Monday 16 July 2012

Winky D's dream rise

Winky D
I would have loved to meet Winky D before moving from the arts and culture desk at The Herald to the news desk some time in 2007. Of course, at the time, Winky D was stirring up some noise and people had started talking about him despite his art being underground. Stunner had already made some history and so had Xtra Large. Most often those who spoke about Winky D would have seen him perform at some club. What most spoke about were Winky D’s lyrics. But it took me another year, after I had left The Herald to listen closely to Winky D’s music.
I must admit the brother has verses. They are fresh and capture the moment. He has the talent to fuse in rhyme English and Shona. They call it the flow. And Winky D can flow.
There is a thin line between hip hop and dance hall music. Indeed, dance hall spawned hip hop. The two share similar elements. They both run on rhyme and verse. They both use beats. They also both rely on the sleek flow of verses. Because of this, Winky D’s music can be anything between dance hall and hip hop. Since he prefers to be called a dance hall artist, then Winky D has to be given the honour of being such.
Born Wallace Chirumiko in Kambuzuma in Harare, Winky D’s type of dance hall is defined as ghetto music. The music has also spawned the Ninja culture which appeals deeply to the youth.
His blog claims that Winky D’s rise and the three Nama nominations in 2010 should be ‘mainly viewed in respect of his ability to unveil the deepest poor people’s mysteries and firm resolve to state the truth regardless of the consequences’.
“His most famous concept Maninja encourages ghetto youths and poor people to live beyond the thinkable to defy the poor normative societal standards they are always associated with,” the blog further states.
His music, the blog notes, is able to identify with aptness the different poverty dimensions, indicators and manifestations and a clear cut vision of redress through commitment and this musters in the enthusiastic support of those who know the harsh realities of poverty in the ghetto.
“It encapsulates a redemptive ethic as viable aid to relief from suffering and is a credible source of energy for functional existence,” it says adding that his fast paced ghetto lingua rhymes are a result of a complicated process of the ghetto people to adjust, reflect, reminisce and be innovative in light of their low social standing.
His lyrics, says the blog, have become socially imperative in times of stress and mental turmoil amongst many and provide unending consolation and restoration of confidence in the downtrodden.

Below, Winky D talks about himself

FEW Zimbabwean artists have generated the excitement Wallace ‘Winky D’ Chirumiko whips up at the mere mention of his name in recent years. The 28-year-old is without peer on the dancehall and reggae scene in Zimbabwe at present.
He arrived in the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a weekend tour of Birmingham and London.
We caught up with him. This is The Truth about: Winky D
Name: Wallace Chirumiko

Born: February 1, 1983
Hometown: Harare (Kambuzuma)
Marital Status & Children: Attached, no children
How did you get the name Winky D?
It came from Wicked DJ. I was a small-time DJ in the early years in my music career and along the way the fans started calling me Winky D.
It was recently reported that you are changing your stage name, fact or fiction?
We don’t change; we add more names, every year. So you have Wicked DJ, Winky D, Winky D The Don, Wink D The Bigman and now Winky D Messi weReggae, named after the greatest football star on the planet.
How would you describe your music?
My music is reggae. I’m more focused on the dance side.
How many albums have you released so far, and what has been the reception like?
I have seven albums and a LOT of singles. I record music every day. Every day I record a song because every day I see things. I’m a social commentator. The things I see, I put into song.
Your hit song Usarova Bigman has over 65,000 views on YouTube after just three months being on there. It’s perhaps a measure of your rising stock in Zimbabwe. How do you feel about your newly-found superstardom?
I feel very much honoured. One minute I was writing a song in my room and the next the whole of Zimbabwe was singing along. It’s a great experience.
Apart from the catchy beat, the lyrics for Usarova Bigman tell a fascinating story of infidelity and heartbreak. The video brings this story to life beautifully. What inspired you to write that song?
It's a confession [laughs]. It was something I was caught up in as a teenager. It's one of those things you experience as part of growing up. I'm sure a lot of other men out there have similar stories, or slight variations of mine. If you are man enough, you can confess. I have made my confession [hysterical laughter].
How much song writing do you do?
It’s a daily thing. If my meditation is sharp, I can even write two or three songs daily. I don’t do anything but music. I spend something like 15 hours in the studio on a normal day.
Do you do any productions for other artists?
Yes, I have been working with two youngsters Vigilante and my young brother, Layne (pronounced La-ya-n). I have a new artist just recruited, a 15-year-old boy named Toeky Vibes. He has a bright future.
What’s your favourite musical instrument?
My voice.
Which Zimbabwean musicians do you look up to?
Every artist I have given my ear. As artists, we learn from one another.
Do you remember your first show?
Very well, it was sometime in 2001 in Waterwells. I was nervous. The moment I stepped on stage my heart was pounding, I couldn’t look at the audience in the eyes. Eventually, I had to close my eyes and just do it, and the whole place shook as people cheered and called for encore.
What’s the nicest thing ever said to you by a fan?
I was in Cape Town and this boy, he must have been slightly over three years, came over to me and said: ‘Winky D can I tell you the truth? I like you more than my father.’ I’m like ‘don’t say that in front of your father.’ It was something amazing to hear, from a child.

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