A GIG held to celebrate the life of the late dendera singer, Simon Chimbetu, on Sunday at Harare Gardens lived to its billing as singers who were lined up to perform on the night gave top-notch performances. Saiwe Chimbetu, Douglas Chimbetu, Suluman Chimbetu, Alick Macheso, Peter Moyo and Jah Prayzah all put their heads together to come up with a good show.
The show started in the afternoon with a number of musical acts from various artistes that included Tendai Chidarikire and the rumba outfit BV Labien, who warmed up the stage in preparation of the Chimbetus.
As the music fans warmed up to the curtain-raisers, the Chimbetus had already prepared to serenade the fans. First to take to the stage was Saiwe who gave a blast of a performance. Her fusion of the dendera beat and gospel was refreshing and won her many hearts .
Douglas Chimbetu also showed that he is a serious dendera contender who can stand shoulder to shoulder with his established brothers Suluman and Tryson.
Douglas continues to carry an undiluted and original dendera unlike his peers, who seem to be struggling to remain original and true to the dendera beat.
Douglas’ father, Allan, also provided the stability and experience in the band. To his credit, Allan who did not have his own band performed with both Suluman and Douglas.
The dendera clan — Allan, Douglas, Tryson and Suluman – showed rare unity when they performed together.
However, the most striking moment was when Chamu Boroma joined the Chimbetus on stage. Boroma has maintained that he is Simon’s son but the Chimbetus have constantly frustrated his effort to be united with his “family”.
Putting the seal on the Chimbetus’ performance was Suluman, who no doubt has phenomenally grown his brand, becoming one of the most sought-after musicians in Zimbabwe.
He gave a tight performance for the duration of his two-hour performance and as he performed, it was clear that the departure of dancer Francis Dhaka has not in any way weakened his band.
Suluman also introduced 11-year-old guitar wizard Tawanda Dhibhura who amazed many people with his guitar playing skills.
Suluman has already invested in the teenage sensation by paying his school fees.
The tempo was upped when Alick Macheso took to the stage. The sungura king, who is still walking with the aid of crutches, was in a no nonsense mood as belted some of his popular tracks.
Perhaps knowing that his family was part of the crowd at Harare Gardens, Macheso kicked off his performance with his mother’s favourite “Charakupa”.
He went on to appease all the single mothers in the crowd with the song “Macharangwanda”.
There was ululation and whistles when he performed another touching song “Shedia”, which highlights the wars between mothers-in-law with their daughters-in- law.
Macheso rounded off his performance with a song “Ane Bhora Ndoanomakwa”, contained on his forthcoming album.
With an already warmed stage and an excited crowd, Peter Moyo did not struggle to find his groove as he bkicked off his performance with one of his late father’s hit songs “Muchina Muhombe”.
Sensing that his fans were growing impatient and wanted him to perform songs from his latest album “Mushonga Mukuru”, he performed “Mira Newako”, and “Konzi”.
Jah Prayzah rounded up the gig with a massive performance that will be ingrained in the minds of many who attended the show. “Musoja”, as Jah Prayzah calls himself, exhibited some well-choreographed drills .
However, many fans were left disappointed because Tryson Chimbetu and rising gospel prodigy Mathias Mhere who have been advertised as performers did not take part. Tryson’s no-show is bound to raise speculation that there is no love lost between the Chimbetu siblings despite public posturing that “We are one”.