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Sacked Zimbabwe Musician Strikes Out on his Own

A few months ago, the name Innocent Mujintu wouldn't have meant much to most Zimbabweans. But recently, he was dismissed from the well known group Orchestra Mberikwazo by its leader Alick Macheso. His sacking has brought a lot of publicity – some of which he’s using to promote his new solo album.

From Harare, Voice of America's Derek Moyo reports that Alick Macheso allegedly dismissed Mujintu from the band on New Year's Day this year, after the popular sungura musician had been informed of the guitarist's plans to go solo. Speaking to the media after his public sacking, Mujintu said the development had shocked him because it was so unexpected.

While the musician may have been surprised, he didn't rest on his laurels. Mujintu is now basking in the glow of his debut solo CD. It's dedicated to the late Leonard Dembo, of Chitekete fame, and is titled: "Ndafunga Barura,"

The musician says he recorded the 6-track CD, backed by his band Zimbabwe African Rhythm Experts (or ZARE.) The opening track is titled "Masiziva". The musician sings about a man who's pleading with his wife to give him the respect he deserves. The man says he's given his wife -- the love of his life -- everything she needs, adding he has no intention to leave her, despite their problems.

Listening to Mujintu's album it's possible to mistake it for music produced by Dembo. Mujintu explains he was greatly influenced by the late Dembo, adding that he played in his band "The Barura Express" before his death. To show his great admiration for Dembo, Mujintu says he's dedicated the song "Dai Varipo" to the late musician.

Despite having performed with great musicians over the years, Mujintu's debut solo CD proves he has what it takes to tackle the Sungura music industry head-on. His song "Tipeiwo Zororo" has received generous airplay on local radio, and seems to be the favorite of many.

Other songs on the album include Tamba Tsoro, Ariyo Diaspora and Ndinyarewo.

The CD is now available in music stores countrywide. The album is marketed and distributed by the Record and Tape Promotions (RTP) record company.