HELLO H-Metro readers and sungura music lovers,
I am glad to have been accorded this platform to share with you some of my experiences I encountered in my journey as a guitarist with more than 20 years in the game.
I know guitarists are usually overlooked while all the attention would be on the band leader.
Many people in sungura, especially Utakataka Express fans, know me as Musamariya.
I got the moniker from my band members for my humility.
By the way, I am one person who never gets irritated or angry even when pushed to the edge and that’s when the guys gave me the name.
However, in this game, I have seen quite a lot and I have managed to survive by the grace of the Lord.
I am one person who have seen top artistes either dying or falling by the wayside but in my case, I see the grace of the Lord who served me.
I would like to share my experiences with you and hopefully people will learn one or a thing. Read on….
- BRIEF PROFILE
My name is Saviours Karikodzi.
I was born on March 17 1981 in the Chuta area in Guruve, Mashonaland Central.
I was born in a family of nine – five girls and four boys.
However, of the girls is late which makes us eight right now.
My father Agrison Karikodzi died in 1999 while my mother Sophia Kachuta died three years ago.
I attended Chemachinga primary and secondary schools in the same area but I could not write my Ordinary Levels after failing to raise school and examination fees.
My passion for music started at a tender age and like most sungura artistes plucked from the back of beyond, we started off playing homemade banjos.
I then mastered the electric guitars when I moved to Chinhoyi to stay with my uncle Ramus Karikodzi in 1997.
It was in Chinhoyi where I met the late Leonard Malunga who helped me to become a complete guitarist I am today.
With Malunga, we formed a group called Bembera Express and he was known for imitating and playing the late Leonard Dembo cover versions.
It was also in Chinhoyi where we became a resident band at CSC under the leadership of Malunga.
Then, we used tom play Dembo cover versions and our own compositions.
Dembo’s cover versions were popular then since he had died in 1996 and the wounds were still fresh in the minds of many a fan.
New about us playing Dembo’s covers reached Innocent Mjnitu’s eyes who travelled to Chinhoyi to watch us perform.
Since Malunga was gifted as a vocalist, Innocent Mjintu persuaded him to join Barura Express as a lead vocalist.
Since we had started Bembera Express together, Malunga said he would only join their camp on condition I am part of the set up since we were working together.
I was roped into the band that had the likes of Kidson Madzorera and Shepherd Ackim.
During live shows, I would alternate on the base guitar with Shepherd Ackim but there were problems later as Mjintu wanted total control of the band.
However, Mjintu’s short-coming was that he had no good voice to match that of Dembo as was the case with Malunga.
We then left Barura Express and it collapsed as some band members died while Mjintu was to join Orchestra Mberikwazvo at some point.
- NEW CHALLENGE
Since I had made a name for myself, I was snapped up by the late Arron Chinamira of Dendende Express.
With Chinamira, we recorded four-five albums among them Mudiwa Dzoka, Zvine Ngozi, Hobho Kudai among others.
After his death of Aaron Chinamira, I had no choice but to find a new challenge.
But I am grateful for the late Chinamira since he gave me the exposure I didn’t have.
Prior to that, I had also worked with the mighty Four Brothers after the death of Marshal Munhumumwe.
Then, the group was fronted by the late Frank Sibanda and I helped them record the album Ruvengo.
It was quite an experience because I learnt a lot from the guys since they were really professionals.
- UTAKATA EXPRESS EXPEDITION
My life changed for the better when I joined Utakataka Express under the leadership of the late Tongai Moyo.
I was roped in as Spencer Khumulani’s substitute since he used disappear here and there.
I contributed a lot in the recording of such albums as Naye, Pinda Panyanga and Muridzi Wenyaya till his death in 2001.
What I miss most after Tongai Moyo’s death were the international trips that we used to embark on.
I was the one who used to go on international tours since Spencer had not passport then.
I twice toured England with the late Tongai Moyo and I was impressed by the support that we got when we played in Leeds and Manchester which was dominantly white.
- PETER MOYO
When Tongai Moyo died, we had become a tight family and it meant we had start a new life under new leadership.
And in this case Peter Moyo was to be the heir and we had no problems working under him.
We recorded his first album – Mushonga Mukuru – together and it was well received.
I briefly left Peter Moyo with the other guys and assembled a band that was invited to perform in South Africa.
We left with his blessings since we wanted to try something new with other disgruntled guys but the expedition did not work.
I had to return and beg Peter Moyo to take me back.
Peter Moyo gave me another chance and I am still with him.
- MUKOMA PANGA
As a session artiste who is also employed at Utakataka Express, I have the privilege to work with other bands.
One person who has entrusted me for my services is Mukoma Panga (Panganayi Hare).
I was humbled when he called me seeking my services last year when we recorded his debut album Mbuva Yehwiza.
I am also helping him as he is in the process of recording his second album.
Under his guidance, I have learnt a lot from him as far creativity goes.
Mukoma Panga is one person who gives us the platform to express ourselves artistically.
When it comes to remuneration for recordings, we don’t have problems with.
One thing that I have learnt from him is professionalism.
- LOVE LIFE
When it comes to the matters of the heart, I can safely say I was unlucky in love.
I got married to a Kwekwe woman but she ditched me after I got injured in an accident along with Peter Moyo and other band members.
My wife left me after I injured my ribs hoping that I would not make it again.
She left me with my daughter Kimberly who was born on December 25 2009.
I am glad my daughter is doing very well in school.
- MEMORABLE MOMONETS
In my career spanning over two decades, I really enjoyed myself when we were either on regional on international tours.
Like I indicated earlier on, the UK shows will forever remain etched in my mind as well as the Gaborone shows that we held with Dhewa.
- SAD MOMENTS
This has to be Dhewa’s death in 2011.
With Tongai Moyo, we had become family and we never imaged living without him.
Up to now its like a dream in my life.
I am also pained after losing some of the band members and leaders I worked with.
In my case, I have lost Chinamira, Dhewa, Frank Sibanda, Leonard Malunga among other band members.
When I reflect on my life, I see the grace of the Lord because I have covered by the blood of Jesus Christ.
By the way, I survived because God really loves me and I will continue to worship.
- SPECIAL THANKS
On parting note, I would like to thank God for the talent he gave me.
I also want to thank all the bosses I served from my early days in Chinhoyi with Malunga up to the time I came to Harare where I met the likes of Aaron Chinamira, Frank Sibanda, Dhewa, Peter Moyo and now Mukoma Panga.
Lastly, I would like to thank my family and friends who have been there for me under thick and thin.
I thank you!
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