Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Bhundu Boys

Bhundu Boys

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Bhundu Boys'
Start a new discussion about 'Bhundu Boys'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
The Bhundu Boys were a Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

an band that played a mixture of chimurenga music
Chimurenga music
Chimurenga music is a Zimbabwean popular music genre coined and popularised by Thomas Mapfumo. Chimurenga is a Shona language word for struggle. The word's modern interpretation has been extended to describe a struggle for human rights, political dignity and social justice...

 with American rock and roll
Rock and roll
Rock and roll is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States during the late 1940s and early 1950s, primarily from a combination of African American blues, country, jazz, and gospel music...

, disco
Disco
Disco is a genre of dance music. Disco acts charted high during the mid-1970s, and the genre's popularity peaked during the late 1970s. It had its roots in clubs that catered to African American, gay, psychedelic, and other communities in New York City and Philadelphia during the late 1960s and...

, country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

, and pop
Pop music
Pop music is usually understood to be commercially recorded music, often oriented toward a youth market, usually consisting of relatively short, simple songs utilizing technological innovations to produce new variations on existing themes.- Definitions :David Hatch and Stephen Millward define pop...

 influences. Their style became known as jit
Jit
Jit is a style of popular Zimbabwean dance music. It features a swift rhythm played on drums and accompanied by a guitar. Jit evolved out many diverse influences, including domestic chimurenga, Congolese rumba and Tanzanian guitar styles...

, and is quite popular across Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million kmĀ² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

, with some international success.

The name came from bhundu (meaning "Bush" or "jungle"), in reference to the young boys who used to aid the nationalist guerrilla fighters in the 1970s war against the white minority government of what was then Rhodesia
Rhodesia
Rhodesia , officially the Republic of Rhodesia from 1970, was an unrecognised state located in southern Africa that existed between 1965 and 1979 following its Unilateral Declaration of Independence from the United Kingdom on 11 November 1965...

. Lead singer Biggie Tembo (Biggie Rodwell Tembo Marasha) was just such a Bhundu boy.

The Bhundu Boys recorded their first 7" vinyl single at Shed Studios
Shed Studios
Shed Studios was responsible for the production of hundreds of band recordings and a large body of music used for various advertisements and films in Rhodesia, and later in Zimbabwe, from 1975 until 2000...

 in Harare on 1 February 1983, as part of the Studio's drive to sponsor more local music. They were one of a number of more adventurous bands that had not been contracted by the 2 record companies. Shed Studios was a collaboration between Steve Roskilly, Martin Norris and Bothwell Nyamhondera. The Bhundu Boys reached the top of the Zimbabwean music scene on Shed Studio's Rugare Label, with four number one hits ("Baba munini Francis", "Wenhamo Haaneti", "Hatisitose", and "Tsvimbodzemoto") between 1981 and 1984. They attracted the attention of Owen Elias and his colleague, musician Champion Doug Veitch
Champion Doug Veitch
Douglas Veitch, better known as Champion Doug Veitch is a Scottish musician and songwriter.-Biography:The self styled 'King of Caledonian Swing' rose to some prominence in the mid 1980s. A favourite of John Peel, for whom he recorded two radio sessions, he holds the record for having most ...

, who released an EP by the band in the UK under licence from Shed Studios in 1985. This attracted the attention of DJ's John Peel
John Peel
John Robert Parker Ravenscroft, OBE , known professionally as John Peel, was an English disc jockey, radio presenter, record producer and journalist. He was the longest-serving of the original BBC Radio 1 DJs, broadcasting regularly from 1967 until his death in 2004...

 and Andy Kershaw
Andy Kershaw
Andy Kershaw is a British broadcaster, known for his interest in world music.His shows feature a mix of country, blues, reggae, folk music, spoken word performance from the likes of Ivor Cutler, and other music from around the world.- Early Life :Kershaw and his sister, fellow broadcaster Liz...

 who tirelessly promoted the band. Under further licence from Shed Studios
Shed Studios
Shed Studios was responsible for the production of hundreds of band recordings and a large body of music used for various advertisements and films in Rhodesia, and later in Zimbabwe, from 1975 until 2000...

, their first UK album Shabhini was released on the Discafrique label in 1986 and was one of the major independent sellers of the year, and one of Peel's all time favourite albums. The band travelled to UK in 1986 for a live tour organised by Elias, and Scottish graphic artist Gordon Muir became their manager.

After touring the UK for a year, the band appeared to be on the brink of a major commercial breakthrough. They were feted by Eric Clapton
Eric Clapton
Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE, is an English guitarist and singer-songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and...

 and Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello , born Declan Patrick MacManus, is an English singer-songwriter. He came to prominence as an early participant in London's pub rock scene in the mid-1970s and later became associated with the punk/New Wave genre. Steeped in word play, the vocabulary of Costello's lyrics is broader...

 and Madonna
Madonna (entertainer)
Madonna is an American singer-songwriter, actress and entrepreneur. Born in Bay City, Michigan, she moved to New York City in 1977 to pursue a career in modern dance. After performing in the music groups Breakfast Club and Emmy, she released her debut album in 1983...

 asked them to be her support act at Wembley Stadium where they played to 240,000 people over three nights.

In 1987, just as their second UK album "Tsvimbodzemoto" was released by Elias, again under licence from Shed Studios
Shed Studios
Shed Studios was responsible for the production of hundreds of band recordings and a large body of music used for various advertisements and films in Rhodesia, and later in Zimbabwe, from 1975 until 2000...

 on the Discafrique label, The Bhundu Boys broke their contract with Shed Studios
Shed Studios
Shed Studios was responsible for the production of hundreds of band recordings and a large body of music used for various advertisements and films in Rhodesia, and later in Zimbabwe, from 1975 until 2000...

 and signed to Warner Brothers International. Their first album "True Jit", produced by Robin Millar
Robin Millar
Robin John Christian Millar CBE is an English musician, songwriter and record producer.-Early life:...

 was considered too far a jump in style from their original recordings and was unfavourably received. The band began a long period of further live appearances, releasing other independent CDs but started to fall apart. Leader Biggie Tembo achieved some celebrity on TV and in the press, which irritated the rest of the band, especially the leader Rise Kagona, and Tembo was asked to leave the band in 1990. The band continued in the 1990s but David Mankaba, his replacement Shepherd Munyama, and Shakespeare Kangwena, all died of AIDS.

Without the writing and vocal talents of Biggie Tembo, the band never again produced the same enthusiastic reception by the music press or by the public. Biggie Tembo tried a comeback by collaborating with a Bristol band called "Startled Insects", without success. Returning to Zimbabwe, he tried to produce some more music at Shed Studios, but hanged himself in 1995 in a psychiatric hospital. The band soldiered on, recording two more albums, before calling it quits in 2000 after bassist Washington Kavhai was jailed on an aggravated assault conviction.

Guitarist Rise Kagona currently lives in Scotland and plays in the newly formed Rise Kagona and the Jit Jive Band who played at the Ben and Jerry's Sundae Festival in June 2011. Kuda Matimba lives in London and plays with Harare, a group he started in 2005 together with Kenny Chitsvatsva.

In 2001 Shed Studios
Shed Studios
Shed Studios was responsible for the production of hundreds of band recordings and a large body of music used for various advertisements and films in Rhodesia, and later in Zimbabwe, from 1975 until 2000...

 issued a fresh compilation of all Bhundu Boys recordings ever made in Zimbabwe, entitled "The Shed Sessions", for release in UK on a double CD, under licence to Gordon Muir.

Discography


Shed Studios release in Zimbabwe
  • Chekudya Chose (Rugare, 1983)
  • Hupenyu Hwangu (Rugare 1984)

Discafrique release in UK under licence from Shed Studios
  • Shabini (DiscAfrique, Afrilp02, 1986)
  • Tsvimbodzemoto (DiscAfrique, Afrilp03, 1987)

Warner Brothers release i UK
  • True Jit (WEA 242203-2, 1987)
  • Pamberi (WEA, 1989)

Independent releases in UK
  • Live at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut (DiscAfrique, Afrilp007, 1990)
  • Friends on the Road (Cooking Vinyl, 1993)
  • Muchiyedza (Cooking Vinyl 1997)

Gordon Muir release in UK under licence from Shed Studios
  • The Shed Sessions (Sadza, 2001)

Personnel

  • Kenny Chitsvatsva - drums
    Drum kit
    A drum kit is a collection of drums, cymbals and often other percussion instruments, such as cowbells, wood blocks, triangles, chimes, or tambourines, arranged for convenient playing by a single person ....

    , backing vocals
  • David Mankaba - bass guitar
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    , backing vocals
  • Rise Kagona - guitar
    Guitar
    The guitar is a plucked string instrument, usually played with fingers or a pick. The guitar consists of a body with a rigid neck to which the strings, generally six in number, are attached. Guitars are traditionally constructed of various woods and strung with animal gut or, more recently, with...

    , backing vocals
  • Biggie Tembo - guitar, lead vocals
  • Shakespeare ("Shakie") Kangwena - keyboard
    Keyboard instrument
    A keyboard instrument is a musical instrument which is played using a musical keyboard. The most common of these is the piano. Other widely used keyboard instruments include organs of various types as well as other mechanical, electromechanical and electronic instruments...

    , backing vocals

  • Shepherd Munyama, bass guitar, replaced David Mankaba
  • Washington Kavhai, bass guitar, vocals, replaced Shepherd
  • Kuda Matimba, keyboard, vocals, replaced Shakie

External links