Sheer Publishing News

Andy Brown and the Storm

Oct 10, 2006

In a beautiful village called Mberengwa, nestled in a rich valley in the Southern part of the Midlands province of Zimbabwe on March 5 1962, Andy Brown entered this world kicking and screaming.

Andy’s early years were heavily influenced by the tumultuous period of history that was omnipresent in these times. His homeland, then Rhodesia, was full of political tribulation and unrest as the sons and daughters of the soil fought bitterly for their emancipation from white colonial rule.

Out of these trying times, and his traditional upbringing, Andy gained his unique creative edge. In the evening, just as dusk would surrender to the spectacular twinkling African stars, the many members of his core and extended family would gather together around the fire-side to sing, dance and drink away fears of what the future held, in traditional Karanga style.

In these hours before dawn and a new day of work in the fields, the family would give each other strength and comfort, reassuring themselves through the singing of ancient Shona songs, songs that spoke of the time when Shona peoples would rule once more and have all that belonged to them returned at last.

These songs, and the traditional instrument that usually accompanied them, the mbira or thumb-piano, had been banned by the Rhodesian government in an attempt to quash any possible common feeling and insurrection from the people.

From this home life Andy then began his formal education at a primary school within walking distance of his home. What was a little strange, however, were his frequent unexplained absences from classes. As it turned out this above average student’s absences could be explained by his habit of hiding somewhere in the bush near to his home.

You see as young as he was, Andy’s love affair with the guitar had already begun! In this “safe” place he would sing and softly strum on a twine and gallon-tin guitar that he’d rigged up for himself, praying not to be caught by one of his many older family members, as this would lead to inevitable punishment.

High school found Andy moving from village to the big city. The war was beginning to intensify in the villages around Rhodesia, and as Andy was a child of mixed race in the midst of a racial war his life was at great risk. To ensure his safety, Andy’s mother enrolled him at Founders School in Bulawayo, and left him in the care of “coloured” foster parents.

It was at this school that Andy was to meet Gabriel Green, a friendship that was destined to become life-long, and would see the two of them more like brothers than friends. They shared a passion for music, Gaby’s instrument of choice being the bass guitar. Together with school mates Jonah Mutumwa (vocals) and Kaya (drums), the youngster formed their first band “Impact” in 1977. This group lasted for two years.

By 1980 Andy was leaving Founders and his school years behind him. With a passion for music coursing through their veins, and a strong friendship that prevailed, Andy and Gaby formed a new band “Pisces”, in honour of their shared birth date and star sign.

After three years of playing the Bulawayo circuit both realised that a new challenge was needed, and, seeking greener pastures, they left “Pisces” and Bulawayo behind them for the capital city Harare.

1984 saw the two young men joining forces with singer Rosalla Miller and drummer and bandleader Boykie Moore. They formed “Grabb!” The groups success brought Rosella’s powerful voice into the spotlight, and through this recognition she would rise to become a star in her own right, culminating in her conquering the Rave music charts in Britain.

After a year with this group the time came for Andy and Gaby to part musical ways in search of their own destinies. Andy was at this time quickly gaining ground in Harare’s serious music circles, and he joined the most popular group of the time “the Rusike Brothers” as lead guitarist. He stayed with the group for a full and action packed year.

The dawning of 1986 saw Andy shifting musical camps once more. His talents were merged with the likes of Busi Ncube (vocals), Keith Farqharson (keyboard), Don Gumbo (bass), Gibson Batista (drums) and percussionist Adam Chisvo.

This group, “Ilanga”, was instrumental in changing the face of Zimbabwean music, fusing Shona and Ndebele rhythmic styles with traditional and Western elements. Their tunes became overnight successes and topped charts in Zimbabwe. Songs like “True Love” and “Silver and Gold” having massive impact.

In 1988 the group took part in the “Human Rights Now” Concert in Harare, sharing the stage with International heavyweights like Bruce Springsteen, Sting, Peter Gabriel, Yossour N’Dour, Tracy Chapman, and the Bhundu Boys (also from Zimbabwe).

After three years with this groundbreaking outfit, Andy finally spread his wings completely and formed his own band – “Andy Brown and the Storm” in 1989. His phenomenal composition and arrangement skills have seen this group flourish into something quite remarkable and amazing.

  • 2004 – ANDY BROWN IS A HOUSEHOLD NAME IN ZIMBABWE, HAVING RELEASED 8 VERY SUCCESFUL ALBUMS TO DATE WITH HIS BAND “THE STORM”.
  • ONE OF ZIMBABWE’S “BIG FIVE” – ALONG WITH OLIVER MTUKUDZI, THOMAS MAPFUMO, SIMON CHIMBETU AND ALICK MACHESO.
  • HE HAS TOURED EXTENSIVELY AROUND THE WORLS PERFORMING AT FESTIVALS AND EVENTS.
  • HIS MOST RECENT MAJOR SUCCESS IN SOUTH AFRICA WAS THE SMASH HIT “zim connection” – A REMIX OF HIS SONG “shungu”, MADE BY REVOLUTION. THIS WAS THE SONG THAT SOLD THE ALBUM AND WAS A MAJOR HIT!
  • RECENTLY ANDY WAS IN SOUTH AFRICA AND RECORDED TWO SONGS WITH OSKIDO (BROTHERS OF PEACE, MAFIKIZOLO, TROMPIES ETC.) FOR RELEASE EARLY NEXT YEAR, AS WELL AS THE CURRENT SMASH HIT WITH “GENESES” AND PRODUCER JERAH, NAMELY “VUL’ISEKELE”. IN ADDITION A SECOND SONG WITH REVOLUTION HAS BEEN RECORDED FOR RELEASE ON THIER NEW ALBUM.

Telephone:
27 (0)11 438 7000

Head Quarters:
75 Bram Fischer Drive
Randburg 2195
South Africa

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 3128
Parklands 2121
South Africa

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