Oliver Mtukudzi’s birthday bash takes place at Glamis Arena on September 21 but, already, attention is shifting from the stylish way in which the superstar will celebrate his 60th birthday to how the Chimbetus, given their divisions, will fare at the gig.
Report by Godwin Muzari
Sulumani, Allan and Tryson will be part of the gig that will also see various other musicians performing. While the Chimbetus sometimes accuse the media for fanning their acrimony, the build-up to the bash is beginning to show that there is more to this division than what has been written and said.
Just recently, at the Heroesplush at Mupandawana Growth Point in Gutu, focus was on the way Tryson and Sulumani would perform and most people’s preconceived idea was to compare their acts.
A few days before, there had been a gig to commemorate the late dendera guru Simon in Chinhoyi where the Chimbetus were, once again, on the spotlight for their lack of unity.
Tryson did not perform in Chinhoyi under unclear circumstances and anyone could be pardoned to believe it was because of the family’s misunderstandings that he opted out of the family affair.
Now, it seems musicians from the Chimbetu family continue to be recognised for the wrong reasons. A lot of things happened since the beginning of the year, splitting the family apart and making it difficult for music promoters to bring them all on the same stage.
Instead of complementing each other and celebrating the growth of talent in their family, the musicians seem comfortable with making headlines for haggling.
Why do they not just put an end to this madness and understand that blood is thicker than water? This dendera war is becoming boring and the musicians surely risk destroying dendera music by unnecessarily dividing their fans that had been loyal to the founders of the genre. If people get bored by this family feud, they might decide to quit supporting the musicians and let them fight on. Some dendera fans have an emotional attachment to the genre and would not want to be prepared for heartbreaks.
Maybe all the Chimbetus need to be reminded of their positions in the family and the music industry so that each stands in his or her position and sanity prevails.
At the moment, Allan is the father by virtue of him being the only surviving member of that first generation of the Chimbetu musicians. Although he has swallowed his pride to join Sulumani because of many reasons, he remains the head of the family musically and otherwise.
Sulumani is older than Tryson and has been in the industry for more years than his cousins. He has scooped several awards and possesses a certain charisma that has endeared him with music promoters.
Tryson has the talent and has produced three albums just like Sulumani. He has gone through serious mentorship under Alick Macheso and is a serious contender for fans in the dendera realm. He has exceptional attributes and seems to be a promising star. By the African tradition, he has to respect Sulumani and Allan that are older than him and, musically, he is still to achieve what his elders have attained.
Then there in Douglas, Allan’s son, who should be credited for carrying the heavy burden for taking up his father’s band. He is already doing shows on his own and slowly learning the steps in the industry. He has a promising future but he still has a lot to learn.
Nothing much can be said about Simon’s daughter Saiwe who has decided to focus on gospel music with a dendera feel. She needs support from the male musicians of the family while Tryson’s daughter, Mirriam, the female bass guitarist, still has an academic way to pursue.
If all could accept their positions, the competition and hand-over-take-over would be smooth.