By Godwin Muzari
In 1999, a youthful duo stormed the showbiz scene with a scorcher titled “Tina”.
So powerful was “Tina” that it shook big names of the music scene that time as the newcomers claimed good space with amazing pace.
It was an irresistible song with a unique introduction that led people to attempt various vocal imitations of the introductory bass guitar.
“Hawairevesa Tina . . . dhuru-ru-ndu-ndu
“Hawairevesa Tina . . . dhiri-ri-ndi-ndi
“Hawairevesa Tina . . . dhingi-ndi-ndi-ndi”
The improvisations were varied and widespread, but they all proved a common undisputable case — “Tina” had stolen the limelight across the country. It became the merrymaking anthem of the year. It became the festive season song of the year.
The youthful duo behind the hit, Rangarirai Sagombeto and Kelvin Chikore, who fronted R&K African Sounds became overnight celebrities.
Fame knocked on Ranga and Kelvin’s youthful minds when they least expected it. Actually, they were not prepared for it.
Popularity caught them flat-footed, but they tried to jerk up to its demands.
Unfortunately, the fast pace in the lane of celebrity fame proved too swift for their unprepared, youthful minds. They consequently split when fame had just begun forming its primary layers of fortune in their careers.
This week, Memory Lane caught up with Ranga, who is now based in Beitbridge, for a look-back to the days of the popular hit. The song is based on a true story.
Tina was a beautiful girl from Dzivaresekwa and her actions inspired the song.
Kelvin is now based now based in Cape Town and numerous attempts to get his side of the story were fruitless.
However, Ranga — who composed the song — told Memory Lane about the beautiful Dzivaresekwa girl and how her story inspired the song. Her story did not only inspire the song “Tina”, but it also gave birth to follow-up tracks “Ndafunga Kaviri” and “Question Mark” that featured on two other albums from R&K African Sounds and were based on the same storyline.
“I wrote the song out of sympathy. It is a song about how my uncle Richard was dumped by his girlfriend in sad circumstances. His girlfriend, Tina was a beautiful girl. They stayed in the same neighbourhood in Dzivaresekwa. Many boys of our age, then, loved her and I was happy when my uncle told me she had accepted his love proposal,” Ranga recalled.
“The story of their affair spread in Dzivaresekwa because many boys were after her. Richard was a reserved character and many people did not expect him to ‘win’ the girl. I was happy when he did and some people admired him while others hated him”.
Ranga said Richard wanted to marry Tina and he introduced her to his relatives. Everything seemed to be on course until a sudden turn of events led to a serious heartbreak.
“Most of our relatives were convinced that the two were headed for marriage. Then, the most disappointing event came. It is an event that led to this song. I was very disappointed because we were so close with Richard and he used to tell me a lot about their affair.
“There is this guy who was a soldier and grew up in the same neighbourhood with my uncle and Tina. He also loved Tina, but his proposal had been turned down. Then he was deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo during that era when many local soldiers went on missions there.
“When he returned, he had a lot of money and his life suddenly changed. He went back for Tina and she could not resist the new lifestyle.
She then wrote a letter to Richard telling him she could no longer be in love with a poor boyfriend.
“Richard was so heartbroken. He exhibited signs of depression and I spent a long time trying to console him. I felt sorry for him and I wrote the song Tina. I was just beginning to do music, but my relatives did not know it.
The song “Tina” is about a heartbroken man who asks why the woman he loved dumped him when he least expected it.
The song is on a debut album from R&K African Sounds titled “Dama Rakanaka”. The band did two other songs to follow up to “Tina” and Ranga said the other tracks reflected how the story later unfolded.
The other songs are “Ndafunga Kaviri” from the album “Raramo” and “Question Mark” off the album “Mhemberero”.
“Ndafunga Kaviri” narrates how Tina tried to ask for forgiveness from Richard when the ‘new affair’ collapsed and “Question Mark” is the latter’s response when he refused to forgive his former girlfriend.
The songs are among the hits that R&K African Sounds did in the short period they rocked the music scene.
Their first split after the second album in 2000 disturbed their fast-rising career as they could not succeed in solo careers. They reunited in 2006 and released “Raramo” which did considerably well, but their last album “Garai Murudo” failed to sustain the momentum.
They went separate ways again in 2008, bringing the duo’s promising career to a sad end.
Ranga said they are currently working on a few duets that will feature on his upcoming album which he is currently recording. But a complete R&K African Sounds reunion seems unattainable.