Monday, January 8, 2018

Inside Macheso’s creative world

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By Problem Masau and Tawanda Marwizi
To be a complete artiste one needs to have a degree of insanity, it seems. History suggests that a thin line separates creativity and madness. To put it simply, Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “No excellent soul is exempt from a mixture of madness.”

Musicians often exhibit strange habits and sungura maestro Alick Macheso is no exception. When he attends public functions, Macheso attracts attention through unexpected and funny gestures that have led many to conclude that he is always high on drugs.
 
But what really goes on in the sungura king’s mind?
“When I am driving, I usually don’t turn on the radio; I even don’t play my music. New stuff is always playing in my mind; I am even trying to tune the notes of the guitar as I am talking to you. I don’t have any rest,” said Alick Macheso.
Macheso’s internal monologue sometimes forces him to stop at resting points when driving to jot down the verbal stream of consciousness lest he forgets the melody.
Because of what he says goes through his mind, Macheso cannot take a holiday break like his subordinates.
“Orchestra Mberikwazvo is on a three-week break, but I cannot afford that luxury. This is the time I fine-tune the sounds that I hear in my mind,” said Baba Sharo, as Macheso is affectionately known by his legions of fans.
 
Macheso has a habit to sit outside his precast wall at his residence. In fact for the third time in a row, this news crew found him seated under a tree outside chatting with neighbours and Leonard Dembo’s son Morgan.
“My creativity suffocates when I am confined,” he said.
His habit of sitting outside has endeared him well with his neighbours as our conversation was constantly interrupted by passers-by who would constantly exchange greetings with the sungura musician.
With a long discography that spans over a decade, Macheso is brave enough to pick his favourite song.
“My favourite song is ‘Mwana Wa mai Vangu’ — the song is very personal. These are some of the things that siblings encounter when growing up,” he said.
While the song’s beat is infectiously rhythmic and the chorus is catchy, its power is in lyrics that speak to the inner soul as it talks about a greedy sibling who wants to take everything for himself.
However, the singer feels that on “AmaiVarubhi” and “Mundikumbuke” he outdid his creative genius.
“When I listen to the songs, sometimes I just feel I am not the composer, I do not know how I came out with such a pure work of art,” he said.
The musician also said he can be classified as a gospel musician as over the years he has churned out gospel tracks.
He promised a new album before the end of March.
“I already have eight songs but I will probably put six songs on the new album,” he said. The Herald