The Zimbabwean music history and legacy will not be complete without the mention of the living music icon and veteran producer Peter Muparutsa from Mutare.The music composer, lyricist, vocalist and bass guitarist for the band RUNN Family recorded and released albums from the 1970s to date.
By Plot Mhako
Peter and his brother Jerry were part of the band ‘Sound Power’ which split in the 1970s. Together with Bothwell Nyamhondera, Peter Phiri and the late Alois Muyaruka they formed the Real Unique Natural Notion (RUNN) Family group.
R.U.N.N. Family were a Zimbabwean musical group that had several hits in the later 1970s whose songs combined mbira-inspired music with reggae and rhumba influences. One of the R.U.N.N. family’s most successful songs was “Hatichina Wekutamba Naye”, a lament for the deceased President of Mozambique Samora Machel.
The original members of the Runn Family were Peter (bass and vocals), Bothwell Nyamhondera (drums) Jerry Muparutsa on lead and Alois Muyaruka on Rhythm but the group would later fold.
The Runn Family later regrouped in the 80s with almost all-Muparutsa line-up which comprised of the original members, Peter and Jerry, Michael Muparutsa (keyboards), Pamure Machisa (drums), Newman Chipeni (guitar and keyboards), Alex Muparutsa (trumpet and vocals) and Dickson Shadenyi (saxophone) and later the late great Fortune Muparutsa made a stint with the group.
The RUNN Family band toured all over the SADC region and they shared the stage with artists like Oliver Mtukudzi, The Talking Drum, Ilanga, Bundu Boys, Thomas Mapfumo, Jimmy Cliff, Misty In Roots, Gregory Isaacs, Maxi Priest, Princess, Manu Debango
Muparutsa also toured Germany, Netherlands, France and Switzerland as bass guitarist for Virginia Mukwesha (daughter of Ambuya Stella Chiweshe).
In 1989 he joined Gramma Records as an Audio Engineer-cum-Producer where he recorded and produced hundreds of groups and artists like Oliver Mtukudzi, Thomas Mapfumo, Khiama Boys, Ilanga, Talking Drums, Baba Machenic Manyeruke, Charles Charamba, Pengaudzoke, Leonard Dembo, John Chibadura, Dudu Manhenga, Gorowane (Mozambique), Amayenge (Zambia), Zozo (South Africa) to mention but a few.
Peter Muparutsa’s unique vocals can be heard on many successful music projects such as Brian Sibalo’s Jerusalem, the star studded HIV/AIDS campaign song Chenjerera and tens of others.
Now based in his hometown of Mutare, Muparutsa is currently working with new talent for his label RUNN MUSIC and continues to help a lot of artists with their productions. He is a living legend and we celebrate him and his works.