When Leonard Dembo died in 1996, his sons Morgan and Tendai were just 10 and nine years old respectively. At that age, it would appear an utterly unfair imposition to say the boys would revive their father’s career. It was also during the same time that the late Tongai Moyo emerged as he tried to fill in Dembo’s vacuum.
Various comments were passed; Moyo was a good guitarist yet he was trying to fit into a space vacated by a cryptic.
Moyo proved to be just an ordinary artist in the initial phases, but passion was his strength. Dembo on the other hand had played the lead guitar like it was made for him.
As a result, Moyo’s bid failed dismally and he only started getting worthy recognition when he started carving his own niche.
Now 16 years after Dembo’s demise, his young boys are grown men and they have decided to follow their father’s footsteps.
The duo recently released their debut album titled Kutsika Matsimba. In all honesty, the five- track album is a piece of work.
It is one that would leave you with a lot to say — probably all that has accumulated over the 16 years that there has not been anything new from the Barura Express corner.
There are two ways to approach the music; either taking the young men as ordinary musicians or judging them against their father’s music.
The latter can be detrimental though.
The new album consists of four new tracks in which Dembo’s traces are notable. In some instances, you can actually detect melodies that you have heard before in their father’s music.
There is also a dominance of Tongai Moyo’s rhythm guitar, particularly in the track Shanje Rudo. To some, this would be Morgan and Tendai’s undoing, but in actual essence, it evokes the memories of the late legend.
With a youthful band of eight members, all under the age of 30, this is a great achievement for the young musicians whom many had written off due to Morgan’s bad boy tag.
Tendai told StandardLifeStyle that the new album had been well- received by their fans despite suffering poor marketing.
“Many people are having problems with Gramma Records in terms of marketing and we are not an exception,” he said. “The album is now over two months old but up to now, Gramma have not yet finished printing our sleeves.”
Asked why then they had recorded with a stable they were not confident of, Tendai said, “The title of the album Kutsika Matsimba suggests following in our father’s footsteps and that is what we are doing. When our father died he was at the same stable and we are simply honouring that.”
He however said they would soon change to another company for their second album.
“We are planning to go back into the studio by November for our second album and we will record that with a different company.”
On his brother, Tendai said Morgan had reformed.
“He is now a marvel to work with,” said Tendai. “Everyone is even surprised. As we speak right now, he is in Chiredzi organising shows, something that those who really know him would agree was not thinkable before.”
The tracks on the album are Kutsika Matsimba, Pakutambura Kwangu, Ticharegererwa naShe, Shanje Rudo and Dambudzo (remake).