HARARE – Playing her own interpretation of Winky D’s Musarova Bigman at the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards (ZAA) in London last week is turning out to be an inspired decision for 22-year-old Zimbabwean indie/folk singer Gemma Griffiths.
Despite her performances at events such ZAA, Harare International Festival of Arts (Hifa), Miombo Magic in Harare and ZimFest London, Griffiths had remained largely unknown on the Zimbabwean music scene.
But thanks to a video of her performance of Musarova Bigman which she posted on Facebook recently, her name has attracted the attention of music fans in Zimbabwe and the Diaspora.
Griffiths, who concedes that many local music fans still find it hard to relate to the indie/folk music genre that she plays, told the Daily News on Sunday that she is a big fan of Zimdancehall star Winky D.
In her rendition of Winky D’s song, the young indie/folk singer translated the lyrics into English except the chorus.
“One of my favourite Zimdancehall tracks is Musarova Bigman by Winky D. I remember hearing it for the first time many years ago. I couldn’t stop dancing to it,” Griffiths said.
The young musician, who has also done a stirring rendition of the late Andy Brown’s hit Mapurisa, chose the Ninja President’s hit to help her connect with the ZAA crowd.
“When I was trying to figure out what to perform for the Zimbabwe Achievers Awards at the prestigious Royal Garden Hotel London, I thought it would be cool to do this song and look at it from the woman’s side of the story. I liked the idea of another perspective, and also, I love experimenting, and just got excited about the idea to play with Winky D’s great tune.
“This is the first time I have worked on an interpretation of one of Winky D’s songs. The response from the awards was overwhelming,” she said.
Apart from her well-received performance, the indie/folk singer was delighted to get the chance to meet several top Zimbabwean artistes at the event.
“I also got to meet Kazz (Bkay & Kazz) and the wonderful Xavier who were also on the bill as well as a singer I really look up to — Shingai Shoniwa — who is well known for being the frontwoman for the band The Noisettes. Really, it was a great night,” she said.
Griffiths is determined to capitalise on the publicity that her recent performance at the ZAA has generated.
“I am currently putting the finishing touches to my debut EP, which I will be releasing independently later this year. People can stay updated to what I’m doing by following me on social media.
“I have been singing for as long as I can remember. I released my first single Why Not Be independently last year. It was recorded when I was at school in the United States of America (USA) and the response is what gave me the confidence to really pursue music full time, although I have always done music,” she told the Daily News on Sunday.
Griffiths, who is a fan of Norah Jones, Amy Winehouse, music legend Oliver Mtukudzi, the late Andy Brown, Jah Prayzah and Winky D, is hopeful that some of her newfound fans will attend her concert at the Miombo Magic Festival in Harare at the end of the month.
“I am playing on Sunday the 29th at 12:15pm. I was delighted to be invited back to perform again, so I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.
Click link to view the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gf_8FQ2k3fU