I did not attend the recently held Busy Signal gig at White City stadium in Bulawayo’s Mpopoma suburb, for as I passed by late on the night, there did not seem to be much going on.
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Crowds were milling about. You got the sense they were reluctant to go in. But for me it was not even about that, I am hesitant to pay to attend a dancehall show . . . except that this one was featuring Winky D.
Winky D, in my books, is one I would pay to see because he has a catalogue of hit songs and I do not expect to get bored. It has not happened as yet.
At White City stadium, crowds were gathered and the mood was upbeat. Vying dance groups were having a go on a grand stage.
The colour blue was all over the place, resembling a Dynamos soccer team invasion of the pitch. It was not a football match. It was the aftermath of the Busy Signal Show and once again Winky D was a featured artiste. The occasion was the finals of the Neshamwari Traditional Dance festival. Delta Beverages had pulled out all the stops and a number of its invited guests and officials were wearing the colour which is the famous brew Chibuku’s corporate colour.
But the finals went by in a haze for me. I was too busy. I was busy trying to get a hold of Freeman Mugadza of Sound Kulcha and other folks who had attended the Winky D and Busy Signal gig. I got a couple.
Why Freeman Mugadza? Because he is the brother who was responsible for the sound on the night of the abortive gig.
What I gathered
Mugadza’s sound at White City Stadium was flawless. This is what we have come to know of the outfit that has done many major gigs for corporate clients including Delta and whose last major gig was the Bulawayo Arts Awards.
Superlative is generally the word to describe their sound output. So what went wrong on the infamous night?
“I can tell you that my outfit was responsible for the front of the house sound which means I do not control the band’s mix, only what the crowd hears. Winky had his own engineer who is responsible for his sound.
“So what did he mean Mr Engineer fix the sound as reported widely?”
What I can tell you is that we were not responsible for his instrumentation…a lot was happening and people were pulling the monitors as well, it was chaotic.”
What could have been Winky’s motivation for crying wolf? So many questions…
Busy Signal was sleeping when he should have been on stage. Moreover, he was scheduled to appear on SkyzMetro FM for interviews, but he did not, according to an official from the station who refused to be named for professional reasons.
Still, there is a sense in which the promoters of the gig Y2K promotions did not appear to handle the show professionally. Service providers had not been paid hence the late setting up time. It becomes tricky for acts to do sound checks timeously.
Tocky Vibes had allegedly not been paid hence his no-show.
Madlela who was billed to perform was also reportedly given the run around by the local point person Holliman when he sought his payment.
He walked away without performing on the night. It does seem that the Winky D fiasco may have been avoided had he had opportunity to do his sound check prior to his set.
Zimbos have a Jamaica love that is long standing. Busy Signal later on went to stage a gig the following day in Harare. So did Winky D stage a commendable show in Bulawayo?
That may serve as redemption for the artistes. Winky D is still the king of dancehall in Zimbabwe. Busy Signal is doing well for himself. These Jamaican artistes provide fuel for local dreamers.
He was appointed tourism ambassador in a move that has raised the ire of the likes of DJ Stavo. But maybe they miss the point because, according to some, Morgan Freeman is an ambassador for Turkish Airlines. You do not have to be a Zimbabwean in the sense of being a tourism ambassador. You just have to have a global profile.
Don’t sweat small stuff
Local creatives should just go out there and compete and maybe win things on the global stage. That is how to be an ambassador. Let the works speak.