BY MOSES MUGUGUNYEKI
Heir to the Dendera Music throne Sulumani Chimbetu says this year’s edition of his late father, Simon Chimbetu’s commemorative gig, would take a different route that seeks to fulfill the late musician’s cherished dream of unity among musicians.
This year’s tribute concert, whose previous editions have been confined to the Chimbetu kinfolk, will see the incorporation of some of the country’s big acts.
The concert takes place next Saturday.
Chimbetu, popularly known as Chopper, died on August 15, 2005.
His family has over the years headlined the commemorations and kept the charter within the Chimbetu clan.
Last year’s tribute show, held under the theme Hatikanganwe Kwete, was held virtually via Ngoda TV’s Facebook page due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This year again, the commemorations will be held online, powered by Nash TV.
Themed The Music Lives, the commemorations will see Sulumani and his Orchestra Dendera Kings sharing the stage with some of the country’s best acts, including Alick Macheso, Jah Signal, Pitsou Lumiere, Roki, Diana Samkange and Jean Masters.
It is the presence of the man of the moment Roki and sungura star Macheso that is likely to bring the numbers to the screens.
Sulumani told Standard Style that having artistes coming from diverse backgrounds was meant to unify artistes, something his late father much loved.
He said fans should brace for a rare musical fete.
“The invited guests will sing Simon’s popular songs backed by the Orchestra Dendera Kings,” said Sulumani.
“Chopper may have been my father, but he touched many lives. He had a colourful career where he worked with many other artistes. It is only befitting that I follow the same trajectory through working other local artistes.
“My father was all about unity. That is what we are preaching with this line-up.
“It’s expected that other quarters see differently, they are all entitled to that. but this is what we are going to do to celebrate the life of a gallant hero.”
Sulumani said roping other musicians from outside the Chimbetu clan was motivated by the desire to keep Chopper’s legacy alive and have other artistes tell his story.
“By incorporating other artistes from various genres, the main objective is to drive the point that Chopper’s legacy is a major stakeholder in the local music industry,” he said.
“Chopper was a source of inspiration to many. We have divorced from the usual setup where by the event is confined to the family.
“Mudhara was a legend, our hero, but you don’t need a rocket scientist to acknowledge that his legacy has inspired multitudes.
“For many years we have celebrated as a family, but this year its for everyone else with a “Chopper” story to tell.”
Sulumani said the theme The Music Lives was a deliberate deportment taken by the organisers to link the commemorations with the Heroes Day celebrations.
“As per norm, the event coincides with the celebration of our liberation heroes and we have earmarked this year’s edition as per theme The Music Lives to celebrate our music heroes, hence the involvement of other musicians as we believe music has always played a pivotal role in giving solace and delivering a profound life message,” he said.
Chopper was declared a provincial liberation war hero and buried at the Mashonaland West heroes’ shrine in Chinhoyi.
Last year the event was watched by hundreds of people on Ngoda TV and was headlined by the Chimbetu offspring, including Allan, cousins Sulumani, Tryson, Douglas and Saiwe.
They gave a five-star performance that could have put to rest the long perceived feud over the heirship to the Dendera music throne.
After the event, the Chimbetu siblings said the commemorations were more of a unifier and vowed to work together to protect the Chimbetu legacy.
Obert Chari of the Mebo fame, Chimurenga protégé Kurai Makore and Afro-fusion songstress Ammi Jamanda were last year’s supporting acts.