Finton and his Guitar take on Europe
Tell us about your background and how you entered into the music business?
I grew up in Mutare, in a township/ghetto called Dangamvura, where I learned a lot about life and from where I still take lots of inspiration. My brother Angelicus Tatenda, was the one who was always pushing me into music and encouraging me. When we were still young he enjoyed hearing me sing. Since he passed away of cancer, I still always hear him calling for more songs, I play with the picture that he is listening to me.
Music is my life and a way to express myself.
My father was a musician and managed the Runn Family. Famous musicians of that time used to come to our house regularly e.g. Peter Mparutsa, Fortune Mparutsa. My best friend Farai Chitakatira, who introduced me to some musicians playing the guitar, when we were already 19 years old. From seeing and hearing the guitars and how the fingers would move on the strings, I just knew that very soon I will be playing the guitar just like them. Especially Kevin Yona , Clifford Mudzinganyama together with Archiford Taengwa made me believe in myself and my music. They are the ones who encouraged me to write my very first song.
Do you write your own songs and what is your main inspiration?
I write most of my songs, the main themesthat inspire me being love, ghetto life, togetherness, respect, nature, reflection of what is happening around me and where I am standing in life, where I am coming from and where I am heading to. I am very observant of my surrounding…
Your tour of Europe is covering how many countries and where will you be performing?
My tour of Europe is covering three countries, France, Germany and Netherlands. I arrived in Paris and stayed for nearly three weeks in Montpellier, in the south of France. There I performed twice at an Irish Pub called “The O’liver” and also I was booked for a private function. Shortly before Christmas I continued my tour to Germany. In a city in the north of Germany called Leer, I performed for a Christmas charity event organized by the protestant church in Leer. Now I am staying around Munich, in the south of Germany, home to the football team,Bayern München.
Here in the region I will still have 4 shows to play. The next country to visit is Netherlands where I will meet up with fellow Zimbabwean artists Allen Mapingure and Rina Mushonga in Amsterdam. After that back to Germany and end of February I will be back in Zimbabwe.
Simbai, your first album, what is the story and inspiration to this album?
The story behind Simbai is strength, love and appreciation. It should inspire listeners to be stronger and actually to see and realize the strength that everybody has within to move on. It is also about love, the love among friends, the love within a relationship, for nature or to our parents. Here I want to point out the song “Amai naBaba”, where I mainly sing for my own parents to thank them for what they gave me in life. They made me be the person I am right now. But I also want to sing for all the parents in this world, to show them respect and encourage them that they have a very important role to play in their childrens´lives.
How is the second album coming along?
Its coming along very well. Being abroad has given me new inspiration. A different environment makes gives me new insights and at the same time it gives me space to reflect on my life in Zimbabwe. I am usually not the kind of songwriter who grabs a pen and paper to write a song. I write my songs with the guitar, freestyling. Through these experiences, a new song is growing in me until the moment that it comes out and I have to play and sing it! The second album will be largely influenced by this Europe Tour. I am using some lines in german or tell about places that I saw.
Can we look forward to any collaborations with artists from Europe on your new album?
Unfortunately it is not planned to have collaborations with artists from Europe on the next album. Since I am here, I am meeting other artists and I am collaborating with them. My songs are definitely influenced and inspired by those artists, but as the album is concerned, recording will take place in Zimbabwe, it will not be possible to record together with those artists from Europe.
What are your thoughts on the music industry in Zimbabwe?
The music industry in Zimbabwe is quite tough. There is little support and opportunities for upcoming artists, though the talent and passion for music is there. In Harare it’s a bit better. Platforms like the Book Café – Open Mic and the Zimbabwe German Society Acoustic Night offer opportunities for upcoming artists to showcase their music, create connections and get experience.
In general I think we should focus and appreciate more on our local music and offer opportunities to local musicians for exposure and to learn about how to find their place in the music industry. It is a very good thing that in the radios in Zimbabwe 75 % of the played music is from Zimbabwe.
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