Sulu ends four-year drought
By Blessing Masakadza and Vasco Chaya
DENDERA musician Suluman Chimbetu ended a four-year drought with the release of his eighth album Entanglement on Saturday at Mwanga Lodge, located 42km along Harare-Shamva Road.
The album was launched differently with a “listening session” event where his task was to unpack the new release. Unlike in his past launches, there was no live performance in accordance with coronavirus (Covid-19) regulations that limit big crowds.
During the launch the Entanglement CD fetched a total of US$2 600 from bidders. The new album is Chimbetu’s first studio album since 2016 and comprises songs such as Fara Nezvako, Pungwe, Chinyenye, Bvuma Kusara, Moyo Wangu and Africa among others.
To give it a different feel, Chimbetu engaged a number of music producers, including the Orchestra Dendera Kings’ lead guitarist Knowledge “Nodza Nodza” Nkoma’s KOM Studios, Oscar Chamba, Vhuyani Kahari and Oskid.
His last album was Jamboree in December 2016, which coincided with his wedding and came after his 2014 project, Gunship. On the new release, Sulu seems to have settled for matters of the heart with songs Wakandirwadzisa, Moyo Wangu, Chinyenye and an instrumental for Moyo Wangu.
He had to explain the meaning behind the 10 tracks on the album during a “listening session” at the Saturday launch. The singer included the dendera-Afrojazz track Moyo Wangu.
“On the track, I worked with some members of Jabavu Drive and a former Oliver Mtukudzi guitarist as they are some of the experienced jazz music instrumentalists.
“I have also added the Moyo Wangu instrumental track on the album which is soft, cool and is most suitable when driving long distances, for example from Harare to Victoria Falls,” Chimbetu told guests at the launch.
“Moyo Wangu is a song on matters of the heart; having entrusted someone with your heart and they go on to break it. I’m saying my heart was tampered with, it had no shatter glass.” Chimbetu exhibits love on the song Chinyenye as he describes his lover as his light.
“Chinyenye is simply Chitaitai, a luminous winged insect, and I’m saying you’re my light in the dark. “This is a song about sacrifice in love; that someone despite coming from a rich background decides to leave everything all in the name of love.”
The singer has had ups and downs in as far as matters of the heart are concerned. Chimbetu did not, however deviate from the stance laid by his fathers, pioneers of dendera, of composing songs on national pride and liberation war history as he came up with the song Pungwe, describing how guerrilla fighters interacted with the masses during the time of war.
He also has the song Kunda Zimbabwe, which highlights the county’s wealth in tourism, mining and human resource.
“We have everything in the country and all we need is to take our positions and hit the ground running. This is an inspirational song,” he said. The singer also has another song on African pride, titled Africa. He calls for free trade between African nations and the abolition of colonial borders.
Chimbetu also took a dig at the scourge of corruption while explaining the song Fara Nezvako; he said greed leads one into corruption and ultimately prison.
While the majority of the songs are an attempt to retrace the old dendera sound, the singer, however did not forget his contemporary audience with the song Bvuma Kusara which was produced by Oskid, with rising jazz crooner Agga Nyabinde on the lead guitar.
The album comes at a time several entertainers are in the race for a slot on the Christmas playlist. It also comes after the release of another dendera album, Urgent Matter by his uncle Allan.
Chimbetu joined showbiz in 2005 after serving in the Air Force of Zimbabwe for a while. The album Ndomusiya Nani became his debut musical project in 2007 followed by Reverse Deal in 2009 before Non Stop released in 2010.
His other albums are Syllabus which earned him three National Arts Merit Awards, Gunship and Jamboree that was released in 2016.