Afro-Jazz diva Dudu Manhenga, whose road to music stardom saw her playing with various groups, has declared that she does not sing for the poor and is against her music being sold in the high density suburbs.
Manhenga on Wednesday night told a Mbare Traders Association representative, Reason Zinyama, that she would rather not have her music sold in the high density suburbs because she sings for a certain niche not the generality of the poor.
Manhenga chipped in while Zinyama was addressing stakeholders at The Artists’ Voices discussion on pricing, marketing, contracts and production in Zimbabwe’s Music at the Book Cafe.
Zinyama had said original music CDs were overpriced given that they were being produced at a cost of 35c. He said original CDs should be sold to traders at 65c for resale at a reasonable price that would stop piracy.
This did not go down well with Manhenga who stood up and asked if musicians were considered in the whole equation.
“A lot goes on in the making of an album. The rehearsal fees, transport, equipment and paying the band members as well as composing the songs. It takes a lot and we are not being rewarded. We cannot pay for our bills with whistles and ululating that we receive when performing.
“Next time organisers of this platform should bring people that know what they are doing not these pirates. This man is sitting there and telling us about infringed copies. He is a pirate and should be arrested,” said Manhenga.
Zinyama explained that traders wanted to push volumes for the artist’s music and benefit the musician, the trader and the music consumer.
He said there is a huge demand for local music at the market. But Dudu retorted saying she does not want to focus on quantity but quality.
She said her niche market involves those who can afford to part with $10 per CD and does not cater for the “dollar for two people”.
In giving an example for her type of market, Dudu asked this question: “Do the poor people in Zimbabwe eat cheese?”
Some in the audience shouted no and some said they did not care, and Manhenga smiled and added: “They do not eat it although it adds protein to the body because they do not have money. So I should not cry for my music to be bought by poor people at Mbare.”
Zinyama asked Dudu at what price she wanted her CDs to be sold and she stood up and went to stand in front of the man.
She started addressing him and demanded that he look up while she talked to him so they could be at the same level.
She elaborated the financial expenses she incurred in the production of her latest album.
She said her album was recorded live in Bulawayo and among other costs that she outlined in full — paying $30 for seven people to travel to Bulawayo on board City Link, $45 per night for three days at Zakes for accommodation for the seven and $20 per hour for six hours for studio time.
Manhenga claimed she also paid for the finishing touches done in South Africa.
She also said she paid 45 percent duty to bring her finished product back in the country.
Extra-blessings Kuchera of Pamberi Trust had to intervene at one time telling Manhenga to maintain professional distance from Zinyama as she had sat directly in front of him.
Kuchera also asked Zinyama if he was okay with answering questions after the tirade he received.
Manhenga, a mother of four, is known for her signature doeks.
She was once quoted in Zimbojam saying the length of her doeks depends on the occasion. “The length is 6 metres, it depends on the occasion.
“I wear long doeks when I am attending big shows for example the one when I shared the show with Lira I was putting on a 6-metre doek. When I am attending a meeting I put on a 5- metre doek and a 4-metre when I am performing at small shows like at The Mannenberg.”
She mainly performs at Mannenberg and has performed as a curtain raiser for big acts.
Manhenga travelled to Italy recently with her band. She also sits on the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (Nacz) board.
A music follower, Patience Musiiwa, warned against disrespecting the poor.
She said the poor have been supportive of the music industry as evidenced by sales of cassettes at flea markets once they are released.
The late Simon Chimbetu went platinum with his album due to sales from the poor people and Alick Macheso’s success is testament to this.
Musiiwa said powerful and successful musicians such as Oliver Mtukudzi should mentor women musicians on what to say as this can impact negatively on their sales. DAILY NEWS