TALKING Drum lead singer/songwriter Michael Lannas recently returned from the United Kingdom where, besides recording music, he was also working as a pharmacist.
Lannas is set to end his long absence on the mainstream music scene with a gig scheduled for 30 May 2021 at number 102 Thetford Road in Avonlea, Harare. Dubbed Ngoma Dzinotaura Music Festival, the concert will also feature the talents of revered bassist Kelly Rusike and Jazz Invitation, Dzimatic, Nick Kuraz, Ruda C and Trey Sean.
Performances at the homecoming concert start at mid-day until 6pm with music lovers allowed to bring their own drinks but will pay US$20 at the gate.
According to Lannas, he missed home and the people. In an interview with The NewsHawks’ Jonathan Mbiriyamveka (JM), Lannas (ML) also revealed for the first time how he has roped in superstar Oliver Mtukudzi’s other son, Omel, into his Talking Drum outfit.
Most people would know Sam as Mtukudzi’s only son but, according to Lannas, Omel who is in the Talking Drum line-up, has a bright future just like the legendary Mtukudzi, known as Tuku to his legion of fans. Lannas also revealed why he left Zimbabwe for the UK and his thoughts about why Zimdancehall will not break the international market especially in the UK and the United States. Read the excerpt.
JM: Welcome home. It is good to have you back. What did you miss most?
ML: I missed Zimbabwean people most; my people. Zimbabwe is the best place to live.
JM: Going back to basics, how old are you now?
ML: How old do you want me to be?
JM: Obviously, it’s been long since you left. Music has changed so much. How do you hope to revive your career?
ML: Mukadzi wangu handinga musiye, handina kubvira ndamusiya. Tichiri kudanana. Hatina kumborambana. (Music is my first love, I’ve never divorced my wife we are still together).
JM: Many people still enjoy your classics Hapana Mazwi, The River and Moyo Wangu Urikuchema. Would you tells us how many albums you have to date and their titles? Would you share in particular why you referred to Machingura’s daughter in one of your songs?
ML: I’ve recorded 10 albums, mainly for the UK market. By the way, my favourite song is Red Sun. Machingura’s daughter, true story.
JM: Your music is influenced by various elements. What do you call your music?
ML: Makaradhi music.
JM: Share with us your music background.
ML: I was strongly influenced by maskandi music. It’s the music of the migrant workers of southern Africa. When I was a child, this music would mesmerise me. I never stopped to think that was the most beautiful music I’ve heard. I first heard it when I was still a baby.
JM: Are you back together with family and for good?
ML: I’m back in Zimbabwe for good. Zimbabwe is my family.
JM: As people of colour, how has identity contributed to your music career?
ML: My community has the most talented people around.
JM: How did you learn to sing isiNdebele and Shona?
ML: I was born with an African soul, brown man, black soul.
JM: You once said there was no future for Zimdancehall in 2018 and today it is still going strong. Is this still your view?
ML: It’s still my view because it’s not selling anywhere else in the world. Unless you’re selling music to the UK or USA market, it still amounts to doing nothing.
JM: Talking Drum has seen members come and go. What inspired the name?
ML: A talking drum is the most famous instrument.
JM: Most fans call you a legend, do you see yourself in that regard?
ML: No, I do not.
JM: Why not?
ML: I do what I do for the love of music. If nobody was listening I would still do it. That’s not legend, that’s just my life.
JM: You have a show coming this month-end on 30 May, tell us what fans should expect?
ML: A lot of very new and very incredible songs. I’m currently working with the best musicians I’ve ever had the honour of working with.
JM: You have been rehearsing since you came. Tell us who’s who in the new Talking Drum?
ML: Rudaviro Chimombe, the most incredible vocalist I’ve ever worked with; Trey Sean, Omel, who happens to be the son of the late Oliver Mtukudzi and he’s going to be as great a superstar as his late father.
JM: Who among the new crop of artistes do you think will go far in music?
ML: Freeman, Nutty O, Tammy Moyo, but Rudaviro Chimombe will go further than any of them.
JM: What has been your worst experience in your music career?
ML: Being bottled on stage.
JM: Where was this and why were you bottled?
ML: I was bottled at Arcadia Community Centre. Coloured people did not appreciate my music.
JM: Last but not least, would you clarify on the issue that you once faced a culpable homicide charge, prompting you to leave for the UK?
ML: True. Being famous and infamous is only two letters.
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