By Chief K.Masimba Biriwasha
YOUNG jazz artist, Chris Gera says he is on a mission to change the face of jazz music in ZImbabwe. At 31, already has an album to his credit which is doing well on the local market, titled “Sango Rinopa Waneta.” In an interview with NewsDay, Gera said that he he chose to play jazz because his lyrics blend with the musical genre and that jazz appeals to a wider cross section of society.
In April, Gera gave a spectacular performance at the Sunday Mail Bride of the Year show held at 7 Arts Theatre which apparently marked his first stage performance. Gera’s energetic performance lifted people from their seat despite that he was virtually an unknown in the music circles.
“I was surprised – as a new musician, I’m always worried whether people will like my songs. But at the bridal show, people stood up and started dancing to my music,” he said.
Gera said that he started playing music in the church where he did vocals. He said that he taught himself to play the keyboard. In spite of the confident talent that he exhibits, he said that the journey to making his debut album was not easy as he encountered many blind corners.
“I fell in love with music while performing at church, and in 2000, I tried to come up with a gospel album but it just went into the bush,” said Gera with a smile.
In 2002, he tried to work on another album in partnership with a local gospel recording house but it went to no avail. Gera said he only managed to record and launch his first album last year.
“The album carries six tracks and two instrumentals. The album touches on day-to-day issues such as perseverance, domestic violence, relationships and forgiveness among other issues. I sing about things that touch people’s lives,” he said.
Gera said lack of finances for rehearsals and marketing had seriously affected his work.
“Promoters only concentrate on , established artistes. Many of them are reluctant to work with young, unknown artistes. If we can get promoters who can find us, I think we’ll go to great heights,” said Gera.
To take his talent to a new level, Gera said that he put together a band called Afro-Abantu which specializes in playing jazz music. The band is currently working on a six track album which will be released later this year. The band is currently busy working on six track album which will be released later this year.
“I want to take my music to the rest of the continent and internationally. I see myself going places with my music. I also want to help other artists to make it in the industry,” he said.
“In the future, I would also like to collaborate with other artists such as Alexio, Dudu Manhenga and Mtukudzi among others.”