Anyone who follows the African music scene in London has by now heard of the charismatic and powerful bass player, composer and singer Mashasha from Zimbabwe. Since his arrival in the UK Mashasha has been playing extensively and steadily building a following around the country, mostly as part of the unique and inventive “African drum and bass” duo Mashasha and Sam.
Mashasha comes from the Highfield area of Harare. Born Peter Mujuru, he has been known as Mashasha since his childhood, a nickname which translates roughly as “skills of a champion.”
Best known as one of Zimbabwe's top bassists, as a teenager his talent was noticed by his neighbour, the towering figure of Zimbabwean popular music Oliver Mtukudzi, the he played his first professional gig, supporting Oliver, at the age of 19 (in a band that also included Oliver’s nephew and Thomas Mapfumo’s son.
Within a short time, Mashasha became Harare’s most in-demand session bass player, working with leading artists such as Chiwoniso Maraire, Busi Ncube, Andy Brown & the Storm, Tanga Wekwa Sango, Zimbabwean rock band Bush Guru and protest poet Comrade Fatso.
In 2005-6 Mashasha was the bass player in the Zimbabwean all-star collaboration project “Hupenyu Kumusha” (which also featured Chiwoniso, Busi Ncube, Adam Chisvo and others). He was also the bass player and co-leader/composer in the cutting-edge Zimbabwean jazz group Too Open, which had steadily built a cult following and recorded 3 albums.
As the deepening crisis in Zimbabwe threatened both the freedom of expression and the survival musicians, Mashasha like many Zimbabwean artists soon found himself struggling to survive in Britain, and recording his first album as a solo artist.