Reflections of Dendera Kings’ Longest Serving Member
From the Zimbabwe Herald
by Richmore Tera, 9th April 2012
“Only fools contribute in destroying what they have helped build.” These are the golden words of Moffat Nyamupandu, Orchestra Dendera Kings’ longest serving and surviving member. If there were long-service awards in the music industry, then the fiery bassist would have landed one for his passion, commitment and consistency for Dendera music.
For a good 26 years, Mofela, as he is fondly called in music circles, has been with the Orchestra Dendera Kings working religiously to ensure that the signature bass-line that is the backbone of Dendera music, remains untainted.
“I am the longest serving member of the group because I am determined to create and maintain a consistent sound that becomes synonymous with the band.
“This becomes your signature just like what the late Bob Marley did with the Wailers and also the Beatles.
“There is no reason in hopping from one band to another, helping in creating their respective sounds and at the end of the day you still remain with nothing,” Moffat said.
And true to his words, he has been with the group since 1986 and served under the leadership of the late Simon, Naison and Brian, as well as Allan (all siblings) and now Sulumani Chimbetu.
“I started playing the bass guitar for the band in 1986 while it was still called the Marxist Brothers, led by Simon and Naison.
“The first album I did with the band was ‘Dendera Resango’ followed by ‘Africa’ which was released in 1987.
“When Naison split to form his group G 7 Commandos, I continued recording with Simon until the time he was arrested and his young brother Brian stood in for him as the lead vocalist.
“We recorded with Brian until Simon’s period in jail had passed and at one time also I also helped Naison to record some of his albums.
“When Simon passed away in 2005, Allan took over and again, we recorded with him and now we are under the leadership of Sulumani,” narrated Moffat.
But how does he compare Sulu to his late father?
“Sulu is taking exactly after his late father. He is Chopper (Simon) incarnate. Just like his late father, he is managing to weather all the challenges that are coming his way. I see him going a long way in his career considering his age,” he said.
Moffat says his sober habits keep him consistent and youthful despite being in his 40s.
“When they tell me that it is my birthday, it worries me a lot because it reminds me of how old I’ve become.
“Unofanirwa kuramba uchizvinzwa (you should keep your youthfulness). I have principles that I follow. I want to be always sober, although I take one or two beers here and there. I also watch the type of food that I take and my weight as well,” Moffat said.
His passion for the guitar started when he was in grade two at St Peters Primary School in Chinhoyi, playing the banjo.
“I joined Simon Chimbetu’s group after being identified by one of his members.
“I recall the band later changing its name from Marxist Brothers to Orchestra Dendera Kings because some European countries didn’t want anything to do with the ideology of Marxism,” he said.
Posted on April 14, 2012, in African Musicians, Opinion, Tribute and tagged Africa, Dendera Kings, Dendera Resango, Mofela, Moffat Nyamupandu, Naison Chimbetu, Orchestra Dendera Kings, Simon Chimbetu, Sulumani Chimbetu, Zimbabwean Music. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a Comment.