Clive “Mono” Mukundu started off in the music business eight years after independence in 1988. He is known as Mono, a stage name he was given in 1989, from his single dreadlock look at the time. Mono started off as a guitarist for a band, Sarungano Chanters. He then became a session musician, today almost 30 years later he has recorded over a thousand albums. He had a natural born obsession with music from a tender age and had always wanted to be a musician. At around 9 years he remembers creating his own homemade tin guitar. This obsession developed into a career and to date he has worked with artists such as Oliver Mutukudzi, Chiwoniso Maraire, Jah Prayzah, Alexio Kawara, Hope Masike, Sulu Chimbetu and many others. Music has had him travel to places that include USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, South Africa, Botswana, Malawi, Ethiopia, Uganda and many others.
This however has not come without challenges. Like most African parents at the time his parents had other plans for his future. His dad always wanted him to be a school teacher, a profession that guaranteed decent earnings in those days. Over the years he has had to prove to his parents one can be a professional musician and support family, lead a normal life and proved to them he has. His experiences has taught him to be more supportive of his own children’s dreams rather than force his own on them. One exciting thing for him is watching his son Takakunda coming into music as a session guitarist.
Clive admits the music industry in Zimbabwe over the years has been crippled by a bad economy. “This gave birth to piracy and piracy in turn killing the legitimate music industry model of record labels. The gap left by the absence of record labels, is why we have artist recording music that goes nowhere because of lack of marketing skills. Without marketing the product dies a natural death.” Despite these challenges some Zimbabwean music artists have found a way around the challenges the economy presented.
“The Mbira sound, the Mbira Guitar style is an authentic Zimbabwean sound that we should own and share with the world with pride, Mono says . “Over the years, no Zimbabwean artist has ever gone international by copying a foreign sound we should check our history because history keeps repeating himself.” According to Mono, the selling point for Zimbabwean music artists will always be the uniqueness of our Mbira & Jit sound. The music business favours those who embrace their uniqueness and are proud of who they are.
Mono attributes his success to his persistence & professional approach. He takes inspiration from different artists from different genres. As a guitarist he was inspired by Jonah Sithole and Jimi Hendrix. As a song writer he takes inspiration from Bob Marley and as a music producer he is inspired by Andrew Baird, Fortune Muparutsa & Quincy Jones. He has recorded over a thousand albums, worked with a lot of artists and shows no sign of slowing down. “I have been persistent with my art, always practicing and researching to improve myself. Professionalism also plays a big part, I make sure my clients are happy.”
Follow Clive Mono Mukundu :
Twitter – @monomukundu
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Gwenyagitare