Godwin Muzari Arts Editor
It is exactly a month before the 13th anniversary of Simon Chimbetu’s death and his heir Suluman has begun dedicating shows to his father.
Simon died on August 14, 2005 and Sulu assumed leadership of Orchestra Dendera Kings after some months of mentorship from his uncle Allan.
Beginning this weekend, Sulu will be doing shows that will evoke memories of the great Chopper, as Simon was popularly known.
Although he always performs his father’s songs at his shows, Sulu said this year he will do it with a difference as he will share his father’s untold stories at the shows.
He said there are many things that music fans do not know about his father’s life and some real stories that inspired most of his hits. He has set his shows beginning tonight to reveal the secrets and give people insight into some of the popular songs.
The revelation journey begins tonight when Sulu stages a show at Takarangana Nightclub in Hatcliffe and the next port of call is Vamrey Gardens in Chitungwiza where the dendera singer performs tomorrow.
Chimbetus usually dedicate the month of August to Simon’s commemoration, but Sulu said they are starting the honourary shows early in order to take the concept to many areas.
He said they will commemorate Chopper for the next six weeks at venues in and outside Harare, sharing the late legend’s untold stories.
“People will be surprised and excited to know stories behind some of Chopper’s songs. Most songs were based on real events, but few people know what inspired him to compose them. There are also many things about his lifestyle that his fans and music followers in general were never told,” said Sulu.“We did not disclose the stories earlier, because we were waiting for the right time. This is the right time and I will tell people why it is the right time. A lot has happened since his death and many things have changed. People will laugh and also get emotional because there will be stories about his happy and sad moments.
“Many people know that my father had a turbulent life and his career was built through different circumstances. The stories behind that life and that career will inspire different moods and responses, but people have to know more about their legend. For the next six weeks, the other side of Chopper will be revealed.”
Sulu said some of longest serving members of Orchestra Dendera Kings that include bass guitarist Moffat Nyamupindu and lead guitarist Knowledge Nkoma will also share stories about their exploits with Chopper.“People that worked with him in the studio and during live shows also have interesting tales about my father. They rarely get platforms to share the stories, but this year they will have six weeks to tell fans about how they recorded and toured with Chopper. We sometimes share the stories as a band and these guys have surprising and exciting tales.”
Chopper is one of the great legends to grace the local music scene and most people still follow his music. As the pioneer of dendera music, he inspired many musicians to take up the genre because of its success.
Working with his brothers Naison, Briam and Allan, Chopper built a brand that has stood the test of time. The second generation of Chimbetus to pursue dendera has Sulu, Tryson and Douglas that are separately following the genre.Chopper’s death robbed the country of a great music warrior and he was befittingly buried at the Mashonaland West provincial heroes’ acre in Chinhoyi.