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MONO MUKUNDU ARTIST BIO: Clive Mukundu was born on 15 September 1970 to George Mukundu and Joyce Gwatidzo. He grew up in the high density suburbs of Kambuzuma, Kuwadzana and Mufakose in Harare. In 1989 he derived the nickname “Mono” from a single dreadlock (mono-lock) he had during his school days.
Instruments: Mono’s first choice of instrument is the lead guitar though he also plays bass, keyboards, mbira and marimba. He also composes, arranges, produces music and has expertise in studio engineering.
His first interest in music was first noticeable at a very tender age. However, this was against his father’s wishes that each time he was seen holding any form of instrument, he received corporal punishment. Mono was resilient to the opposition and at the age of nine (9) years made himself a homemade tin guitar which he played in private. At the same age, he also discovered he could compose music.
In January 1988 at the age of seventeen (17), Mono met Last Saidi, a Chitungwiza bass player, who taught him his first three (3) chords on a standard guitar. The first song he proceeded to learn to play on rhythm guitar was “Jah, hear my plea” by Don Carlos. From the three (3) chords he learnt from Saidi, he taught himself to play the lead guitar by copying from other guitarists on radio, TV or guitarists he came in contact with.
While in Form Three (3) at Mufakose High 3 School in Harare, he formed his first band named “Sarungano Chanters”. There was one recording studio in Zimbabwe then situated in Southerton, Harare. Band members being of school going age and financially constrained, would foot to and fro for recording auditions from respective home areas i.e. Kuwadzana, Dzivarasekwa, Mufakose. Sarungano Chanters failed more than ten (10) auditions, clearly a big toll on most band members, culminating in discouragement and frustrations which led to the group’s disbandment in 1989.
Not to be deterred, Mono in November 1989 joined Chax Brothers, a band that played Chimurenga, Sungura, Reggae and Soul music and in its membership included the great Jackson Phiri and Admire Kasenga. In this band Mono taught himself to play the bass guitar and collectively did many shows in and around Harare.
In 1990 Mono co-founded Chikokoko band and did shows in Mutare and Harare. They recorded an album called “Ruvengo” in 1992. However, Mono left the group in 1993 to pursue other interests. 1992-during a time when Chikokoko had taken a break, Mono relocated to Mutare and joined Hard Workers band, a band that included guitarist Brian Nhanhanga, left the band after a month of shows around Mutare.
1992-Mono joined Seasons band, they did shows around Harare and Mutare backing Patrick Mukwamba from April 1992 to August 1992. During this period Mono co-founded a reggae band with close friends Webster Kunaka, Jack Everisto(bass) and Welly Musvosva(drums) called Rough Mix club. They did a few gigs in Harare and Bulawayo; things didn’t work out so they disbanded. During this period he also did gigs as a session musician for Peter Tembo and the Scanners International, Dendemaro band and other small bands that played different genres of music.
Around1992/3: formed a reggae duo with friend Christopher Kamoa, Chris and Mono, they did a number of demo tapes and they all failed, so they disbanded. Early 1994-Mono joined John Ali and Marakashi band, a band that played Congolese rhumba/ soukous, the band comprised of Zimbabwean, Zambian and Congolese members. Mono left the band to join KwasaKwasa kings same year and the band also played Congolese rhumba and had members from Zimbabwe, DRC and Zambia.
Tuesday 28 June 1994; Mono joined EGEA gospel train after conversion to Christianity (through Evangelist Kasi), the band included Ivy and Annie Kombo and Carol Mujokoro, taught himself to play keyboards in this band, recorded one album together “NdinokudaiJesu”,toured Zimbabwe and Mozambique doing crusades.
In 1995, Mono left to join Christian Life Centre (now Faith in God Church)as a crusade musician, toured Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, carried on working part time as a session musician.
In 1999, he left F.I.G to concentrate on session work. 2001-2002; to get the formal side of music, he enrolled at the Zimbabwe College of Music. He learnt to play 2 kinds of Mbira and Marimba during this time, and graduated with a National Certificate in music and A.B.R.S.M Grade 5 theory in music, also awarded best guitar student award and paid back all his college fees he had paid in the 2 years he was there.
2002-2003-Mono taught guitar at Zimbabwe College of Music, Prince Edward High School and Don Bosco Youth Training Centre, also worked part time as a music producer. Feb 2003, Mono joined Oliver Mtukudzi&the Black Spirits; he carried on working part time as a session musician, toured around the world with Tuku and recorded a number of albums before leaving in Feb 2007 after Tuku decided to use traditional instruments in place of guitars and keyboards.
In 2007 Mono opened Monolio music studios with equipment he bought during the time he worked for Oliver Mtukudzi, and to date he has produced and recorded many artists from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique and DRC.
He is currently working full time in his studio as a producer and engineer. Family Mono is married to Jean since 1994 and they have two kids, TariroNyasha b.1994 &Takakunda b.1998.
Session work Probably the most recorded guitarist in Zimbabwe, Mono is featured in more than 900 projects by Zimbabwean and regional artists as a guitarist and producer. Artists include Oliver Mtukudzi, Celebration Choir, Kudzai Sevenzo, Transit crew, Mau Mwale (Zambia), Jah Prayzah, Lufuno Dagada(S.A), Albertina(S.A), Mahendere brothers, Shingisai Suluma.

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