HARARE – Mutare’s Runn Family marked their second show in Harare in 15 years with a scintillating performance on the Book Café main stage on Saturday night.
The veteran band, which last performed in the Zimbabwean capital city in April after being in limbo for over a decade and half, turned on the style in a concert that also featured equally talented Assegai Crew and Moodley Brothers also from the eastern border city.
Runn Family, fronted by Muparutsa siblings Peter, Jerry and Mike, used the concert dubbed Mutare Comes to Harare, to sample almost all tracks off their latest six-track album titled Echo of a Child’s Anthem.
The jazzy new album includes a track called Huru Inokudzwa Newayo, a dedication to the late legendary actor Walter Muparutsa who was a cousin of the Muparutsas.
Other tracks on the new album recorded at Monolios Studios and produced by Peter Muparutsa, Victor Muparutsa and Clive “Mono” Mukundu are Chihera Changu, Tange Nhamo, Ndichauya Nenhoro, Kungoti Pote and the title track Echo of a Child’s Anthem.
But the Mutare band, which was formed in the 1970s, did not completely dedicate their performance to the new album. They rolled back the years by performing their golden oldies like Moyo Muti, Gumbo Mumba and Inhapitapi Chete.
The highlight of Runn Family’s slot was when they did Hatichina Wekutamba Naye and I don’t wanna be a sinner again. The former was a dedication to late Mozambican president Samora Machel while the later was composed in honour of ex-Bundu Boys bassist David Mankaba who publicly declared his HIV status before his death in 1991.
While the Runn Family performance was easily the pick of the Mutare Comes to Harare Concert, Assegai Crew and Moodley Brothers did enough to demonstrate that Zimbabwe’s Eastern border city is awash with music talent.
It was a special night for Assegai Crew which has been robbed of key members by death since their formation in 1991.Though drummer Silas Makumbe is the only surviving member of the original ragga manyika outfit, the new-look Assegai Crew demonstrated why many believe the Mutare group has what it takes to be one of the country’s top bands.
Powered by the stunning vocal ability of lead singer Massey Mbutsa, Assegai Crew performed tracks off their impressive fourth album“Tauyahe (The Comeback)” and some golden oldies composed by group’s ex-band leader, the late Stobert Chidikano.
While performances by the Runn Family and Assegai Crew were largely up-tempo, the Moodley Brothers, made up of siblings Joel Moodley (bass and vocals) and Jason Moodley (lead Guitar) as well as talented 19 year old lead singer, Tricia Zodetsa, chose to treat the audience to some mellow cover versions of international hits. Their playlist included Sade’s Smooth Operator and Carlos Santana’s Black Magic Woman.