News / Latest / Ernest Kanjo / Wednesday, 09 June 2010 00:00
DUDU_2

Zimbabwe's Afro-jazz goddess charms fans

Written by Ernest Kanjo

Doing back-up for Zimbabwe's leading jazz singer, Oliver Mtukudzi is undoutedly every young musicians' dream in that country. Ask her, Dudu won't waste a moment in telling you it is the best thing that ever happened to her career. In Bulawayo, the country's second biggest city where Mtukudzi is quite loved, Dudu is an illustrous daughter.

It is here that Dudu, today, Zimbabwe's most popular female Afro-jazz fusion artiste was born 29 years ago. Clearly, Bulawayo knew the little girl was destined for music, since the art ran in her family. But little did the talented ebony singer guess hers was going to be a huge success story until she hit the mark.

In Zimbabwe today, the mention of Dudu brings warmth to thousands of hearts. ''This is thanks, not only to my soul-searching voice, but also because of the human-related themes and the women's agenda I have pushed forth,'' she told TIPTOPSTARS after a brilliant performance at HIFA 2010.

With three albums circulating, Dudu champions the course of disadvantaged citizens, but at the same time drives down passionate emotions of sweet melodious beats in an irresistible manner. Such ingenuity has not gone unnoticed by welfare organisations and music researchers, who have seen in the 1.75m-tall artiste, resourcefulness.

The first privileged encounter came in early 2009 when Dudu was invited to feature in an ActionAIDS-sponsored African album, geared at combating hunger. ''I found that a great honour, coming together with other colleagues to support such a course,'' she said. ''Fight Against Hunger'' was going to open more doors for the Bulawayo girl, married to a nice husband, as she describes him.

A couple of months after, Norwegian exchange music teacher, Cecilie Giskemo could not hide her feelings anymore and without hesitation, broke the idea of a collaboration between a female vocal group in her country and a mainstream of Zimbabwean female artistes. Six months of working together yielded what has been described as a beautiful blend of dance and music that embraces jazz, African traditional, Norwegian folk, improvisation and the notion of womanhood.

At WoCalling's (as the project is called) maiden outing that happened during HIFA 2010, guests to Harare now understood why Dudu had been on every lip since they came to town. The charming vocalist, who stood out, thrilled hundreds, attracting thunderous applause. After HIFA 2010, Dudu has become even more popular. ''My latest album has been doing pretty well and many more people have fallen in love with the songs.''

When she thinks of her success story, Dudu always wants to look back at her school days when she sang in the College choir. ''I would stay back after classes for rehearsals and thereafter, dash to meet some older boys with whom we practised singing,'' the artiste recalled. ''That is how I got spotted by a music teacher who raised me professionally.'

But as she grew up singing, the Harare-based jazz icon nursed admiration for South Africa's Miriam Makeba aka Mama Africa and Zimbabwe's Dorothy Masuka. If her progress is anything to go by, then Dudu is up for the kind of strides her role models made. Then, that would not only be glory for Zimbabwe, but a source of pride for the entire continent.






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Last Updated on Wednesday, 09 June 2010 14:44

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