Senior Arts Reporter
When everyone else thought Dendera musician Allan “The Professor” Chimbetu had seen it all and was past his sell-by date, the man has come up with a new album which he believes, will catapult him back into mainstream music.
Dendera music fans, in particular, and Zimbabweans, in general, will once again get a chance to judge Allan, who for decades has lived in the shadows of his late brothers, Naison and Simon, and of late, his nephew, Sulumani.
“My comeback in the music sector is long overdue. I can feel it! This is an urgent matter my brother, and this time around I have brewed something that has been missing in Dendera music,” says the talented Dendera music guitarist.
Allan, caught up with The Herald Arts yesterday and said the album, titled “Urgent Matter” was set for release on November 14.
The 10-track album which has songs like “Ndisina Mari”, “Nhodzerai” featuring Sulumani, “Sorry”, “Kombe” which is in Chewa, “Tiverengane”, “Hello” and “Nyasha Dzinesu” featuring Mathias Mhere was worked on by three prominent producers.
The producers include Canada-based Zimbabwean Munya Vialy, Trust Samende while Keith Farquharson mastered the album.
It surprisingly it has some digital effects, although Allan says it did not affect the originality of the Dendera tempo.
Tomorrow, Allan is dropping the single “Tiverengane” which he says will market the album as a precursor to the November 14 launch that will take place at Nyaradzo Hall in Waterfalls and will be aired on ZBCTV starting at 9pm.
Allan shared his musical journey and how patient he has been with his nephews whom he has always tried to unite
“The album, which was inspired by societal settings, is ready and I am dropping the single tomorrow followed by a video shoot of ‘Ndisina Mari’ which will be premièred during the album launch,” he said.
“Each song has its meaning which goes with a particular subject and one thing I like about music, anyone can interpret the way they feel and the good thing is it should not lose meaning.
“We have also fused the digital part on the album during recording. I recorded the album early this year and could not assemble my band members because of Covid-19 restrictions. Nothing has changed; the feel, vibe and beat of Dendera is still the same, just that we also needed to appreciate the digital era. The launch will also be online and very few people are set to attend due to the Covid-19 restrictions,” he said.
Allan said he chose to feature Sulumani on “Nhodzerai” because he is the eldest of his nephews.
Turning to the Simon Chimbetu commemorations held recently, Allan said the event failed to live to its billing because of poor coordination among family members.
“After the last online show we did as the Chimbetus, I noticed that I should be very patient with my nephews. The show wasn’t the best I wanted because there was poor coordination among family members, from not being punctual at rehearsals and disagreeing on certain things.
“As you know sibling rivalries have always been there even in the Bible, remember the story of Cain and Abel. As a father it is my duty to make sure I bring them together. I don’t have any problem with Saiwe, because she is married now and I respect her marriage. So I collaborated with Sulumani on ‘Nhodzerai’ and it is not a dedication song to his father, but to Zimbabweans,” he said.
He said he had learnt a lot during the lockdown period as he took the opportunity to discover himself more.
“I decided to release the album now after about eight years from the previous album “Covenant”. A lot has been happening during that period, including financial challenges, and it is true that I ventured into fixing cellphones.
“That is where I earned the name ‘Professor’ because I could do all sorts of jobs. I did a course in electronics but didn’t finish it. I am, however, a qualified automotive engineer class 1.
Now I can’t fix cellphones as before as I am getting older,” said the 48-year-old musician.
Allan, who has two wives — Tambudzai and Whisper — said he vividly remembers when he was called in to stand in for his late brother Braim during a family concert which was being hosted by late Simon.
“Music has been in bloodline in our family. So we were at a family show and Braim had been arrested, but I had to replace him on stage.
I was 23-years-old by then. From 1992 to 1995 I was at school and I started playing the guitar in 1997. I was serious in 1998 and I decided to record together with Simon. I am self-taught. I played on “Tenda-Tenda” and “Zimbabwe Iyoyi,” he narrated.
To date, Allan has four albums under his belt and “Urgent Matter” will be his fifth.