“DENDERA music is distinguished by the booming sound of the bass guitar,” the late Simon “Chopper” Chimbetu used to say.
“Baas (as Chopper would pronounce the word bass) tells you if music is dendera.”
When Chopper and his brother Naison popularised their music back in the 80s, several attributes made their music unique.
The lyrics and rhythms were different from many and people could discern if a certain piece of music had the imprints of the Chimbetus.
During the time, most recording artistes used session musicians, but some found themselves in a quandary when they could not define their own music.
In the case of the Chimbetus they changed their backing group a number of times before they could settle to form Orchestra Dendera Kings owing to their popularity which did not augur well with the session musicians.
This forced the likes of Naison aka Dr Nero to master the bass guitar and up the dendera that has the insignia of the late musician’s unique skill.
Tonight his son Tryson, who on his own is working hard to emulate his father, hosts a gig at the Andy Millar Hall in memory of his father who died in March 2006 after losing a battle with tuberculosis.
The gig, which will be graced by Alick Macheso, Peter Moyo and Munya Mataruse, will see Tryson joining forces with his cousins Suluman and Douglas and his uncle Allan to form the “Dendera United”.
“Dendera United” is a term that has been used to refer to a combination featuring all the Chimbetus whose relationship has unfortunately shown cracks. So far it has been almost impossible to bring them all to one stage owing to various undisclosed reasons.
The relationship between the current musicians from the Chimbetu clan is almost a similar love-hate one they have inherited from Chopper and Dr Nero who often threw tantrums at each other.
Another interesting fact tonight will be the availability of Macheso whose relationship with Sulu has not been that friendly.
That aside, tonight will be one to celebrate the life of one of the heroes of Zimbabwean music credited with penning some of the greatest dendera hits.