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Tryson reflects on father’s life

Dendera musician Tryson Chimbetu remembers his father as a soft-spoken man — a quiet man of very few words.


The artist was speaking ahead of the Dr Nero Commemorations scheduled for this afternoon at the Harare Gardens, organised in memory of his late father, Naison Chimbetu.

“My father was a very quiet man and I shudder when I hear all the bad things that people say about him,” said Tryson.

“We lived a very normal life and I remember that he used to drink but not as excessively as is said in musical circles.

“What happened is that when he suffered a stroke in 1990 and came out of it after a year, he had changed, just like any other person who has suffered a stroke. This affected his mental strength and sometimes he would drink beer but not to the extent that people talk about.”

Tryson also remembers how unlike other sons of musicians, he was taught everything he knows by his father.

He said as the first son, he was close to his father and enjoyed the time that his father committed to him.

“I feel I was very lucky because not many offsprings of musicians who were born in the late 1980s and early 1990s will have a similar story to tell about their fathers,” he said.

“My father taught me everything that I know about music. He was the most supportive person I have ever known. He was a perfect music teacher.”

He said his father was an unsung hero who deserves praise for his contribution to Dendera music.

“Some of the best Dendera melodies that we hear upcoming musicians emulate in creating their own songs were composed by my father and I think he deserves great mention for that,” said Tryson.

“Think of songs like Rudo Ibofu, Mwana Wedangwe, Denda and Mudzimai Wangu among many others that he composed. That is a mark of a great man.”

Tryson said the day he played with his father at a gala in Mutare in 2005 was one of his best moments.

“I was spotting long hair oblivious of what I was to experience a few months later when he died. What gives me joy is that when he died we had planned to record together the unreleased album Goodbye 2005 which carried two of the tracks that I recorded on my first album,” he said.

“Of the two, one of the songs was more or less a prophetic song that he sang for my mother in which he says, [Ndashaya kuti ndokutenda nei sweety wangu wakandiberekera mwanakomana” (I don’t know how to thank you my love for bearing me a son)].”

Tryson said his mother remained his pillar of strength as she often takes time to tell him how the Chimbetus started off up to the success story that they wrote.

Dr Nero died in March 2006, leaving Tryson as the bread-winner for his wife and family.

His story, though colourful in its own way, is often overshadowed by that of his glamorous brother Simon.

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