Chipaz shares musicians’ secrets

11 Nov, 2016 - 00:11 0 Views
Chipaz shares musicians’ secrets Chipaz

The Herald

Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza

Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza

Godwin Muzari Memory Lane —
When Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza celebrates his 43rd birthday with musicians at Andy Millar Hall on November 19, he will retell how he has worked with most artistes that will be performing on the day.

Since he got into music promotion some years ago, he has seen the ups and downs of the industry and went through thick and thin with the musicians.

All musicians that are performing at the event have worked with Chipaz. The list of performers include Oliver Mtukudzi, Alick Macheso, Jah Prayzah, Suluman Chimbetu, Andy Muridzo, Alexio Kawara, Ammara Brown, Sandra Ndebele, Freeman, Soul Jah Love and Kinnah among others.

Chipaz said he would have wanted to celebrate with all musicians that had shows under his Chipaz Promotions, but the list is too long and the event would need more than a night. He is also heartbroken that some of the musicians are dead and others will not make it due to other commitments.

However, he will be happy to share memories of his journey in the music industry on the day. He shared some of the memories with Memory Lane this week.

His tale began with his relationship the late Tongai “Dhewa” Moyo who was the first musician he worked with.

Tongai Moyo
Chipaz said the late musician was the first one to perform at Club Chipaz which he owned at Makoni Shopping Centre in Chitungwiza.

After a number of shows, the promoter realised that he was making huge sales when Dhewa was performing and he saw the potential of making even more beyond Club Chipaz. That was the beginning of his journey as a promoter.

“I applied for a promoter’s licence and began having shows with Dhewa at various venues. As we got more shows, I roped in other musicians that would support him. At one point I booked Dhewa for 27 shows and our relationship grew stronger,” said Chipaz.

“I can say he is the one who showed me the highs and lows of the music industry. I was new and he knew better, so I learnt a lot from him.”

However, the two often had differences that often turned nasty.

“There was a time we went to Murehwa for a show and his PA system guys only arrived around 11pm when people were already fed up. The show began around 12pm and many fans had been disgruntled and left. It was a flop and I was so angry. I did not talk to Dhewa for about three days even though we went for another show in Mutare a day after the Murehwa incident.”

Chipaz said Dhewa later called and apologised and their good relationship continued until his death although they would occasionally clash over certain decisions along the way.

Oliver Mtukudzi
“After some shows with Dhewa and a few supporting acts, I wanted to get another big musician but most band managers did not trust a new-comer. I finally got Tuku’s trust after numerous attempts and I planned a show that also featured Dhewa. It was a big show and I can say it strengthened the Chipaz brand and opened way for projects with other big musicians.”

However, Tuku and Chipaz also had their misfortunes as they navigated the challenging music industry. They had a massive flop in Mozambique and Chipaz was stranded in a foreign land.

“We had two shows and the first one in Tete was good. The second show in Beira was well-marketed and everything seemed well. We were aiming for a big kill, but the skies opened up a few hours before the show and it rained cats and dogs.”

He said the heavy rains only subsided at around 3am the following day and the show was a historic flop. Chipaz did not have money for fuel back home and Mtukudzi had to rescue him.

When he got home, Chipaz had to sell his nightclub to recover his losses and get funds to resume promotions.

Alick Macheso
Chipaz respects Macheso for his humility. He said they have never had any problems since they began working together.

“He understands showbiz and he is easy to deal with. Sometimes he passes through my workplace just for courtesy. Our relationship has grown beyond the shows, but what amazes me is his energy on stage.

“We once had a string of shows, non-stop, and he would always show energy. When some of us and other artistes were getting drained physically, he never showed signs of fatigue. He said he was actually getting stronger with each show.”

Because Chipaz is into the car business, Macheso regularly approaches the promoter for advice when he wants to buy a new car. Chipaz said Macheso’s BMW gets serviced at his P and M Motors and the musician regularly narrates his tough journey in the music industry whenever they meet.

Jah Prayzah
Chipaz said he first saw Jah Prayzah when he was a young musician trying to get connections in the industry. Jah Prayzah’s stage manager Mabla 10 approached Chipaz seeking assistance for the musician.

“I went to a show at Takarangana Nightclub when Mabla 10 invited me. I saw Jah Prayzah performing for a pathetic crowd that seemed to have come for drinks and never bothered about the musician on stage. However, I enjoyed his mbira vibes and invited him to my office. I asked him how he wanted assistance and he said he wanted a better mbira instrument.

“I bought him the mbira and he asked for slots at shows. He said he was not worried much about payment because he wanted exposure.

“I invited him to a few shows until he got a contract to perform at the then Jazz 105 on Wednesdays, but he was not easily received there. People always complained that he made a lot of noise and others wanted to pay him to get off the stage.

“I had some shows where he was a curtain-raiser for Progress Chipfumo. One thing that kept him going was determination. He pushed his music until it got attention. Now he is a big musician. We used to tolerate him for slots at our shows, now we beg for his performances.”

Suluman Chimbetu
The promoter said he began working with Sulu when the musician was having problems with his uncle Allan in the band.

“We were in Chegutu for a show and the rest of the band members came but Allan did not turn up. I told Sulu to go on stage. Although he was hesitant, the show was not bad. I told him that he can always stand in for his uncle when he was away.

“He later told me he had separated with his uncle and I hired him for a show at Chipaz Nightclub. The show was pathetic. Only 23 people paid and Sulu was disappointed. He said he was considering reuniting with his uncle, but I told him to soldier on.

“When his shows began getting more followers, I gave him a car to use and he appreciated it very much. We have worked together very well since then and he has respect. He treats me like his brother.”

The Charambas
“All they want is professionalism. If they set conditions and you go by their expectations, everything goes well. I was a secular music promoter when I met them and it was not easy to get their deal. After the first show, they were happy and our relationship grew stronger.

“You should have noticed that at most social soccer matches featuring musicians that I have organised at Chipaz Bhora, Pastor Charamba will be there. He began as a goal-keeper and now he mostly comes as a coach.

“There was a certain soccer match when they both came wearing our branded trek-suits. They are a revered gospel couple and it takes a strong relationship to involve them at such events.

“They are just strict with their schedules and I have tried to be up to the task to meet their anticipations.”

Killer T and Tocky Vibes
Chipaz is one promoter who has been on the forefront of taking Zimdancehall to the people. He has worked with many local dancehall musicians, but he is especially interested in how the two musicians rose.

“I had organised a birthday bash for Freeman in Dzivaresekwa and Killer T approached me saying he wanted a slot. I did not know how good he was, but I gave him a chance. He went on stage and his performance was amazing. He stole the show and many people were interested in knowing more about him.

“Tocky Vibes also came along in a similar way. We were at Harare Gardens and some of the musicians that were supposed to perform went for a foreign tour.

“We had few artistes for the day and Tocky Vibes came to me and said he could do something on stage.

“I gave him a slot and he impressed immediately. He had initially said he just wanted bus fare after the performance, but I ended up paying him like other artistes of the day.”

Chipaz said he is fascinated by how the Zimdancehall sector continues to get new stars and he hopes every musician set to perform at his birthday bash will also share memories of how they have worked with Chipaz Promotions.

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