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Blacks’ guitarist Hulera no more

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A few hours after renowned musician, producer and former Member of Parliament Joseph Tembo was laid to rest at HHI Cemetery in Blantyre on Saturday afternoon, the country was dealt another heavy blow following the death of reggae group Black Missionaries’ lead guitarist Owen Hulera.

Hulera has missed a couple of performances for the Chileka reggae group including last Friday’s Entertainers Promotion’s gig at Motel Paradise in Blantyre having been admitted at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

The reggae group in last Friday’s show which saw them sharing the stage with Balaka-based group Alleluya Band, performed without a lead guitarist with Peter Amidu on bass guitar Mada on drums, Chizondi Fumulani on keys while Anjiru and Yanjanani Chumbu were on vocals.

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Hulera, who had been with Black Missionaries for three years and worked with the reggae group previously, died, of diabetes at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital.

“We are in shock as a group; I cannot say much but losing Owen Hulera is painful. He has left a gap. He was a cool guy, talented, focused but most of all, a team player. It is even more painful because we got the news a few hours after attending the funeral ceremony of Joseph Tembo, another huge loss to the creative industry,” Anjiru said.

He added that Hulera was diabetic.

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“We worked with him for three years but let me also say that we also worked with him as a session artist in 2004 and we recorded with him Kuimba Four in songs such as ‘Ndamusowa’, Mwana wa Munthu’, ‘Rastaman’s Wife’ and,” he said.

Veteran broadcaster, Sam Malunga, said the country was at a loss as it had lost two guitar wizards within a short space.

“To lose Joseph Tembo and now Owen Hulera is a very big blow to the country. Owen was a great guitar player with a tone of his own,” Malunga said.

He said he knew Hulera in Zomba when he was with Promise Band in the mid 90s and that this band was owned by Father Chakhadza.

According to Malunga, Hulera also played with Songani Blast owned by Patel Maulidi, a brother to the late Maurice Maulidi and that he had a short stint with Binny Nkolokosa’s Slashers Band in Ndirande and Jai Banda’s Uhuru Band.

The other bands Hulera starred with were Acacias, Zig Zaggers and Super Boys before joining Black Missionaries.

Musician Francis Dangoman Kadango of the ‘Manga mabuleki’ fame, was at a loss with Hulera’s death.

“He is the one who played a lead guitar in the yet to be released One Love album of mine,” Kadango said.

Jai, who is better known as Mr Entertainer in the music circles, said years ago, he engaged Amidu, Andrew Kamangwa, Billy Maliseni and Hulera to make Uhuru Band.

“Owen Hulera used to double as lead guitarist and vocalist. He was a humble youngman. The country has lost a good guitarist,” he said.

The remains of Hulera were yesterday taken from College of Medicine in Blantyre to his home in Zomba where he is expected to be laid to rest today.

Born on August 24 1977, Hulera who hailed from Chiunda Village, Traditional Authority Mulumbe in Zomba, is survived by a wife and three children.

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