Afro-jazz musician Ashton “Mbeu” Nyahore has established himself as the new face of Tuku Muzik in South Africa if his frequent invites to perform across the border are anything to go by.
Since tragedy struck on March 23, there has been much talk around who is the right individual to carry on Afro-jazz icon Oliver Mtukudzi’s musical torch that shone among many nations across the world, South Africa included.
However, it appears that the matter is not up for much debate now as any of Tuku’s mentees, including Mbeu, who returns to South Africa for the third time this year on Friday, are capable of reincarnating the man’s vast music legacy.
“We appreciate all the support and acknowledgement we are getting and we are glad to keep on following our strategic work plan, representing Zimbabwe and the [Tuku] legacy through music,” Mbeu told Standard Style in an interview.
Mbeu and his Mhodzi Tribe band, who give extensive credit to the mentorship received at Mtukudzi’s Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton, have not disappointed on stage so far as they serve well-executed performances.
“It is something we are extensively rehearsing for and are looking forward to making it a great success,” said Mbeu.
“We will perform with the full Mhodzi band in Sandton showcasing our unique sound and stage presence, traits we learnt from our school at Pakare Paya Arts Centre.”
The Mavanga singer seems to be heavily invested in keeping the Samanyanga flame alive after leading the Black Spirits for a Tuku memorial in Cape Town, South Africa, on March 30 where he also strummed the late singer’s signature acoustic.
This was a follow-up to the February 5 performances side-by-side with the late crooner’s daughter Selmor in what he described as “an honour to represent my mentor’s music at such a gathering”.
Meanwhile, Tuku’s death has ceased to be a story of sorrow only for most of his mentees, but a platform to showcase talent sown into them and this is notwithstanding that rival camps may have been created between the actual Mtukudzi surname bearers.
It is not certain how the Neria hit maker would have wanted the music side of his legacy to be handled in his absence, but when one listens to this crop of youngsters’ music, there is a sense that his brand of music could make it transcend his era.
For the legend’s students like Mbeu, treading carefully in the centre is the available safety net in the midst of the fierce fights that has seen both sides dismissing each other as if they were not related.
Mbeu has so far collaborated and performed with and for both sides believed to be in rival camps in the Mtukudzi family legacy inheritance debacle and such conduct is an indication he may have grasped lessons from Tuku’s art of diplomacy.
He has been performing across the country and recently he had a sold-out show at Club Mandisa in Mutare.