Gonyeti lurches into top gear

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Entertainment -

WHEN Pamela Zulu, pop­u­larly known as Gonyeti, left her past life and said she wanted to be an artiste in her own right, peo­ple were scep­ti­cal.

They had to be. Many of these artistes who want to go it alone after hav­ing been in more prom­i­nent out­fits tend to crash and burn. Yet the full house present at her al­bum launch last week made it clear how the road to perdi­tion would start for the mu­si­cian.

She ap­peared at the event, with her dreamy eyes; eyes that tell a story. Per­haps a mil­lion sto­ries past and fu­ture that carry her huge dreams. Eyes that those who watched the leg­endary Safirio Madzikatire’s Mukadota Fam­ily drama would re­mem­ber be­ing the same kind of eyes Mai Phineas had.

And so when she erupted into the ti­tle track One Day, those sto­ries were borne out. “I’ll not for­get you al­though I just saw you one day. But what you did to me, will last for­ever,” she says of a ‘lover’ in her past, one that went on to love her after the epic one day.

She sings a tale of love and dis­ap­point­ment and also hope, per­haps to marry her “one day” lover. Who­ever he is, he prob­a­bly made a last­ing im­pres­sion on her.

While the track is not phe­nom­e­nal in its recorded form – the live per­for­mance of the song is one that elec­tri­fies and shows the show­man­ship of this Ama­zon who fit­tingly calls her­self “war vet”.

Her thick voice, heavy with drip­ping honey and cin­na­mon, is one that tones well with her bass ac­com­pa­ni­ment and hap­pens to splen­didly tell her tale with pro­found emo­tive­ness that makes the song a great ef­fort.

But some­where along the way, the stu­dio record­ing failed to cap­ture that magic of her ge­nius. Clad in a T-shirt that read “WILD”, Gonyeti got into a wild groove show­ing that her driv­ing force in the fresh ca­reer will prob­a­bly be her per­fec­tion at live show per­for­mances.

That al­ways pays the bills af­ter­all. Her duet with Su­lumani Chim­betu, while not the best of col­lab­o­ra­tions, also touched on a top­i­cal is­sue and proved that she in­tends to be in the in­dus­try for a long time and was per­formed per­fectly.

Ta­bata Bhande, she sings with Sulu, de­fi­antly say­ing she will not fall not go back, pre­sum­ably to her past.

While the art of song-writ­ing is al­ways said to be based on ob­serv­ing so­ci­ety, one can’t help but think Gonyeti is draw­ing upon her own per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences to pen her songs.

She sings of loss and be­ing tar­geted by jeal­ous peo­ple and rel­a­tives in Chi­woni­woni. In it, she asks for eyes that help her see who is be­hind her bad for­tune so she can avert cri­sis. In true African spir­i­tu­al­is­tic style, she plays mir­ror-mir­ror.

Pamela ‘Gonyeti’ Zulu

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