IT would be futile venturing into the nitty-gritties of why one of the most celebrated promoters in this country, Partson “Chipaz” Chimbodza, decided 16 months ago to quit music promotion.
For someone who pushed everything from dance groups and tired musical horses that had long lost appeal, to the so called “Big 5” and international superstars, his decision remains rather bizarre.
Remember this is the guy, who together with Biggie Chinoperekwei of Devine Assignments, packed 16 000 people into the Glamis Arena when Busy Signal came to Zimbabwe for the first time in 2015.
The same promoter, who brought in several Jamaican greats like Luciano, and together with other promoters gave the late Dr Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi a stadium-full gift of Tuku Music fans on his 60th birthday.
While most promoters struggled to put together a single show, Chipaz could stage five shows in a single night and they would all be highly organised as he has great eye for detail.
At some point during his 10-year uninterrupted reign as the go-to promoter, Chipaz could have chosen to work with only the top artistes that would guarantee him a return on his investment — but he took risks. He promoted gospel shows, jazz, and even created a platform for upcoming artistes at his nightclubs and eateries. However, the biggest shocker, which proved to be a game changer in local showbiz was his decision to promote Zim dancehall at a time when it was a huge risk to do so.
While at the top of the food chain as far as music promotion was concerned, with his shows known for their organisation and zero no shows — Chipaz chose to bring Zim dancehall to the limelight.
The most memorable one, even by his own admission, being Sting 2014, a dancehall battle in which the headline acts, Seh Calaz and Soul Jah Love, made US$250 per minute each after performing for just 14 minutes before the show was stopped due to violence.
Chipaz is revered by most Zim dancehall artistes but more importantly adored by the dancehall fans themselves. A Chipaz dancehall gig was never spoken of in terms of which artistes would perform, but the promoter putting the show together. Tirikuenda kwa Chipaz (we are going to Chipaz’s show) would be the common saying on the streets by those going to any Chipaz organised shindig.
His name became legendary and it acquired celebrity status. It rose above those of the artistes, he became an institution. The reputation to deliver caused this. But more importantly it was his ability to do things differently, to deal individually with almost all artistes involved and catering to their most innate desires.
However, he also proved to be a shrewd businessman, despised by some service providers and even artistes — but he still remained the best. Some promoters that he collaborated with cried foul, accused him of reaping them off yet he stayed atop. Yes, many won awards and so forth, but Chipaz was still the go-to name. He is back, he is bolder and wants to change things for the better.
“We are back in promotions. We felt that we had let music fans and artistes down. We want to learn a few things and ideas from other promoters that were pushing the industry in our absence,” said Chipaz modestly.
But there is nothing modest about his comeback show. He has brought back his flagship concept “Bhora neMagitare”, which will see Zim dancehall artistes battling sungura singers in a soccer match before taking to the stage to do what they know best, perform and entertain.
Even the media will get to chase the soccer ball around — with print journalists being pitted against their electronic counterparts in a curtain raiser for the main attraction. There are over 60 artistes taking part in this Chipaz “resurrection act” — from sungura, Afro-pop, jazz, fusion, gospel, Zim dancehall, r & b, hip-hop to radio DJs, MCs and fellow music promoters.
What a way to mark his comeback! From our humble desk, The Sunday Mail Leisure, somewhere in the glass and mortar building, we say welcome back Mdhara Chipaz, the industry missed you.
Source:Sundaymail mail zim