There are certain moments in life that stand alone. Or as a Boov would say they “don’t fit in, they fit out”. Moments when you know something you are a part of or witnessing is rare and magical. Delivering my son with my own hands before he took his first breath is such a moment for me as was seeing Halley’s Comet. Watching Gemma Griffiths a young Zimbabwean lass belt out Winky D’s Musarova Bigman is another. Whether it was the atmosphere in the church where the music video was filmed or if it was watching a native English speaker singing Shona like it was her mother tongue I can’t be sure. All I know is that something resonated deep inside me knowing whoever this singer was she was like nothing I’d ever heard before.
The song’s lyrics describe an awkward situation that most young people can relate to where the girl’s father walks into her bedroom and discovers she has male company. Begging her father ‘not to hit Bigman’ Gemma’s interpretation is heart felt bringing calm to a song with violent lyrics, leaving the audience in subdued silence, even reverence. I watched as each person around me responded to this new voice. Their reaction was the same as mine – a ‘hair standing on end’ performance – or standing ovation had it been live!
Musical talent is something that fascinates people born without it, like myself. We marvel at those who walk the earth wired to a musical note. Lionel Richie had a single word that became an overnight hit, yes you guessed it… “Lady“. One word and the rest followed – the lyrics, the melody and the success. What singers and songwriters like Gemma have is a musical gift, what they give us is music as medicine. Songs that heal, that carry us through our darkest hours, songs that commemorate our happiest nights and days and mark the milestones of our life’s journey. Without it we would forget to dance and sing out loud feeling that flow of energy that connects us to the heart beat of the universe.
May your ears hear life’s harmony. Stay tuned to Africa’s musical Gem.