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Chari: When fame, talent fail to neutralise belief

Obert Chari


Once in a distant while the music gods decide to frown or smile unto the music-loving republic — and when they frown they can unleash that one not so talented “musician”, who against all odds, seems to make it albeit for a short while. In the very few instances they smile, they throw that one seemingly unpolished lad, one that no one can imagine will make it.

A look at Obert Chari, with his Zion Christian Church (ZCC) badge firmly pinned on his shirt, one would never imagine the music in him — well, maybe save for the kangaroo jumps that are famous with the religious sect.

But, in Chari it took the hit track Mebho for all in the music republic to discover that the music gods have indeed this time smiled on them.

The arrival of the soft-spoken Chegutu-based musician on to the music scene has breathed hope into the almost ailing sungura genre with music lovers anticipating that he will not fall into the abyss just like some of his predecessors.

The tales of seemingly one-hit wonders in the mould of Joseph Garakara of Idya Banana fame and the recent case of Tatenda Pinjisi and his song Saina, raises a big question that remains unanswered: Will Chari last in the game?

While Chari’s is still at the embryonic stage of his career, his abilities and talent seem to have already reaped fruits with sungura godfather Alick Macheso “adopting” him.

Last weekend, it was emotional when the rookie shared the stage for the first time with Macheso — a dream that came true for him.

“Several times, I dreamt Macheso teaching me on how to sing. This happened when I was still in school, he would appear to me in dreams teaching me even to wrote songs,” Chari told Standard Style.

“I realised that God is indeed in heaven as the dreams were fulfilled last weekend in Marondera where we met and shared the stage for the first time. It was amazing.”

The rains threatened to pound on the already saturated earth last Saturday in Marondera, but this could not deter entertainment lovers who came in numbers to witness the fast-rising Chari. who curtain-raised for Macheso.

The hit song Mebho was played repeatedly.

But the emotional moment came when Chari took to the stage and led vocals on Ochestra Mberikwazvo’s popular track Shedia. With Macheso strumming the bass guitar, Chari proved his mettle as a great vocalist as he neatly fitted into the Mberikwazvo system.

His combination with backing vocalists mesmerised the fans.

As if that was not enough, Macheso and Chari then joined hands on the song Mebho — it was a union made in heaven.

“I met Macheso at the Coca-Cola awards at Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare where the Marondera Velentine gig was organised. This was always my dream to have his attention and to be mentored. He assured me that he would now be moving around with me,” said Chari.

Ochestra Mberikwazvo publicist Tich Makahamadze described Chari as a talented musician who deserves support from Macheso, hence staging shows together.

During this major gig in Marondera, Chari and his band members were clad in their traditional ZCC outfits.

Despite fame and talent, the musician is still loyal to his religious beliefs.

He is aware of what lies ahead of him on this path he has chosen, the places he will be performing at and the nature of the audiences, but Chari said none of all these would extinguish his identity and beliefs.

“I will be performing in bars and nightclubs, but I will never leave my Zion church culture. If I secure some money, I will purchase some outfits for the band but they will be having some Zion church features. I want people to know about our church and join us,” he said.

His band, The Hakireni Kings, is made up of 11 musicians with five of them being non-ZCC members.

Chari regards himself as a gospel artiste, but his track Mebho has been “hijacked” by sungura fans with the theme of love cutting across all ages.

Chari believes it is his time and that he is working hard on his new album to be released in December this year.

“My next album will come out either in November or December. I am asking God for guidance, to give me wisdom so that my music will have an impact on the lives of people,” Chari said.

“Macheso’s backing vocalist [Wilson] Meka told me kuti haarare kana achiita basa that doesn’t sleep on duty], like wise, I won’t sleep until I surpass the level set by Mebho,” he said.

Only time will tell. The music industry is full of suprises. For now, the music gods have been glorified by their subjects. On the other hand, Chari is loyal to his beliefs and more of the ZCC outfits will be unveiled at different gigs across the country.

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