THEY have their first major breakthrough, winning the Chibuku Road to Fame 2023 title. First mission accomplished! Now, the longer journey is about to begin for 911 Band, entering the mainstream music scene.
Others before have won the Chibuku Road to Fame, which aims to unearth music gems from Zimbabwe, but then didn’t go on to launch successful professional careers. But 911 has burning ambition.
Already, the Gweru-based group is working on its debut album, which is due out before year end.
And they are also looking forward to setting base in Harare, depending on the number of gigs coming their way. But firstly, a lot of charmed fans have been asking: why the name 911 Band?
“We want to be the first band to come to mind when there is a great need for entertainment,” explained Tona Tiakudze, who is the lead vocalist and public relations man for the self-man aged group.
“So, in the US, people call 911 when they have an emergency. So here in Zimbabwe, people should be calling us if they need good fun and good music.”
The 911 Band comprises Taona Tiakudze (TK), Matthew Mabengo aka Migobass on bass, Tinaishe Mugari (hotsticks) drummer, Peniel Kariteni (pennystrings) acoustic guitarist, Clemence Shirichena (cleanbird) lead guitarist and Tanatswa Yotama the keyboardist.
The group is yet to release its debut album after winning the US$15 000 grand prize in the Chibuku Road to Fame, a talent search show for unheralded groups.
“An album is still in the making and perfection and at this concert we will sample two to three songs from our upcoming album due out later this year, but most of the songs on this show will be cover songs,” Tiakudze said.
The group was founded in 2019 but after the Covid-19 pandemic, it only regrouped in 2021. The versatile group plays music for everyone insofar as covers are concerned, but it identifies with Afro-fusion.
And it is easy to see why the group is inspired by several musicians from Winky D, Jah Prayzah, Oliver Mtukudzi, Mokoomba and Travellers band, also from Gweru.
But what sets 911 Band from the rest is that it is not “just a band but a musical enterprise, hence our key values are professionalism and integrity.”
Added TK: “We have set ourselves as a company and the money we got we invested in our sound and transportation. We want to appreciate our fans and families for their steadfast commitment to supporting us this far and we pray that God makes them flourish and live long to see us shine till the end!” 911 recently had their debut performance in Harare at Theatre in the Park.
“Well, we were so excited about our first show at Theatre in the Park and we look forward to more business with Theatre in the Park as well as other new opportunities that are coming our way,” he said.
“I guess we will have to have a base in Harare and a base in Gweru because some of the group members, including myself, are still at the Midlands State University. But we wouldn’t mind a donor so that we have a house in Harare.”
The Harare gig was a major breakthrough for the group as it introduced itself to a wider and crossover audience at Theatre in the Park, which also plays host to several acclaimed local and international plays.
Daves Guzha, the producer of Rooftop Promotions who also runs Theatre in the Park, said the venue has always been a space and platform to herald new and upcoming artists.