys.

Thirty six years ago, the Bhundu Boys were so big they even found themselves in the prime real estate spaces of two of America’s biggest newspapers.

Biggie Tembo and his Bhundu Boys had just played at Wembley, as an under card of Madonna, in 1987.

The following year, they were starting to be given rave reviews by the American media.

One particular review, in the Los Angeles Times, which was written by Robert Hiburn, on April 11, 1988, captured the impact the Boys from Zim were making.

“The Bhundus have been one of the surprise sensations of the British pop scene for more than a year, thanks to almost constant touring there and an album, ‘Shabini,’ that was at or near the top of the independent album charts in England for most of 1987,” wrote Hiburn.

“Though previously available here only in import editions, ‘Shabini’ has just been released in the US by Carthage Records, and the Bhundus’ two subsequent LPs are now also available domestically.”

They would go on to sign a record deal with Warner Brothers before everything came crashing down for them.

Earlier this year, a rising Zimbabwean-born musician, Adrian Dzuke, performed before a sold-out 60 000 crowd at the Optus Stadium in Perth as an opening act for British super group Coldplay.

It was huge because Coldplay are the biggest pop band in the world right now.

In terms of their concert numbers, no one comes close.

Last year, the 200 000 tickets for the band’s four concert dates in Barcelona sold out in a matter of hours.

This is the kind of penetration that we want to see from our musical stars and we are happy that Mokoomba are in the right direction when it comes to that.

They should share notes with their other local counterparts so that these groups can learn a thing, or two, about what is needed to penetrate such overseas markets and play before fans which are not predominantly Zimbabwean.

We also must learn to love and support Mokoomba.

Their concert numbers here are not as big as their concert numbers in Europe and in the United States.

This is unacceptable, especially for such successful ambassadors.

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