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Ammara’s bassist, Tinos, tells us about Vic Falls Carnival…how he joined the band…and more about his career

Tinos Trevor Musariri Ammara Brown's bass guitarist captured during their performance at Shoko Festival 2016.

So many times we get to interview a band leader after or before a mega gig because they are the face of the band. But today, we flip the script and talk to someone who is usually behind the scenes, rarely caught on camera unless the camera person is musically astute to pick the sweet rhythms he will be playing.

Zimbo Jam caught up with Ammara Brown’s bassist, Tinos Trevor Musarara who revealed to us why after 5 years of playing with Ammara he rates their recent, epic Vic Falls Carnival gig as their best ever performance, how he joined the band and more about his musical career.

Tinos feeling each note with Ammara
Tinos feeling each note with Ammara

What stood out about the Vic Falls Carnival gig when compared to other gigs you have done?

Firstly, I think it was because of the audience, they showed that they were in for the performance. They showed love and they were appreciating our art that gave us energy to do better and to deliver magic.

Secondly, musicians are turned on to do better by good sound, props to Vusimuzi Moyo and Wonder Pinjisi. The sound was amazing.

Thirdly, musically we have grown together as a band. We have been working together for about five years so I’m sure we are not just a band but a family and if you are a talented and united band you can make things work because you will all be on the same page.

How has the journey with Ammara been and how did it start?

I started playing for Ammara in 2013 and was given that gig by Tafadzwa Marova who now plays for the Vigilance band.

I was shocked to get the job because a week before that Ammara held some auditions and my other friends went there and failed.

I thought that some other guy had gotten the job but to my surprise, when I went to audition in a very nervous state as I had just turned a year old as a bassist, I was dazed when she liked my play and was willing to work with me.

At first it wasn’t easy to fill in the shoes of her former bassists such as Dominic Benson, Denzel Thabani and Solomon Sunguro but with time I got used and here we are today.

To how it has been, I must say it has been a blast!

From just a bassist I graduated to become her music director after Mark Madzinga who is a great keyboard player had left.

Ammara is so musical it is a marvel to play with her. She doesn’t ride on top of her dad’s fame, the late guitar legend, Andy Brown – she works hard.

Unlike other musicians who just want to hear the instruments playing and not paying much attention to their sound, Ammara knows and understands music so you can’t just dilute her music but you do what is within the range of her Afro pop feel.

Off stage as I have said earlier on we are not just band members but a family.

Tinos showing off his piano skills at Miombo 2016.
Tinos showing off his piano skills at Miombo 2016.

How did your journey in music start?

I started playing drums at the age of 14 and later switched to the keyboard at 16. Four years down the line I found my true calling as a bassist. My passion for music paved a way for more opportunities and a sudden twist in my music career.

What are you doing to improve your playing?

The only way to improve is to love the instrument first then practicing and listening to a wider range of music. By doing that you will figure out that you haven’t started yet because God doesn’t duplicate talent it’s you and you alone so every bass player has his own flair and you definitely learn from every bassist locally and internationally

Together with my brother, Prince Madhiwali Dzuwa we spend a lot of time together practicing and this helps perfect my skill.

Who inspires & mentors you?

A lot of people have mentored me directly and indirectly such as the great Enock Piroro, Joshua Kwesha and Praymore Dzuwa. Those guys have done it not musically only but even elevating the spiritual part of me as a musician.

Different things inspire me depending on what I’m working on. Lately I have been so inspired by Tendai Shoxx Shoko who is a bassist based in South Africa but was born here in Zimbabwe. His one of the best bassists there playing for Aka, Judith Sephuma, SA idols, Coke Studio, Tresor and many more artists but if you check his background always makes me feel like only the sky is the limit.

Another one is Alie Mtombeni he has played for the likes of Cassper Nyovest as a keyboardist, music director and producer.  He even has a Roland endorsement and last year he was in the Roland magazine representing African keyboardists.

Other guys who inspire me are Abraham Laboriel, Richard Bona, Bhekha Mthethwa, Natt Watts, Kelly Rusike, Josh Meck and not forgetting my bass brothers the young cats Naphtali Chivandikwa, Kudzai Kays Mudzimu, Freedom Bullet Chinosengwa and Basil Mahachi.

Who are some of the artists you have played for?

I have worked with a number of international and local artist as a recording and performing artist. These are; Sylnt Nqo, Tehn Diamond, Victor Kunonga, Alexio Kawara, Military Touch Movement, CCAP Voice Of Mbare, Sabastian Magacha, Emelda Mudzamiri, Mic Inity, Simba Tagz, Audius Mtawarira, Kamikaze Test Pilots (England) and Silus Miami (Kenya).

I was also part of Zimbabwe’s largest cultural exchange programme, Umoja class of 2014-2015 which toured countries such as Norway, South Africa and Mozambique.

Which three artists you dream to play for and why?

Eish that’s tricky one but uhmm Abraham Laboriel I grew up watching his videos and his not just a bassist but he is so spiritual as a Christian and he has played on over 4000 recordings and soundtracks. The most widely used session bassist of our time.

On number two, Stevie Wonder because his music just gets to my veins. He is considered to be one of the most critically and commercially successful musical performer of our time and considering the fact that he is blind he has proven that disability can’t stop you from doing anything in life.

On three, Marvin Sapp – above all because my background, I am a Christian, I love gospel music and the greatest feeling is when you are in God’s presence so I want to play for him because his music is on point and it has a strong spiritual connection with me.


Tinos on the bass guitar (in cap) alongside guitar Sangoma.
Tinos on the bass guitar (in cap) alongside guitar Sangoma.
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The Zimbo Jam Network brings together young people who are passionate about lifestyle, arts & culture to document, celebrate and challenge these important aspects of our lives.
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