BY TATENDA KUNAKA
ON May 28, 1997, the country lost a talented gospel artiste when Brian “Sparrow” Sibalo departed this planet.
He was 32.
But his music continues to echo to this day as its sweet rhythm inspires hope, faith and inspiration in many.
Popularly known as the Sparrow, he is most likely soaring and singing with angels somewhere above there.
Sibalo was one of the pioneers of Zimbabwean gospel music as he frontlined Golden Gospel band.
About 25 years down the line, people still love his music.
At the time of his death, he was arguably one of the best gospel singers in the country.
He possessed a rare unique voice plus energy, therefore, attracting a huge following at live acts.
Seasoned producer and engineer Peter Muparutsa, who worked with Sparrow for over a decade at RTP studios, said the singer was a rare breed.
“He was gifted with a powerful deep voice; his creations were nice and he would compose nice melodious lines,” explained Muparutsa.
“We are yet to have such an artiste. At first, he started sounding like Freedom Sengwayo, but coined himself into a different artiste, he created a unique vocal style,” he said.
Sparrow was an inspiration to many people according to Muparutsa.
“He was charismatic, everyone loved him, people would come to him for advice. When we were recording people would congregate around him, he was open to everyone,” Muparutsa aded.
Born in Gweru in 1965, Sparrow released his debut album Oh Hallelujah in 1983, when he was just 18 years old.
The album, however, did not do well, on the market. It was only in the 1990s when he reached his peak and started to dominate the airwaves.
Some of Sparrow’s popular hits include Thula Moya, Ndiri Mufambi, Tinosangana Kudenga, Emoyeni, Umlomo Wami, Zizofika Ezulwini and Busa Nkosi.
The Tinokutendai Baba video was a favourite of many on television in the 1990s.
By the time of his death, Sparrow had seven albums, namely Ndiri Mufambi, I Believe In Power of Prayer, Thula Moya, Revival Time, Oh Hallelujah, Jerusalem and Zizofika Ezulwini.
His last album Jerusalem was a duet with Peter Muparutsa, having also worked with the likes of Filbert Marowa, Kenny Neshamba, Clancy Mbirimi and Raymond Mashawa.
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