By Tawanda Mudzonga
Published March 1, 2013
Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana, one of Zimbabwe’s most beloved singers, returned to the Book Cafe on February 28, 2013 for the first in a series of monthly shows. Fans will be delighted to know that starting with this concert, this extraordinary performer will perform on the last Thursday of each month at The Book Cafe.
Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana began her career and was introduced to the public acting in the movie, MORE TIME, in 1994. Since then, she has become an accomplished vocalist who has cemented her reputation as one of Zimbabwe’s most talented female artists.
“I’ve been singing since the age of three or four,” Katomeni-Mbofana says. “My mum’s side of the family, which I pretty much grew up around, are very musical. And throughout school I did quite a lot of classical music. It was during my A-Level holidays that I stumbled upon jazz. There was a lunchtime jazz session on radio and they were playing Ella Fitzgerald live in Germany, and that’s where I discovered my love for jazz.”
As soon as she completed high school, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana joined long-established jazz band, The Vice.
“These guys were legends in jazz music in Zimbabwe and so I learnt a lot from them. From then, I pretty much grew in that genre,” she says.
From there, Prudence went on to become the lead singer of one of Zimbabwe’s most well-known jazz bands, Jazz Invitation. ‘Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana fronted the band for ten years, cementing her reputation as an extraordinary vocalist.’ She has also sung as a backing vocalist for Victor Kunonga, The Cool Crooners, Albert Nyathi and Tanga wekwa Sando.
Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana’s performance and style have been delighting fans for many years. Called one of the greatest jazz vocalists of her generation, she released her first album in 2011, the self-titled Prudence which spawned the hits Emancipation, Stronger, and Baba Bhoyi. She is currently working on her second album which she says will be released before the end of 2013.Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana is a consummate entertainer who gives 100% onstage. Her music defies categorization, but has strong jazz elements, including an extensive repertoire of classic jazz standards.
Of her musical style, Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana says, “I grew up with a lot of Christian music, so lots of the whole gospel thing and church going on. My dad loved music, he loved his rock, he loved his RnB, Aretha Franklin, and Millie Jackson and reggae. And so I also had that music growing up and it’s pretty much in my genes. And because of that, when I released my debut album, people were surprised that it was not jazz as they know it, but this is because of the influence I grew up with. It’s just me experimenting with my kind of music.”
Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana is a graduate of the Zimbabwe College of Music where she learnt and honed her vocal technique. She describes her music as Afro-Contemporary and was a standout addition to the Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) musical programme in 2012. She has worked with the same band for the past four years and along with Kudzai Sevenzo, is deep in rehearsals preparing for a tour to Denmark that will begins in March 2013.
The singer says, “A lot of my songs are about life. But the love songs are in there as well.” The gifted songstress never fails to delight with her amazing vocal range, extraordinary poise, power and memorable performance.
With her best-selling CD, Prudence, a hit with her fans, this gifted and veteran singer will leave you wanting more.