The Herald (Harare)

Zimbabwe: Sulu Wows Seychelles

Victoria, Seychelles — THE mountainous resort town of Victoria, in Seychelles reverberated to the sounds of dendera music, when Suluman Chimbetu and Orchestra Dendera Kings gave a good account of themselves at the Carnival International de Victoria musical concert at the Freedom Square at the weekend.

For an outfit that had earlier in the day performed for hours during the five-kilometre carnival parade around the city, it was amazing the group managed to give an exceptional performance in the night during their 25-minute slot, as the carnival reached feverish heights.

Music, unlike football, is not a game where you rely on home support and fans for inspiration to score, but you need to strike the right chords to rock the crowd and appeal to their revelling instincts, and that is exactly what Sulu and his outfit did.

As soon as he took to the stage at the Freedom Square-right in the heart of the capital, Sulu wasted no time with salutations and he immediately performed his first song, "Dzandipedza Mafuta", a yesteryear hit which was well received by over 30 000 people -- nearly half of the country's population -- that had come to soak into the night heat and doses of good music from across the globe.

With a revelling crowd like the Seychelles, known for their late night binges and soca discos on the beaches, Sulu was already rocking the crowd that literally feeds on reggae, calypso and soca music.

It was a marvel to watch the crowd dancing along to hits like "Tenda", "One Way" and "Sean Timba", which became an instant hit with locals.

With Jah Prayzah's part in the song having been taken up by Franco "Slomo" Dhaka, it didn't matter who was on the mic, to sing that part, the original sound came out well if not better than the original composition.

The beauty about the song, "Sean Timba" is that it doesn't matter from which part of the town or the continent; you are hearing it from, or the event you are attending, the track gets you into a revelling mood, where you just want to gyrate to the beat.

The same effect of "Sean Timba" was felt across the Indian Ocean, when the revelling crowd on this tourist hub, flowed with the beat and danced to the song.

The revelling fans even imitated with little success of course, the group's "Hammer Cop" and "Batai Munhu" dances.

Speaking after his performance, Suluman conceded that it was his first time to play before a capacity crowd during an international gig.

"I have never played before such a huge crowd, but I was confident having seen the way they responded to our music during the first day at the carnival.

"So when I got on stage, I realised that they had already warmed to the beat," he said.

Zimbabwe Tourism Authority head of corporate affairs applauded Suluman's performance, saying it would open up a new market for him and other fellow Zimbabwean musicians, whose music had not yet reached the islands.

"Sulu was equal to his task. He gave a good account of himself during the performance.

"It was no easy task for them considering the language barrier, but he gave out his best," he said.

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