HomeLife & StyleRest well Andy Brown . . . remembering Chiwoniso Mararire

Rest well Andy Brown . . . remembering Chiwoniso Mararire

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I did mean to write something on Andy Brown when he passed on a few years ago.

by Entertainment Reporter

Although I never knew the man personally, for some odd reason I was so much attracted to his music from the time I was a child.
As a youngster I watched him a lot on ZTV’s Ezomgido, and whenever they played the song Daisy I would imagine myself as that character.

I would tell myself that when I grew up I would have a man, call me up to apologise for whatever we would have quarrelled about, begging me to reconcile.

And I would also play with water at the pond and tear up letters from him, just like Daisy did in the video clip. So confident was I that I wanted this that I would practise the motions in our own little fish pond at home — pretending someone had broken my tiny little heart.

My innocent mind could not decipher that this was a sad love song where lovers were breaking up leaving a heartbroken Daisy sad.
When I grew up I also wanted to experience what grown up girls experienced. And for that reason I secretly wished my mum had named me Daisy. Pru just didn’t quite cut it.

And then there were my uncles, big fans of traditional contemporary; your Andy and The Storm, Zig Zag Band, Pied Pipers, Mukanya and such-like.

So growing up with them literally meant growing up with Andy’s music, album after album.

I remember being the weird kid in junior school who knew the lyrics to Tozarire Chimhandara when everyone else sang Mariah Carey’s One Sweet Day.

I would sing along to Zvapiringana Kumaganigani, Sweet Chariot as my classmates looked at me funnily.

When I was older, the song Daisy suddenly made so much sense to me. I was to learn that boys could hurt you, and they would beg for your forgiveness… and they would make you feel so horrible that you just wanted to be left alone.

I also realised that what Daisy was going through in that video, no matter how serene and at peaceful she looked in the park, was not actually pleasant in real life.

There was nothing wow about hanging the phone on a boy because chances were the fight was so bad that even after hanging up you wanted to burst into tears because what he had done to you made no sense at all. I didn’t want to be a Daisy at all.

For singing such truth to me when I was still an innocent child, making me anticipate adulthood so much that I rehearsed it, Andy was special to me.He struck me as a laid back entertainer…one who knew he was so good that singing was never an effort for him; it was just second nature.

And then there was Chiwoniso. First time I heard about her I was in Grade 7 at the Book Fair.

I felt so grown up watching a real artist perform. What struck me most about this stunningly beautiful woman’s performance was that it was not on a stage.

She was just sitting on a stool, surrounded by a handful of an audience, playing the mbira to a beautiful melody; “Urombo Mai, urombo mai….” closing her eyes the whole time. I was super fascinated.

Funny enough I never ever heard that song being played or sung ever again. Eventually I concluded that maybe I imagined the whole thing. It was strangely beautiful.

Sadly my childhood memories are so sharp and vivid that I am the only one who remembers this episode. So over the years she stayed safely tucked away in the pockets of my memories, that special mbira lady.

Fast forward a few years later, next thing I knew that beautiful lady with the closed eyes from the Book Fair was singing with none other than Andy himself. My special artist from way back when I was little, the one that made me rehearse my adulthood by our fishpond at home, the one that made me wish I had been named Daisy.

I reminded the cousins who accompanied me to the Book Fair that the Urombo Mai lady we saw back then is in fact the mbira legend of today, Chiwoniso Maraire.

The harmony created by Chi and Andy’s voices was beyond artistic excellence: “Inga wani ropa revana veZimbabwe rakadeuka richiyerera kunge rwizi nhasi mava kupondana pachigaro chaMambo mapindwa neiko vana baba…”

And then there was Mawere Kongonya, a song which to this is Zimbabwe’s best composition as it captures many genres in one.
While the story line is traditional folklore, Chiwoniso’s vocals pierce through the instruments, giving it a balanced out feel, the beat is vibrant and becomes almost rock-music wild with Andy’s guitar towards the end.

Such that it tends to be popular with people from across different generations.

Sweet chariot take me home, indeed has taken the two great entertainers home. And as I remember the moment I first heard news of their death, even though they died within a year of each other, and even as I remember each one for their own unique talent, and even as I particularly write today to commemorate Andy’s death, one of Chiwoniso’s songs keeps ringing in my mind. Strangely because it was not one of her more popular songs because it just won’t go away.” Kokorigo kokori…..korigo korokoro koriro.”

It’s the dawn of a new day the crowing cock announces a brand new day without Chiwoniso and The Ancient Voices and also without Andy Brown and The Storm.

Rest well, legends.

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