Of Solo Na Mutsai: The Story Behind The Song

It’s a throw back *boom* it’s a long time ago, what year is it, where are you and what’s the hit love song that makes you want to fall in love……..

This song is from back, way back:
Solo Na Mutsai by Jonah Moyo and the Devera Ngwena Jazz band.

Solo and mutsai

The most famous couple in the literary world hands down has to be Romeo and Juliet, even though the love story is tragic for the star-crossed lovers. Zimbabwe’s most famous couple is without a doubt Solo and Mutsai, made popular by the track by Jonah Moyo and propelled the Devera Ngwena Jazz Band to stardom in the 80s

Solo Na Mutsai Lyrics (and English Translation)

Solo Na Mutsai vana vanodana avo (Solo and Mutsai these kids love each other)
Nyangwe ukaita tujerasi hapana zvinombobatsira (Even if you get jealous it cant be helped)

Vana vanodana maGutu vaomesa (These kids love each other in Gutu they are speechless)
Rudo rwavo rwukuru (Their love is great)
Shamwira bvira kure (bad friends better stay away)

Solo Na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
Vana vanodana avo (These Kids love each other)
Mangawana ndichaenda kwaGutu kunotsvaka wangu Mutsai (Tomorrow I am going to Gutu to find my own Mutsai)

Solo Na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
rambai makadaro (Stay like that)
Solo Na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
tinoda muchate (we want you to wed)
Solo na Mutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
Tichatire paruzevha (wedding in the rural areas)
Solo naMutsai (Solo and Mutsai)
Vaomesa maGutu (They have left Gutu speechless)

Jonah Moyo in a big reveal on local radio a few years back shared how his all time hit ‘Solo naMutsai’ was written and composed during his friend’s wedding in the 80’s….

Well I happen to be privy to a different version of how “the song” came to be. My mother was born and bred in Gutu, and Solo may he rest in peace was her uncle. Uncle Solomon.

Gutu

Back in the old days, the Devera Ngwena band was fairly popular and would go around having concerts in various cities and towns around the country. “The song” was initially perfomed at several venues in different areas, as a publicity gimmick, to get close to their fans. Beforehand the band would find the names of a dating couple attending the concert and then simply insert the names of the lucky couple into the song and the crowd would go wild…….. neat little trick.

They performed the song at a concert in Mpandawana Gutu where Uncle Solo was in attendance together with his date Mutsai, and some mischievous friend had earlier notified the band that the IT couple were Solo and Mutsai…..

Once the band started singing Solo Na Mutsai you can imagine how the crowd where cheering like crazy. Gutu back then was just a growth point (it now has town status) so band perfomances were quite a big deal and the infectious crowd response to the song probably made the band stick to just calling “the song” Solo and Mutsai at subsequent performances.

Solo and Mutsai broke up soon after that concert, way back, before the song went on to become a hit…….

Imagine that someone sings about you in a song, and now everyone and I mean EVERYONE knows you are dating but you break up but no one ever gets the memo and the song goes on to become a chart topping hit with the band actually going abroad on tour performing “your song”……. That must have totally sucked.

The love story of Solo and Mutsai is not quite the greatest Zimbabwean love story people have been believing and singing about, I am sorry to ruin the childhoods of all the people who sang along to this song wishing they could have that ever after type of love that songs are sung about.

I have always known and I itched to tell people “you no they broke up right?” Now, now you know too…..

Oh yes and Great Zimbabwe University’s creative department released a movie titled Solo Na Mutsai partially based on the song, I havent seen it yet……

~B

Day 25 Africa: Stories From Home

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