When I first listened to 'Tingware' (let’s be wary), Hope Masike and Sulu Chimbetu’s collaborative effort that was released on the 8th of November, I was not enthralled at all. When I read the news that these two were collaborating, I rushed to imagine what sound they would create. My imagination was limited to hardcore Dendera and Hope’s Wepeped. Unfortunately, my expectation and the reality did not tally. Nonetheless, I went on to give myself time to listen to the song for what it is and not what I wanted it to be. Now the video to the song is out and has gone on to become a radio and television staple.
After unconsciously listening to, and singing the song, it struck me that perhaps Hope and Sulu never intended to make a runaway hit. Tingwarire is one song has staying power. There is a perfect dialogue of genres. It trades between Sulu’s dendera and some jazz or is it calypso influence from Hope? Probably both! And of course everything is laid on the mbira which soothingly runs through the song. This rich mix is what makes the song a work of virtuosity. Often, when attempts at such are mere musical compromises, one musical elements either has to unnecessarily pave way for the other or everything is just randomly mixed up. In the end, the productions are akin to jollof rice prepared by an overzealous infant. But here, as I have alluded earlier, there is dialogue in genres, creating a unique song and style.
I guess the resultant quality also has to be attributed to the legendary producer Clive ‘Mono’ Mukundu of Monolio Studios. The man is a reservoir of musical knowledge. It is unfortunate that currently, in Zimbabwe we erroneously hail thoughtless productions which give momentary excitement. At present we do not have the right media infrastructure to support and sustain the hype associated with such ‘hit oriented’ productions. Anyway, that is where the world is going and we have to follow. But while at it, we should be always be aware that we have geniuses who create timeless music.
'Tingwarire' is a love song in which Sulu and Hope assume smitten personas encouraging each other to remain steadfast, loyal and be wary of people who have intentions to ruin their relationship. The two’s chemistry is hugely felt when they harmonise. Hope does the part alone at first and it sounds beautiful, but one can discern it lacks something, which you cannot immediately point at. On the second attempt, Sulu joins in with a register lower than Hope’s voice, and the two sound like they are mourning with pleasure. You should look at the faces which Suluman makes. However, from the context of the song, this was meant to pillory the hater.