Pakare Paye Arts Centre

by Dumisani Kufaruwenga

When we were growing up, any inclination which showed knowledge, skill or any desire or predesposition towards a career in music, was treated as an abomination.

It was frowned on.

A career in music was associated with vagrancy, lack of productivity, and downright failure.

ln shona, this phenomenon of aspiring to be a muscician was labelled as “chirombe,” the spirit of the pauper.
ln the Zimbabwean context, there could be some truth in this olden day belief which is to the effect that the love of a musical vocation is a weakness, and amounts to no more than the folly of going astray.

Here in Zimbabwe, few musicians have prospered, and many have lived a life of licentiousness, deprivation and downright debauchery.

l do not understand the link between talent and oddity, but it exists, and not only among musicians.

Throughout history, gifted men and women have been societal misfits. During his time, people regarded Pavlov as a madman. He kept dogs, and studied their behaviour and kept records thereof. Although people regarded him as mad, his findings on conditioned reflex are the cornerstone of modern day biological science.
But he died destitute.

Dambudzo Marechera produced what many regard as Zimbabwe’s greatest literary works, but people said he was mad, and he too died a pauper.

The above examples also apply to musicians, and with equal force.
System Tazvida was gifted, and very famous too. But what did he leave for his children?
Personally, I love the music of James Chimombe. lt transports me into the spiritual realm. But in material terms, what did he achieve?

“The Bundu Boys”, “The Four Brothers,” “Mbira DzeNharira,” are some of Zimbabwean musical outfits who achieved international fame. But did it translate to money?

The voice of Andy Brown haunts me, the magic it exudes is pure witchcraft! l hear there were problems between him and alcohol.
“Strong wishes, great desires Your love for liqour
troubles you
Why dont you drink up,
so we can go home?”
The above soulful song of Andy Brown summarises our woes, the woes of the drinking lot.
John Chibadura, Leornard Dembo.

The song of Zimbabwean music is a song of sorrow.
But “Pakare Paye Arts Centre” is something else. lt is owned by the lengendary great late muscician Oliver Mtukudzi. lt is in Norton.

lts grandeur is breathtaking.
The moment you step your foot in it, you feel as if you have stepped on holy ground.
An aura of power and success and achievement engulfs you as you walk its serene sorrounds.
The artefacts and sculptures on display symbolise the artistic gift of the owner of “Pakare Paye Arts Centre.”
The ambience!
The serenity!
The expensive taste!
Who says that artistic gift should be meagre?

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