Monday, 4 April 2016
Grace Chinga: A gain among angels
If you follow this column you will realise that it carved a special place of veneration for the fallen gospel music songstress Grace Chinga.
Unlike all and sundry who love to talk highly of people that have died, this column wove praises for her long before she took a leap into the Celestial Kingdom of Glory weeks ago.
Grace’s rare talent was that she was the most unique one amongst the many gospel artists that we have in the country. She was a gifted lyricist as she made writing lyrics for her songs a speciality.
Besides, she could also sing for which she became known in musical cycles as singer-lyricist.
There is also more to her in that she embodied the differentiation that exists between a singer-lyricist and singer-composer, who composes the song's melody.
In short, she was triply endowed as she was singer-lyricist-composer.
Last time I pointed out that when you are a gospel artist you risk being dismissively given the rubbish tag that is cynical of every musical talent and endowment on display.
I have argued on the basis that every religious belief is a closed system and as a result it has its bedrock on a specific dogmatic belief. This is the reason one can neither question nor disagree with church authorities.
While the explanation is that God is Omnipotent, He was there and shall always be there looks like enough, it still has holes which fail to hold together even a child’s credulity.
This is where a belief will use its ‘closed system’ which simply shuts up you by saying it is the evil powers of Satan that drives you to ask such questions. This snaps any desire to ask more questions. This approach is what is usually looked at as a dogmatic slumber where you wake up at your own peril.
This frame is unfortunately one which most gospel musicians want to use. They sing very bad songs, which they are not even ashamed to put on CDs or tapes and call them albums, comfortable in the belief that no one will point a finger at their mediocrity because it is the Word of God.
Artists that are into gospel take it for granted that since it is gospel music then they could get away with murder.
No, as I have disputed before, I am not going to fall for that; this is a big blue lie.
God loves beauty, this is the reason even his creations are beautiful, including Lucifer himself although in believers’ depiction he is shown as a badly-horned looking creature!
Now for Grace, she carried her way into the musical journey so well that she even made her dismissing agitators appreciate her talent.
Grace underwent a very horrible divorce court battle in 2007 and many thought the end of her musical career was signed off and sealed.
A year earlier she had released ‘Thandizo Langa’ which despite registering onset success ended up being sneered at due to her divorce court case.
Many people never bothered to look at what Jesus was scribbling down and wanted to start stoning her and due to such condemnation she left for the United Kingdom in the hope that it would provide an asylum where she would be able to recharge her batteries.
She returned home and on 10th October 2010 Grace unveiled what have become hits songs in what as her third album ‘Udzayimba Nyimbo’.Whatever bad publicity that derided her inspired her to come up with tracks that carry pure musical touch like ‘Mundisungire Korona’.
It was a ringing response to the ridicule she suffered when things turned up solemn after her divorce. She exacted her attack back to those that derided with the kind of art that was uniquely created.
And at the launch of her album she never shied away from declaring that ‘Grace is Grace, Take it or leave it!’
When you listen to Grace’s music one thing that is clear is that the instrumentation is not the hurried kick-kick, rush-rush concoction that has crammed the gospel music market.
She took her time to make music that appeal, unlike most so-called gospel musicians that sing mediocrity in the hope that people will listen to it anyway because it is gospel after all.
From such tracks like Ndayalula, Tapulumuka, Anandigula to Absalom one would appreciate, not only the resilience that is a tool of a brilliant musician in a challenging market, but also the patience of taking time to compose and record music.
The piece of work that is Grace Chinga’s third album for example is one product that one rarely releases. It complicates the text book theories that prescribe what is the best mood, time, place, state of mind to compose music.
When one deeply listens to content of Grace’s music, you would but realize with veneration such an intelligent talented maker of music she was.
I know that while her departure is a loss to the local music fraternity, it is a gain amongst the angels.