BULAWAYO – Bulawayo’s Bluez Café proudly hosts gifted young musician and songwriter Marvellous “CeeJay” Tshuma next Saturday.
Already well-known and endorsed by his peers in the City of Kings, he leads Cafeteria Jamz band.
Self-described as of the contemporary Afro-pop genre, the show is titled Ikaya lami (my home).
CeeJay says: “My musical style is purely from the heart…”
Ikaya lami is inspired by the fact that we all come from many different backgrounds and different situations and the many stories around that.
The February 10 show will deliver fresh original compositions by CeeJay, as well as his renditions of a few anthems of his generation.
CeeJay has found his home in music, throughout his childhood a refuge from the pains of life.
Raised in the SOS Children’s Village in Bulawayo, he started playing the marimba at the age of six, and by 10 was part of a band by the Musical Box schooled by SOS music director at the time, John Gara who went on to teach him piano and bass at the age of 12.
His love of music grew along with his hunger to learn more. He now plays and always still learning 22 musical instruments of diverse origins, from piano, bass, guitar and drums, to traditional instruments from the marimba and mbira family; a wide range of percussive instruments such as the West African udu clay drum, the isigaba one-stringed guitar of Botswana, the ukulele, recorder, clarinet, oboe and flute.
He reads music and continuously pursues his desire for music in every form.
CeeJay’s long-term dream is to find, learn and teach these instruments to people from disadvantaged backgrounds — like his own — for whom formal training in music schools and academies are far out of reach.
And he is already “paying forward” by learning and sharing in the same way he was nurtured by Gara, who has been teaching young musicians for many years.
CeeJay’s hunger for music has led him, through hard work, to play on the same stages as many top Zimbabwean artists including Oliver Mtukudzi, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, Orthnell “Mangoma” Moyo, Jeys Marabini, Dudu Manhenga, Sandra Ndebele, Mzoe 7, Sibusiso Harvey, The Band with No Name, “Stango” lo Nongoma, Owen Maseko,etc
He has performed at Bulawayo’s annual Intwasa Arts Festival and Ibumba Festival, for the opening of Bluez Café and the Bulawayo Arts Awards launch, and at Harare International Festival of the Arts (Hifa).
In May 2017, he led the band that supported the play Tellers, The Musical, which performed in Bulawayo and Harare to much acclaim.
The name of the band, Cafeteria Jamz comes from CeeJay’s college days when he would go to the school cafeteria just to listen to the music that played in the background, and where he received exposure to a wide range of music genres.
Cafeteria Jamz comprises Tshuma on acoustic and lead guitars, marimba and vocals; Melaine Moyo on vocals and shakers, Gomez Dube on percussion, Mncedisi Sinyolo on keys, and Ashley Ndhlovu on bass. CeeJay is also “at home” at the Bluez Café, where he has enjoyed rehearsal facilities, participated in artists meetings, and provided music for events Nhimbe Trust programmes for Women in Theatre and Television, which is supported by their Belgian partner Africalia, and has delivered two exciting musical theatre productions in 2017 — Tellers, and Blood Tongue.
Bluez Café was established by Nhimbe Trust in partnership with the Youth Contact Centre (YCC) at 98A Lobengula Ave as an inclusive enabling facility, at which performing artists and producers of culture may develop, promote and perform their works, and participate in nation-building.
In late 2017, a generous donation of drum kits was warmly received from the Winterbottom Charitable Fund, through long-time YCC partners, South Tyneside College, United Kingdom.
Access to these and other music instruments for artists of Bulawayo makes it possible for the survival and advancement of gifted young artists such as CeeJay & the Cafeteria Jamz — and promises an exciting performance of the group in Ikaya Lami — at home at the Bluez Café in the afternoon of next Saturday.