Music is all about the heart. It has to come from the heart,” explains Blessing Chimanga, a young Zimbabwean musician. And come from the heart it did, as he played the Marimba, shook a leg and crooned at the Queen’s birthday party in Nungambakkam on Thursday.
But where does this music come from, other than the heart? “The world I’m living in gives me a song. Pay attention to the things around — situations and the environment — there, you have your inspiration,” says the 24-year-old, speaking to City Express.
Performing Afro-Jazz in a mix of English and native tongues like Shona, Chimanga and his band Zimboita’s tunes are catchy, with simple and easy to sing-along lyrics like “Every little good thing, comes when you work... So do-do-do-do-do something!” The band primarily uses the marimba, a xylophone-like instrument; the calabash, a gourd drum; and hosho, an African shaker. Apart from this, there are also drums and the keyboard.
But there’s much more to Chimanga’s music than just instruments. “There’s a lot of warfare in the world now. Through music, I want to be a voice of peace, rather than ask, ‘Hey, what’s your problem?’ There’s also a lot of sickness. I want music to be used as therapy, rather than just showing pity.”
Chimanga, who considers himself to be a ‘Zimbabwean ambassador’, says that sharing traditional forms of music is good, so that Chennaiites can get a peek into Zimbabwe’s culture. “I love India. I love the warmness of the people and the fact that India has kept its culture intact,” he says.
So how does he find the city? “Chennai is busy, and there’s a lot going on, but I just fell in love with Bengaluru,” he says, adding that he hopes to explore more of the city before he gets back home. The band, which also comprises Blessing T Muparutsa and Elisha Elah Zimbeva, will perform this weekend at the Global Isai festival at Phoenix Market City, Velachery. And of course, because India is a country Chimanga would “put on the side of countries he loves,” there could soon be a song inspired by our country too!