Fortune ‘Wolfman’ Muparutsa
Born Fortune Tendai Muparutsa on the 14th of June 1968 in Mutare. Fortune Muparutsa was a popular Zimbabwean Rhythm and Blues singer, song writer and producer extraordinaire, who at the time of his death was about to be signed to renowned singer Akon’s record label. As one of the pioneers of the urban grooves genre, Muparutsa earned notoriety in the 1990s with hits like Rumours (Makuwa), Wangu Ndega and Kanda Matombo which encouraged the use of condoms which at the time wasn’t very popular amongst people.
Having been born into a musical family, Fortune started his music career just after finishing secondary school. After his brothers Peter and Jerry's band 'Sound Power' split in the 1970s, he together with Bothwell Nyamhondera, Peter Phiri and the late Alois Muyaruka formed the Real Unique Natural Notion (RUNN) Family group. The group was divided into two, A and B and Fortune was with the latter which also included his siblings. Fortune later joined the A group in 1986 when on the group's lead artiste Nyamhondera moved to Harare. Within a year of joining the group Fortune changed the group for the better in 1987, they did a tribute to President Robert Mugabe in a song that had been written by a Caribbean national, John Rhythm. The song which was titled President Mugabe, completely changed the fortunes of the group. The Runn Family were part of a national symposium on Child Survival and Development and one of their songs was adopted as the theme song for the Child Survival concerts which followed and that it became part of the Child Survival Foundation led by the late Amai Sally Mugabe in 1988. This marked the beginning of what was to become one of the best bands in Zimbabwe. This was evidenced with the group's next project 'Let the African Children Play on the Frontline: One Child Dies Every Four Minutes' which was well received. However, it was not until the group started composing Shona songs that people began to notice. They released 'Inhapitapi Chete' and 'Moyo Muti Unomera Paunoda' which became hits.
In 1989, after his brother Peter left the group, Fortune went on to join Clancy Mbirimi and Chipeni who had been members of the Harare Mambos. They did not release anything and Fortune decided to pursue a solo career releasing the album ‘Wheels of Fortune’ and eventually releasing 'Wangu Ndega' which was many people's favourite. Fortune went into recording and producing business later on working with urban grooves artists.
Fortune was well respected in the music circles in Zimbabwe. Many artists always expressed their desire to work with him, though for most, his prices were unaffordable (but so worth it!). If you wanted an assured hit Fortune was the go-to man. This was evidenced by all the hits he produced like ‘In My Dreams’ by Innocent Utsiwegota, ‘Kumba Kwenyu’ by Alexio, ‘Boy U Got to Know’ by Tia & ‘Come to Party’ by Major Playaz to mention a few. He was also a mentor to many many people in the industry for example Flash Gordon, Sanii Makhalima, John Jay and other people he closely worked with. The great thing about the songs he produced was they were all of such a high standard and could easily compete internationally. When one listened to Dzimbaremabwe by V.O.L.U.M.E you would feel that it eclipsed many Hip Hop songs produced internationally, as such was the talent that Fortune had. He really impressed when he worked with Alexio on the song ‘Kumba Kwenyu’. The original which Alexio had recorded elsewhere was not very well done even with Alexio's great voice. Production quality was poor. Fortune then laid his hands on it and redid the whole song from the production to recording to the mixing then the mastering. The end product sounded as if it was a different song altogether. That is just one example of the finesse and ability Fortune had. Fortune also worked with the young and visionary group Mosi-oa- Tunya of the hit songs (Furuwa, Nerai and Zvatsvonyana) which consisted of Tracey Zengeni, Conrad Nduna, Tapiwa Mbofana and Adonis Mudarikiri. Fortune recorded a few tracks with these urban grooves pioneer’s way back in 1998 and recorded 2 songs that unfortunately were never released to the public.
Sadly, on the 25th of October 2008 Fortune passed away in the United Kingdom.
Many that knew and worked with Fortune described him as not having a bad bone in his body and was a very energetic and humble guy. Us as fans knew him through his music and we loved what we knew and still do. To hear of his death hurt us as if we actually knew him. That was the impact his music had on us. His passing was and will forever be a sad loss for Zimbabwe not just for the music but for the loss of the man himself.
Credit: Kunakirwa.com, Pindula News, Wikipedia, The Independent Newspaper and The Herald Newspaper.
Music Video: YouTube - Living Zimbabwe Channel