Obadiah Mathulane

Mathulane still in the game

Langalakhe Mabena
ITa��S folly to talk about the Matabeleland native musical genre famously known as Tshibilika Ekhaya without mentioning Obadiah Mathulane.

With a musical career spanning over 20 years decorated with 23 albums and three DVDs, Mathulane believes his music is still not celebrated in Bulawayo, a notion which he says is caused by a lack of appreciation of local talent.

a�?When I started in 1988 I was part of the New Don Groovers, when we performed in places like Cape to Cairo or Pata Pata Gardens back then we had a large following and we could sell out shows in the city, a sign revealing that local talent was still celebrated and promoted.

a�?We didna��t have a problem of lack of supporting local music through the 1990s until we reached the early 2000s, local talent like Lovemore Majaivana started to search for greener pastures followed by other big names that have since vanished musically only because people no longer supported them,a�? says Mathulane.

As he is one of the loyal artistes who have suffered all the harsh conditions that characterise the local music industry, Mathulane who hails from Siphepha in Tsholotsho under Chief Matupula believes he has done a lot for the music industry even though he is not that much appreciated.

The Zimbabwe Music Award (Zima) accolade he scooped in 2014 for Best Engineered Album which was produced by veteran production master Joe Maseko, is one of the memorials decorated at his house in Emabuthweni (Number 2).

The award sends mixed emotions as ita��s just one accolade which means a�?nothinga�? to him as he didna��t get any package (money) from it while it also comforts him for his musical credit.

a�?The Zima award makes me hurt, at the same time it reminds me that at least I was recognised in the music industry even though I did not get any packages from it.

He proceeds:
a�?It was hard for a Bulawayo musician to be recognised in nationally acclaimed awards ceremonies but now ita��s a different ball game as Bulawayo now boasts of its own awards ceremony the Roil Bulawayo Arts Awards (Roil BAA) and Skyz Metro FM Awards which support and promote Bulawayo artistes, I also hear this year there were packages, a good thing to motivate artistes,a�? he added.

Even with such ceremonies supporting local talent, the Impilo hitmaker still believes for Bulawayo music to be even recognised outside the boarders sound production and professionalism has to be improved.

In fact, he says the Government has to support artistes and re-establish music record companies that can market and distribute the products of local artistes.

a�?Back then we had record companies such as Gramma Records, Ngaavongwe Records, Ingwe Studios among others that helped us with distributing our products but during the 2008 economic catastrophe they all shut down and never emerged again.

With a bleeding heart he continues: a�?Thata��s the reason why I do direct marketing and selling of my own music to the people in the city centre, this is a serious hindrance that local artistes are facing and if ever the Government wants to preserve our culture and tradition those companies have to come back,a�? says Mathulane.

Meanwhile, Mathulane is set to release his 24th album titled Ukuba nguBoss.

The six-track offering produced by Harare-based producer Peter Muparutsa with help from Mathulanea��s own band Jet Sounds will be launched on 10 August in South Africa, a place where he expressed he has a better following and support than his own mother country.