. . . diva miss Zim weather
UK based traditional music exponent, Portia Gwanzura, says Progress Chipfumo and the late Simbarashe Mudzingwa will remain some of her brightest students at Hohodza Hot Band.
Gwanzura who has established herself in Leigh as a car dealer after leaving Harare around 2002 said she won’t quit music despite business commitments.
She however said the Hohodza Band, which touched hearts of many at their peak, will not die a natural death as long as some of its founder members are still alive.
“When we moved over here, I carried on playing the mother figure role but had to do more as most of the band members haven’t got their immediate families here as you can imagine.
“Among all the band members two people stand out, Progress Chipfumo and Simbarashe Mudzingwa.
“Progress is a fine young man with a unique voice and he continues to shine.
“The late Simba was a great person and died a true Legend who was well known in Zimbabwe and around the world.
“I met Progress when he was only young and he was still learning how to play the guitar at the time but over the years he grew with confidence,” she said.
Asked how she finally settled in the UK as a foreigner, she explained:
“Moving and settling here had it’s own challenges like a lot of other things in life but I managed.
“I miss mainly the weather back home. We have a lot of talented young Zimbabwean musicians around the world unfortunately with no record label or distribution companies for our type of music it’s not easy at all.
“When I first moved here there were not many companies backing our type of music but slowly things are changing.”
Reflecting on her career which saw her weaning off a number of artistes under her wings, Gwanzura reckons she played her part.
“I do not have any regrets, as you know I started as a band manager and am happy to say I successfully helped quite a number of people to turn earn a living, some not necessarily in music but other professions as well.”
To keep her music legacy alive, Gwanzura said she was still in touch with Chipfumo with whom they recorded a single together.
“We (Gwanzura and Chipfumo) recently started working together again and released a single called Ndoda Kumbofara.
“We are we’re going to continue doing so hopefully we can open new doors.
“By continuing to do our authentic traditional music and working with well-known original members such as like
Progress we hope to maintain the Hohodza brand.
“We are working on a few more songs hopefully will release another one before the end of the year.”
Unlike most of her peers reeling from the effects of Covid-19, Gwanzura said she was less affected.
“Personally, Covid-19 has not affected my music career, it is the reason why I started again during lockdown.
“I run my own car sales locally just like I did when I was over there. I have a son who’s here with me and he did a few songs in the past,” she said.
The 54-year-old who made history as one of the few Zimbabwean black women to lead and managed a band has always believed in professionalism.
At the peak of Hohodza, the group represented Zimbabwe locally, regionally and overseas with pride.
Gwanzura will best be remembered for her performance on BBC programme called Cyderdelic where she sang a track originally penned by The Beatles.
She has more than 10 albums to her credit and closer home she shared the stage with the late Mama Mirriam Makeba in Limpopo province.
She has also performed at a number of activities meant to fight racism in Greater Manchester among others cities in the Queendom.