A display of two generations of musicians, somewhat perceived as worlds apart but with one thing in common - a melody that speaks to the masses and is not age discriminating. Tumediso Loeto, otherwise known as Shanti Lo, who is three decades younger than the legendary Oliver ‘Tuku’ Mtukudzi, has become a maestro in his own right. The duo dishes out tunes that stay imbedded in anyone’s mind. Like the many who have featured in the Mascom Live Sessions, they have left a long lasting impression and inscribed their names and left footprints at the home of these sessions, Botswana Craft.
Shanti Lo has the ability to warm up a stage for any musician irrespective of experience or genre and still capture hearts. With his gyrating moves and infectious energy, he is capable of making women and men alike scream and ask for more. Shanti Lo has mastered the art of ‘manipulating’ his audience into eating right from his palm. This is a rare skill of many musicians his age, especially in a genre known to be predominantly of adult appeal. As he belts out his tunes such as the much appreciated, ‘O ya Kae’, this rare gem knows exactly where he wants his audience and in no time takes it there. Such talent he has manifested in a genre known to many as jazz but unknown as such to the legendary Mtukudzi, who prefers not to categorise and just term it music.
“What is jazzy about it?” he quizzes in his usual calmness.
On the other hand, Mtukudzi captures his legion of fans, young and old with his husky voice, graceful stage moves and perplexes them as he strums his acoustic guitar, an instrument that sets him apart from the rest in his class. Still, with such distinct sound, he would rather not term his music which has in the past earned itself a string of categories, from traditional, afropop and chimurenga to what is now known as Tuku Music. But he maintains, his is merely African music.
Mtukudzi, unlike his age mates, moves from strength to strength. If anyone had been at his show at the same venue last year, they would have not believed he would pull a show more entertaining than that. Infact, some of his fans would say, ‘the old man has seen better days and that age has definitely taken its toll on him.’ But like the tallest tree that catches the strongest wind, Tuku keeps getting better and better by the years. Mtukudzi says his performances in Botswana are purely fun, even when he keeps coming back because he never feels any pressure to outdo himself from previous performances.
For a man who in 2010 lost a son and seemed to be hitting rock bottom as he led a life which became the subject of rumours and innuendo, as well as brushing off fears of death because of his frail looks, he keeps going strong. In fact, he told BG Style that he has no intention of calling it quits.
In a rather shocked response, he quizzed, “why?”
“I cannot run away from myself,” he said.
On September 22, he will be 60 years old and he is set to release his 61st album, which he said will feature new songs. His manager, Sam Mataure said Mtukudzi will stage a big show in Harare, Zimbabwe on September 21.