And then there was Hwabaratya��

Nkululeko Nkala

I could be wrong to assume that we all know that ugly person, that you have been seeing all your life and you only start to pay attention when they say something nice.

You then realise they have a good heart and a sweet voice. And from that moment going forward, they do not look as ugly as they did before. Sometimes they even look cute, though in a different way that needs justification.

And sometimes, you realise you just did not give them a chance.

Anyway, this is not a beauty column, but an arts platform. I am not even sure if the intro does justice to what I am writing about.

What I am trying to say is that there was Hwabaraty, yet this guy has been around for a few years.

He formally re-introduced himself last Friday at the National Gallery in Bulawayo. I used to think I had the coolest launch with my Khuliyo character, which featured the crA?me de la crA?me of the city, but Hwabaraty took that page and ripped it to shreds.

Set up of venue was amazing. Big up to Saimon Mambazo Phiri and Thandoz Events for turning The Gallery into a venue to die for.

Couches, Wimbledon chairs, bar stools, drinks at the door, snacks on tables and an all-star cast. The killer for me though was the stage setup. The drummer was right at the front of the stage (a first for us), then keys next and three guitarists at the back, further back was the backing vocalists. It was a well thought out setup.

Now over to the man himself, if you know him you will know he is always in baggy dropped jeans. That day he was on a neat slim fit suit and his hair plaited.

I know I have mentioned that Hwabaraty has always been around, hence my introduction. We just did not pay attention to him partly because of his kind of music then, and maybe to be blunt because he was not amazing.

Forget that he featured Jeys Marabini, Sandra Ndebele, Vusa Mkhaya, Ashley Mashingaidze, Nkwali and Percy of Velocity Records. Hwabaraty owned that day. He controlled every song with ease, had us all eating from the palm of his hand.

He played with a live band like it was something that he has always done. Maybe ita��s time I give Jeys the credit for investing on the young man. You did well Jeys!

Anyone that was there knows Hwabaraty set up a bar, not just for his peers but for the music industry as a whole.

From last weekend I am certain many of us that attended have christened him King of Kwaito.

He took the sound that we borrowed from our South African neighbours and made it his own. There were traces of jazz, imbaqanga and maskandi in most of his songs. The kind of music that both adults and young people can relate to. You should have seen him take us on an emotional journey with songstress Nkwali or how he and Ashley seemed like a match made in heaven.

He even danced and sang with Jeys like he was at the same level with the man. It was good to see Hwabaratya��s family part of the crowd including his grandmother. Album costs were met by Iyasa director Nkululeko I Dube.

Hwabaraty has also been nurtured by Matesu Dube and Alex Mabhanzi Mhlanga. His album is titled Woza Nhlanhla and is an 11-track offing.

Ita��s an above average rating from me. Featured tracks are Ihole Lami, Ngizokulinda, Zinyane,Angidlali ,Amakhwelintaba, Skhananda, Woza Nhlanhla, Sthandwa sami, Izulu, Umhlaba and Mzali Wami.

With enough airplay and the support of Bulawayo I think the young man should start enjoying his music career. Continue supporting local arts.

Until next week, be safea��@nkuenkala