Fans who attended the first show after the death of his son in an accident a fortnight ago, called it one of his emotional shows ever.
Tuku performed at Blues Room to a full house last Friday.
There were doubts to whether the old musician would sing through his pain, with some clearly questioning the wisdom of doing so this early.
Shepherd Mutamba, the publicist of Tkumusik told Radio VOP exclusively that: “When we flew into Johannesburg for Tuku’s first performance since the loss of his son Sam about a fortnight ago now, there were quite some mixed feelings whether he was strong enough to pull the show off. But Tuku had reassured his management while in Harare that ‘Yes, I have to do this (Johannesburg) show for my son.’
At Blues Room the show was scheduled to start at 10:30pm. When Tuku’s band The Black Spirits went in to do the pre-show sound check and stuff at 8pm the venue was already filling up.
And the Johannesburg performance was not going to be Tuku’s day-to-day show coming as it did in the fortnight of the tragic loss of Sam (22) and his childhood friend and workmate Owen Chimhare (24) who was a sound engineer in Sam’s Ay Band.
Mutamba said the Tuku’s subplot in his opening play-list revealed two things: it reflected purely a character responding to the emotions of loss at the same time revealing a father agonising over the tragedy and trying to unlock himself from grief – to pick himself up and carry on his son’s legacy and his own legacy too.
“Always a humorous persona, who loves jokes with his fans during performances, Tuku departed from his traditional structure selecting the ‘deathly’ songs first. Tuku wanted his fans to smile, celebrate and be happy that night. But what he got were, some amongst the audiences, sobbing as they listened to the grieving father sing about life and the reality of death,” Mutamba who attended the show said.
Overwhelmed he fought back tears very hard and tried to be strong throwing in anecdotes for moments of light relief.
He is said to have opened with Lord’s Prayer then Akoromoka Awa, Ndipeiwo Zano, Mabasa, Hear Me Lord, Kupokana and Madiro which was Sam’s favourite of his father’s songs.
For most of the time the audiences did not sing along with Tuku – they actually took over the show…well, in the literal sense, drowning Tuku’s own voice in one massive outburst of chorus.
According to sources there are even more calls from London where Tuku’s fans cannot wait to be with him – to share with him grief and be together at this difficult time of his life. Tuku performs at Stratford Rex in London on April 2nd.
Ringo Madlingozi, a friend of Tuku’s and amongst the first artists to call Tuku conveying their condolences, joined Mtukudzi on stage and played together Kupokana to the memory of Sam. Ringo also teams up with Tuku at the Stratford London show.