By Jeoffrey Mukubi
ZIMBABWEAN musician, Raymond ‘Tatenda’ Mupfumira, is a musical genius, who is introducing the Land of the Brave to ‘live looping’.
Live looping is the recording and playing back of a piece of music in real-time, using either dedicated hardware devices, called loopers, or phrase samplers and software that run on a computer with an audio interface.
Tatenda does all this, while playing an array of instruments during live performances, including the mbira, bass guitar, keyboard, acoustic guitar, double bass, melodeon, percussion and the drums.
He also sings, and his performances regularly set the night alight at Que Tapas restaurant and bar in Windhoek.
“Being a vocalist is the biggest challenge, as I don’t believe I can sing, although people say I sing very well,” he told Confidente during an interview recently.
Tatenda said he became a live loop artist, after he found it hard during his musical director days, when he had to explain to others how to sing or play a specific instrument.
He says that looping has given him the ability to play his own sound, thus giving him the freedom to create whatever his mind conceives.
He says that his days as a session musician made it difficult for him to become a solo act, but that he is now reaching for the stars, as more and more Namibians learn about his awesome loop station performances.
Tatenda has graced music festival stages all over the world, including in his home country of Zimbabwe, as well as the United States, Malawi, Botswana and Namibia.
He has also played for many artists across the globe as a session musician, including in Zambia, Spain, Kenya, Italy, Turkey, Mozambique, South Africa, Norway and the United Kingdom.
Tatenda moved to Namibia at the beginning of the year, and is enrolled at the College of the Arts, where he majors in African Performing Arts.
Since his arrival, he has played with the likes of Elemotho, Ras Sheehama, Slickartie, The Ells, Bianca Heyns and Mikiros.
Tatenda said he never imagined that he would one day be a musician, while growing up in Zimbabwe.
He said he had taught himself the piano, in order to avoid his Catholic Church duties of ringing the church bell and serving mass, as a youngster.
In 2002, he decided to start a band with his high school buddies, and they began playing at various music festivals in Zimbabwe.
When he was 16 years old, Tatenda and his band received a sponsorship from their school to perform at jazz clubs, which further ignited his passion for music.
Tatenda said his father also played a role in developing him as an artist.
“Back in 1984, my father was one of the few people in Harare to have a full band set-up, and that is what drove him to become a manager for many big bands in Zimbabwe, but he was never a musician,” he said.
Tatenda added that top African musicians like Etienne Mbappe and Netsayi Chigwendere, who he looked up, had also shaped his career.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015