By-Musicians have mourned the late veteran Jazz musician Kelly Rusike who passed away in Harare Thursday.
Rusike was part of the Rusike brothers, who topped the local music charts in the 1980s and early 1990s.
He was a veteran producer, writer, arranger, and sound engineer who owned Shed Productions, a major recording production house in Zimbabwe.
The Rusike Brothers, with whom Kelly sang and produced music, have confirmed his death in a statement. They said:
It is with profound sadness that we announce the death of our young brother Kelly Rusike who passed away on the 17th of May 2023 after a long battle with diabetes. Kelly lived for his music and touched many lives through it. His music will forever live in our hearts as he travels to a higher place where “the journey continues”.
Tributes have started pouring in from friends in the music industry.
Veteran guitarist Clive Mono Mukundu wrote on his socials:
Julie Sandi wrote:
Kelly Rusike I woke up this morning to the news of your passing. I’m still trying to digest this all. You were not only a good friend but you were the first to convince me to do my first TV advert through your production company for Karinga
This is a really sad time for me. I knew what you were fighting (diabetes) but I also relaxed because I knew you were managing it.
My deepest condolences to your children Courtney and Cole, grandson, your life partner, Yolanda and the Rusike Brothers and your fans.
Go well, may your dear soul rest in eternal peace.
Kelly Rusike was a legendary Zimbabwean jazz bassist who was part of the Rusike Brothers, a family band formed in 1978 in Lusaka, Zambia.
The Rusikes moved from Zimbabwe to Zambia in 1965 during the liberation struggle. Their father, Abiathar Rusike, was a teacher, journalist, and musician who coached his five sons to become music superstars.
The siblings were Tawanda, Abbie, Kelly, Philip, and Colin. Influenced by the Jackson Five and other Black American pop acts of the 1970s, they returned to Zimbabwe in 1980 after independence and became popular with many audio commercials, jingles, and hit songs, including the timeless Cecilia, Bp Yangu Yakwira, and Ngwerewere sadza advert.