10 September 2012

Zimbabwe: Another Chimbetu Takes Up Music

Photo: Herald
DENDERA musician Tryson Chimbetu on stage.

Are the Chimbetus on course to catch up with the famous Jackson family of the US which produced the late pop star Michael and sister Janet?

After producing the largest number of male musicians from a single family in Zimbabwe, the Chimbetu family has unveiled its first female singer, Saiwe, who is daughter to the late Simon.

Saiwe (25), has announced her arrival on the scene with a six-track gospel album titled Shoko RaJehovha.

She has emerged from working under the wings of other artists - that include the late Sam Mtukudzi - to create her own brand.

Last week the confident songstress said Zimbabwe had only seen half of what the Chimbetu family had to offer.

"I know people think this could be the maximum of what the Chimbetus can do, but you have not seen anything yet," said Saiwe.

"I may be the first female to record an album but all my aunties are singers and there is a lot more coming from the younger generation."

The album carries an underlying feel of dendera which could be attributed to the lead guitar on the tracks that were played by Knowledge Nkoma, who also plays for Sulumani Chimbetu. Sulumani is Saiwe's brother.

According to Saiwe, Shoko RaJehovha marks her arrival into the musical industry.

"I took my time with the album because I wanted to find my groove first before I rushed onto the market but I can say this is who I am," she said.

"Coming from a Chimbetu family, there is always pressure to follow suit but I said to myself I would write what I feel. I had testimonies to make and this explains the praise songs."

The music, just like that of predecessors; has the unmistakable dendera rhythm only that this time it is a female and a gospel artist.

For Saiwe, however, it remains to be seen whether she will shine and match the prowess of her family.

The Chimbetu family has over the years contributed immensely in shaping the local musical scope in most cases standing out as pace setters for their contemporaries.

The family has produced probably the largest number of musicians in Zimbabwe starting with the late trio of Simon, his brothers Naison, Briam and Allan. Another generation has Sulumani, Tryson and Douglas.

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