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The Pied Pipers Zimbabwe’s Best musical outfit

HE PIED PIPERS were one of the most commercially successful and prolific recording Bands in the history of Zimbabwean Music. Formed in Mbare the Band started their career in Barbara Tredgold Circle and Muchirahondo Crescent (two streets in Mbare).The original Pied Pipers consisted of the five members of The Rhythm and Blues Band but the line-up evolved into William Mhlanga (Louis Mhlanga’s elder Brother) on drums, Brian Rusike on keyboards, Chowas Mdoka on bass guitar, Fungai Neganje on lead guitar and his brother Gideon Neganje on vocals.
The Pied Pipers became one of Zimbabwe’s post Independence Bands that changed the shape of Zimbabwean music and was the first Zimbabwean Band to break through into the international markets.
The Band went into the studio and recorded several hit singles with Teal Record Company. Gideon Neganje who was busy churning out hits such as “Country Boy”, “Fatherland”, “Freedom Train”, “Reggae Sounds of Africa”, “Lightning”, “Jimmy Boy” and “You Can’t Stop The Revolution” gave the Pied Pipers a new lease of life as the band became more and more popular.
During it’s early days of the group released “Let’’s Rebuild Zimbabwe” and “Reggae Sounds of Africa”, singles that had a massive support as well as sales. Reggae Sounds of Africa won a gold disc in South Africa .When the genius Brian Rusike joined the Band, he co-authored the single “African Woman” with Gideon. An album called “People of the World Unite” came soon afterwards.But just when things were going on well, Gideon, the soul of the group was involved in a near fatal accident in when the group was on its way to a concert in the Midlands town, Kwekwe where they were billed to play at the Golden Mile Hotel. He was twenty-eight at the time.
Gideon was in the lead car when the accident happened.He died soon after as a result of the injuries he sustained in the accident. At this stage, the band changed its line-up a great deal. New members came in to join the band. First it was William Mhlanga (Louis Mhlanga’s elder brother), who came in with Brian Rusike of the “Ruva Rangu” fame, then Jane Chenjerai (Susan Chenjerayi’s daughter). Later Doreen Ncube and Busi Ncube also became members of the band. Brian Rusike then left to join Talking Drum (I was blessed. God is good !!!) Brian became a greatly respected and much loved member of Talking Drum. Gideon was indeed a great composer and one endowed with a great voice. His music was appreciated internationally. He is the only Zimbabwean who has songs copied by international artists without him having travelled to Europe.
Boney M, the Germany-based black pop group is understood to have taken “African Woman”. Then the two blind South African singers, Steve Kekana and Babys Mlangeni also used Gideon’s song, “Reggae Sounds of Africa” and “African Woman” respectively. While playing at Hotel Elizabeth, new faces came onto the stage to be part of the mighty Pied Pipers. The late Derek Tizora, Sandra Thompson and Alois Jentala are such examples. Most of these came in to replace members who had left. The late Jonah Mtuma came in to replace Brian Rusike.Brian Rusike wrote many songs for the Band. His most famous composition is, no doubt, “Ruva Rangu”, but he had several other notable compositions, which included tracks such as Fatherland, Kure Kure, Makwiro, We As One and Manana on the Pied Pipers’ album titled People of The World Unite.It goes without saying that Ruva Rangu has not only been Brian’s, but also Zimbabwe’s most covered composition with over 200 groups doing cover versions of the song. The song itself is Internationally recognised and respected. The lyrics of the song can be found on most Internet search engines worldwide.
The Pied Pipers:
A truly remarkable Zimbabwean Band
Cred: Michael Lannas

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