SINCE her debut to the Zimbabwean audience, Cape Town-born and Harare-raised indie-folk musician Gemma Griffiths has made it a habit to do cover songs where she interprets some popular local tracks such as Andy Brown’s ‘Mapurisa’ and Winky D’s ‘Bigiman’.
On the covers, Gemma pours out the type of soul that quite simply cannot be imitated or manufactured.
Her latest addition to her Hall of Fame of insanely impressive renditions is Jah Prayzah’s Mdhara Vachauya.
Written by Jah Prayzah, this is a love song telling the story of a man and wife separated by distance but determined to keep their love alight. Poetic lyrics in Shona and English, “Keep shining like the sun…/That’s my flower…/The fire of love is small, please don’t put it out..” sung with the resonance of Gemma’s voice to the sound of the piano.
Gemma has succeeded in telling the other half of the story, leaving a lasting impression. Taking an Afro pop sensation with its own dance that celebrates love with the energy and vigour of masculine force, she turns it over to reveal the gentle strength of a woman’s affection. Like Yin and Yang, there is synergy, as both sides of human emotion in their different forms of expression, crescendo in the promise of enduring love.
The song which was uploaded on YouTube two weeks ago is hardly about outdoing the artist, but more so, the highest form of flattery! Its video has garnered more than 20 000 views already.
Gemma said the Mdhara Vachauya interpretation was inspired when she opened for Jah Prayzah at a Summer Concert in Kirstenbosch – South Africa.
“I opened for him at his show in Cape Town, and it was there, seeing him perform live that got me thinking about it,” said Gemma.
It is however, unclear whether a collaboration between the two artistes is brewing considering that Gemma is currently recording her EP which features few collaborations.
The flowerchild was rather coy with the details, more so when asked if one of the collaborations included Jah Prayzah.
“I can’t tell you any more just yet, only time will tell!” Gemma said.
Considering her EP will include a Zimbabwean, South African and International collaboration, our money is on a Jah Prayzah duet which features an interesting fusion of Mbira and Indie soul!
Gemma is definitely growing on Zimbabwe’s heart, maybe because of the way she can belt out a soulful rendition of ‘Mapurisa’ by Andy Brown. Or perhaps it is the way she has rocked Acoustic and Jazz stages alike such as Miombo Magic and Unplugged Zimbabwe.
Attributing her creativity to her DNA, instrumental prowess to her High School education at Chisipite Girls High (where she took up Classical Music); Gemma furthered her passion by studying Commercial Music Composition in the United States. Since her return to Zimbabwe, she has shared stages with fellow rising stars Bryan Kadengu, Chashe and Vee Mukarati to mention a few. – Enthuse