We said it, Mebo was a no-non­sense hit

The Manica Post - - Education/ Entertainment - Mor­ris Mtisi Post Cor­re­spon­dent

FROM nowhere to every­where, zero to hero and rags to riches, was the story of lit­tle known Obert Chari in 2018. Stub­bornly de­fi­ant, the Mebo hit-maker dared the kings and su­per­stars and claimed a cov­etous Coca Cola Ra­dio Zim­babwe Top 50 Best Up­com­ing Artiste award.

The hum­ble coun­tri­fied boy dis­obeyed the odds and treaded where the brave ones dread to tread. Con­grat­u­la­tions! Mako­rokoto! Amh­lope! You did what you had to do, and the heav­ens smiled! You did your best; God did the rest!

Mebo is a beau­ti­ful shocker! This is a song to play un­til David’s mother cries foul . . . un­til Erick Clap­ton, Phil Collins and Lionel Richie bring back Don Wil­liams, Marvin Gaye and Joe Cocker from their graves to be­stow on Obert Chari a gen­uine NAMA award out there in the sticks of Gokwe, declar­ing him the best sen­si­ble com­poser in Zim­babwe. He is bet­ter than Phil Collins-This side of the river! The re­peated cho­rus of as­sur­ance, “I love you as you are,” “(Ndi­non­gokuda wakadaro ufunge),” echoes the main mes­sage of the song: True love is not de­ter­mined by some­one’s looks, not by what one has or does not have, but by what the heart speaks.

Ex­actly the way Mebo’s heart speaks, “I love you as you are . . . no more-no less.” This great song seeks an an­swer to a huge ques­tion, ‘‘What is the colour of Love?’’ The an­swer seems to be, ‘‘True Love is colour­less.’’

When Oliver Mtukudzi is singing “Jeri”, “Rufu Ndi­mad­zon­gony­o­dze”, “Perekedza Mwana”, “Tiri Mu­bindu”, “Dzvene re­seri”, “Vhunze Moto” or ‘‘Tapera’’, he is not just mak­ing noise. When he sings “Wanza sori” he is not waf­fling mu­si­cally. He is on point about mould­ing hu­man dig­nity and hon­our-Ubuntu/Hunhu.

When Le­ornard Dembo is singing ‘‘Musha Rudzii’’, ‘‘Mu­tadzi Ngaaregererwe’’ or ‘‘Ruva Rashe’’ that is not mu­si­cal gob­bledy­gook. We can say the same about a lot of these mu­sic leg­ends worth canon­is­ing. The ma­jor­ity of us Zim­bab­weans who are gifted with flu­ency in lis­ten­ing feel very strong con­nec­tions be­tween the mes­sages of the songs and ex­pe­ri­ences in our own lives. These songs search for iden­tity, lone­li­ness, heart­breaks, help­less­ness, dilem­mas, love, hope and hope­less­ness.

And Obert Chari’s Mebo is no ex­cep­tion. When you take a good lis­ten to the coun­try boy, you can­not help re­call Don Wil­liams, Do­bie Grey, Marvin Gaye, Phil Collins, Lionel Richie and the rest of them. The abil­ity of this coun­try song sung by such an in­trigu­ing coun­try artiste this side of back­ground and cultural di­vide to con­nect song lyrics to our lives in­di­cates pow­er­ful in­ter­ac­tive and re­flec­tive learn­ing. By con­sid­er­ing this song within global and se­lec­tive lis­ten­ing frames, we do suc­cess­fully en­gage with its mean­ing, con­tent and con­text.

Mu­sic is uni­ver­sal lan­guage. It is loved by peo­ple of all ages and cultural back­grounds. It is an ex­cel­lent way to mo­ti­vate crit­i­cal think­ing. Songs, of course good songs like “Mebo”, cre­ate re­al­is­tic con­texts and like the novel, drama and other gen­res of Lit­er­a­ture and art are an ex­plo­ration of real life. Good songs, in­deed like “Mebo”, not mu­si­cal riff ruff, re­flect and com­ment on key so­cial, po­lit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal is­sues brought to­gether into one dis­ap­point­ment that trig­gers many ques­tions that beg an­swers.

All se­ri­ous mu­si­cians com­pose suit­able songs lead­ing us to suc­cess­ful and en­joy­able learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences. While to­day there is a flurry of in­ap­pro­pri­ate, sick of­fen­sive and dirty mu­sic mis­taken to be demo­cratic hu­man vo­cal ex­pres­sion Obert Chari chooses a dif­fer­ent path.

We can­not say some mu­sic has no ob­jec­tive. All mu­sic has an ob­jec­tive but it is not all ob­jec­tives that are clean. Cer­tainly some mu­sic can be quite poi­sonous and point­less. And ev­ery good na­tion needs very lit­tle of that in­ap­pro­pri­ate­ness and mu­si­cal dis­com­fort.

We can­not say that about Obert Chari’s “Mebo”. The Gokwe boy ob­serves mu­si­cal hy­giene as he teaches through song.

Aware that some peo­ple have no ears to lis­ten to sense . . . have no lis­ten­ing flu­ency, we must sim­i­larly be aware that there are oth­ers who can tell when they hear per­fect mu­si­cal sound (and of­ten-times don’t have to like it . . . sim­ply ac­knowl­edge it). The same peo­ple can also tell when they hear non­sense called mu­sic.

And “Mebo” by Obert Chari is not non­sense. His song fos­ters psy­cholin­guis­tics in­volv­ing com­plex sound ca­pa­ble of en­hanc­ing the en­cod­ing of lin­guis­tic in­for­ma­tion at the brain-stem.

“Mebo” stim­u­lates crit­i­cal think­ing and helps im­prove skills such as ver­bal mem­ory and au­di­tory mem­ory-and how mu­sic from a psy­cholin­guis­tic view­point can be an ex­cel­lent way to en­gage learn­ers even in a class­room sit­u­a­tion. The song is good news to teach­ers of English Lan­guage who have been dy­ing to make their lessons lively, en­joy­able and full of learn­ing fun! Not many artistes, even poets, take a love story from this an­gle. This is a unique way, ‘‘un­usual’’ could be a bet­ter word . . . a unique way of telling a love story.

It is good news to a lis­tener who has been won­der­ing and ask­ing, “What is true love? And what is it made of?” Lis­ten care­fully and in­tel­li­gently to “Mebo”, no mat­ter what you think it is . . . no mat­ter whom you think you are. You may not like the song be­cause of the empty airs of use­less graces and airs around . . . you may there­fore not like the song or the singer.

The song will con­tinue to speak sense and truth. The singer is not look­ing for ap­proval from any­one . . . is not look­ing for fame or glory . . . in his other hit song “Batai Manzwi.” Grasp the sense in the lyrics’ he does not make it a se­cret that he does not care whom you think you are — he wants you to lis­ten to the mes­sage. And whether you like it or not, he will go ahead and sing the way his heart and con­science com­mand . . . and you bet­ter lis­ten!

Thank you Coca Cola! You iden­ti­fied one mu­si­cian worth recog­nis­ing . . . a real con­tender and fu­ture su­per­star rid­ing on merit and abil­ity, not church-vote align­ment, bor­rowed shim­mer or gleam.

For once Zim­bab­weans voted for a song and artiste worth recog­ni­tion, re­spect and sup­port. Well done Zim­bab­weans!

Obert Chari

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