Home » Arts & Culture » The Man Behind Bv Labien [interview]

BV Labien Musica is one of the longest surviving rhumba ensembles in the country but more interesting is the man behind the group: director Sam Ndingindi Chamangwana.

Despite a busy schedule the man always finds time with the group no matter where or when they perform. Our Entertainment Reporter Reckson Mandizvidza (RM) talks to Chamangwana (SC) about the group and related issues.

RM: Who is Sam Chamangwana?

SC: Sam is a financial analyst and businessman in transport sector but has a lot of interest in the music sector which explains why I am also a sponsor and artistic director of the group BV Labien Musica.

My relationship with BV Labien is not the first involvement in music.

RM: Tell us more about your role in BV Labien.

SC: I am the founder, sponsor as well as the manager of the group but I’m not part of any of the performances meaning I do not play any instrument or do any singing in their performances.

RM: How did BV Labien come to being?

SC: It’s a long story but it all began with an amalgamation of young Zimbabwean musicians who were venturing into rhumba music. These artistes called themselves Inter Musica and were musicians from already established outfits like Diamond Musica amongst others but wanted to do something purely with Zimbabwean talent. I personally knew some of the individuals and they approached me so that I could assist them financially which I readily did for the love of music.

The group however managed only to record a single album and was marred with wrangles which led to its split and in 2000.

A splinter group that called itself Labien approached me again for assistance and they wanted me to be part of the group.

We merged and my signature “BV”, which stands for Brake View – my transport company – was incorporated in the name to make BV Labien Musica thus the group began its journey in 2001.

RM: That means you are now in the music business for more than a decade. How has the group managed to survive when most rhumba groups have fallen by the wayside?

SC: I think one of the underlining factors has to do with the passion for what one does.

I then salute the lads for staying g and following their hearts but on the other hand there is also discipline that is needed in the day to day activities of anything that is to stay put.

Some of the groups failed mainly because of individual interests and overally a simple lack of planning which is vital in anything that is to become serious.

RM: Why did you choose rhumba music?

SC: Well, basically I love music but when the guys approached me in the initial stages, rhumba was the genre of the time with Zimbabwe playing host to a number of international icons.

We had acts like Yondo Sister, Kanda Bongoman, Pepe Kalle, Allan Kounkou and many others so that’s one of the reasons why rhumba was the choice. It was the most popular music at that time.

RM: You indicated that you are a finance executive so how do you manage to run the group and keep up with the demands of work?

SC: Usually I attend most of the shows simply because they are performed over the weekend otherwise during the week it will be hectic. However, as the manager I also have to see how the boys rehearse so at times I work with them at rehearsals during the week.

When I am not around I have a friend Johnson Chiwara who will do the running around so that operations remain smooth.

RM: Recently BV Labien was deserted by some of its members. What were the circumstances and how was the issue resolved?

SC: The majority of squabbles are because of leadership wrangles especially as to who is the band leader and such wrangles have been existent from the era of Inter Musica.

I have managed to deal with them by avoiding the appointment of leaders based on our social relations but from a business perspective and as much as some have left the group we still move on quite smoothly because in business the absence of an individual should not affect operations.

RM: How many albums have BV Labien released so far?

SC: We have five albums to date which are “Double Impact-Operation Chamangwana”, “Kumba Handiende”, “Dzikama-Label Chete”, “Mwana Wako” and “Kechi 1- Zvirisei-sei”. We are already working towards the sixth.

Source : The Herald

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