By Hopeman Ncube
It’s not an easy odyssey to make your name with a popular brand and make name for yourself after leaving that band, unless if you are Steve Jobs of course, especially in the music fraternity. It is deeply ingrained in the musical annals that guitarists who go solo after working with big brands either evaporate into oblivion or mount to average artist who rarely go beyond the 10 000 mark in the CD sales. I have this in mind as I book an interview with former Ndolwane Super Sounds bass guitarist Ishmael “Shudza” Maseko.
Draped in a red sizzling suit, laced with white designer shoes, he comes across as a quite unassuming character, and rather, a little bit shy. As he starts to speak he is totally transformed, I am reminded of the videos of their live performances at the historic Hillbrow Theatre. In retrospect I first saw this gifted guitarist in one of the music videos which had gone viral on Whatsapp, the one where Martin and Ndolwane were performing live just before the launch of ‘Konke Sizokulungisa.’
It was during the time when Martin of the other Ndolwane Super Sounds faction had been deserted by the most talented team comprising of Dennis Nkomazana, Tumelo Dube and the drummer Tinashe “Deleter Tinamas”, Masiye.
Looking at the video where Martin was using new recruits on the guitars, naturally, I started comparing the bass thumping slim guy to the previous bassist Dennis Nkomazana. I remember telling my musical friends that the new bassist had a great future ahead of him musically. I also pointed out that the new bassist was adding another dimension into Martin’s outfit as he could also dance whilst playing the guitar, compared to Dennis who is always at the background. There jury is still out there to prove me wrong.
Metamorphosing from a shy laid back fellow, Ishmael, tells me of his musical journey which dates back to 2010, where he was part of a group called Mahamara Stars which was based in Kwekwe, Zimbabwe. His stay with this outfit did not last long as he joined Makonde Express in 2011, a group he served for two years. He took a hiatus in 2013, only to resurface at the Ndolwane Super Sounds faction led by Martin Sibanda. There is a question which Kalanga Rhumba devotees have been asking, why did he leave Martin and Ndolwane Super Sounds after recording only one album? Some have even pointed that there was fall-out between him and his paymaster.
“I have to set the record right there,”the guitarist interjects. “I had only signed a short term contract with Martin, after my contract expired, I left amicably to pursue other endeavours,” the bassist concludes before going back to his relaxed mood.
The bassist is animated when he starts talking about the new album he is going release, backed by his own band, Mthutha Express. “I want to bring another dimension to the Zimbabwean music, as a result I took my time to write the music which I think will be timeless,” he said.
He further adds that he enlisted the services of experienced instrumentalists in his forthcoming debut album titled, “Is’gangi Sendoda.” On the drums he invited the experienced Gally Ncube, the sub-rhythm is in the safe hands of Robaliteka, whilst Brian Ncube plays the main rhythm. The man himself played the bass and lead guitars and also doubled as the chief vocalist.
The upcoming musician concludes by calling out all the music lovers to come in multitudes at Berea Park in Johannesburg on the 5th of May 2018, where the new album is going to be officially unveiled.
“All the logistics are in place, in fact the music cuisine is ready to be offered to the music lovers, on the 5th of May people will witness the crowing of a new prince in the Zimbabwean Rhumba (Tjibilika) music,” the guitarist cum-vocalist concludes with a smile.
The launch in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe is on the cards as the young musician is looking for credible music distributors who can push his brand.
Come the 5th of May the revellers will prove whether Ishmael Maseko, will talk the walk of shame taken by the likes of Innocent Mijintu, Zakaria Zakaria and Obert Mvundla who disappeared after their sojourns with big brands, or he will shine like his former boss Martin Sibanda whose career has flourished after leading his own faction of Ndolwane Super Sounds.
Whilst appealing for both public and corporate support, the bassist points out that he can be reached on +27 76 132 4438 (also available on whatsapp).
For feedback on this article contact Cde Hope Ka Ncube on +27 61 352 2453.