31 January 2018
CONDOLONCE messages for the late gospel artiste John Mutoko, who succumbed to cancer of the colon, continue to pour.
Better known as Mr Fantastic John owing to his quest for perfection, Mutoko died yesterday in Dubai where he worked for years.
While details regarding the repatriation of his body and burial are still sketchy, fellow artistes were saddened by his death.
Musicians, who spoke to H-Metro, said Mutoko was as he used to get well along with both secular and gospel artistes.
Gospel supremo Baba Machanic Manyeruke, who last performed at the memorial service of Mutoko last year, said he was shocked by the Valley of Dry Bones singer’s death.
“I heard the news through his son-in-law this morning (yesterday) and I was really shocked.
“Of course I never worked with him but I only took part at memorial service of his relative where he invited quite a number of artistes.
“It’s sad to learn that he is no more and we will really miss him a lot,” said Manyeruke.
Fellow gospel guru Baba Charles Charamba was also saddened by the news.
“I wasn’t aware of his death and I am hearing this from you. I have known him as a free spirited people who was getting well along with others.
“He called me last year saying he wanted our (Charambas) services since he was planning something big this year.
“It’s sad he could not fulfil it and we really lost one of us,” said the Fishers of Men boss.
The rising gospel artiste, who has worked with Mutoko in a number of projects since 2008, said she had lost a brother, mentor and friend.
“I started working with him a decade ago as one of his backing vocalists.
“Of course I would work with a number of artistes but John Mutoko needed my services each time he wanted to record an album.
“Each he returned to Zimbabwe, he would bring us some gifts and he was always jovial and joking since he respect everybody,” said Maneni.
“For me to become a solo artiste, it was John who encouraged me and I took his advice seriously and today I am now my own artiste.
“I will always cherish what he did for us, especially the true love and the generosity he showed us,” she added.
The award-winning gospel artiste said he is among the artistes who benefited from Mutoko’s generosity.
“It’s really a sad loss, he was more than a brother to us considering what he did for us.
“He organised a number of shows in Dubai and each time that we performed there, he used to host us.
“Prior to his death, he had included us in one of the massive shows he was planning in Zimbabwe and he was looking forward to the show.
“I was always in touch with him as we planned great things together,” he said.
The Orchestra Dendera Kings who despite being a secular musician was devastated by the news.
“I received the news today and I couldn’t believe it since we were planning great things together.
“By the way, I once collaborated with him on a gospel track along with Mathias Mhere on the song Mukadzi WaLot.
“I even performed at some of his private functions each time he came back from overseas.
“He also taught me to embrace fellow artistes as well as respecting both seasoned AND upcoming ones; he really believed in my talent and I ended up doing a collobo with him which shows he respected us,” he said.
Despite his bias towards gospel music, Mutoko had a soft spoke for talented female artistes, especially dancers.
“I knew him as an artiste and he always supported us despite being looked down upon in by other sections of the society.
“Of course I did not get an opportunity to directly work with him but he simply respected us and we will always miss him,” said the raunchy dancer-cum-musician whose stocks continue to rise with each passing day.
Multi-instrumentalist and producer Forward Mazuruse who worked with the late musicians as session guitarist and producer had this to say:
“I have received the sad news and I can’t believe it he is gone. I have recorded a number of his songs in the studio as well as playing for him as a session guitarist.
“John Mutoko was one rare artistes who loved his work and respected artistes’ contracts,” said Mazuruse.
Meanwhile, burial arrangements will be announced in due course but H-Metro is reliably informed the Mutoko family has sent two people to speed the repatriation process.
The Kadoma bred artiste, who is known for such albums as Mwari Makatendeka, The Valley of Dry Bone, The Voice of Silence among others, was a biology consultant who was been working overseas over the years.
He will be known for his fashion sense.