BY SHARON SIBINDI
Always dapper in his trademark retro straw hats, Jeys Marabini’s music is as distinct as his vintage headgear.
Marabini says his music defines him the same way clothes in the fashion world — in this case his hats — make a person look smart and symbolise quality.
Recently applauded by the National Arts Council of Zimbabwe (NACZ) and Unesco for helping fellow artistes to produce their music at his studio in Nkulumane 12, Bulawayo, Marabini told Standard Style that straw hats were his trade mark and made him look smart.
“I love straw hats so much because they are worn by mature people, elderly people and symbolising quality,” he said.
“If you take a look, most of the people, who love African music with a jazz element [Afrocentric] love these hats. I have also noticed some young artistes who are now in the same genre as mine, especially in Zimbabwe, they even wear these straw hats.”
Marabini started wearing straw hats 18 years ago, and feels “naked” if he goes on stage without one.
“I started wearing these hats in 2002 and it’s now my trademark. Wherever, I go, I am identified by my straw hat. “I have noticed that each time I am in the streets, people won’t even notice me. My music and my dressing identify me.
“I have more than 20 straw hats bought locally and abroad. I can’t perform without my straw hat and I find it difficult to wear any other hat, I feel empty.”
Marabini said during his heydays, one was considered smart and respected if clad in a straw hat and suit.
“I recall if one is said to be smart during my childhood, they would have worn a hat with a feather on the side, suit and ogumu [high heels shoes],” he said.
“So, as a musician, one must look smart, be exemplary everytime as we are role models. What you do, people tend to follow.”
Marabini removes the hat when he gets home as his culture does not allow him to enter the house wearing it.