By Bruce Ndlovu
Ever since he started the long journey to cement his name on the Zimbabwean music scene, Winky D has used a number of aliases.
If one could alter their birth certificates and put names of their choice on that precious paper, Winky D’s document would be a mess.
Born Wallace Chirumiko in 1983, the chanter has at various points been known as Wicked DJ, The Don, The Bigman, Messi weReggae, The Ninja President and more recently he has been known as the leading proponent of his self defined Gafa Lifestyle.
It is a lifestyle which Zimbabweans are still putting together piece by piece, with each release shining the light on the minute compartments that make up the life of the man whose voice has periodically delivered heaven over crisp beats and instruments over the last few years.
Over the last half decade or so, Winky D has dominated the charts, been involved in squabbles with competitors, won the grudging praise of the harshest of critics and embarrassed foreign acts when they thought they could boss the stage on his turf.
But what happens when a performer has seemingly done it all? What happens when a performer has run through so many identities that even his fans might have a hard time identifying which version of him they like the most?
Is it Bigman, the foolhardy bedroom marauder who had a girl pleading with her father not to exact violence on him? Or is it Messi WeReggae, who was seemingly able to bewilder both fan and foe by chiselling out hits from every melody that jumped into the smithy that is his fertile mind.
While it is unclear whether his conveyor belt of identities on earth has run out, it is evident that Winky D has decided to change tact. Better yet, he has decided to change planets.
Debuting his new album, Gafa Futi, on ZiFM Stereo on Thursday night, the Kambuzuma born chanter made an appearance in studio disguised in an alien suit that wouldn’t have looked out of place on the set of Hollywood Sci-Fi flick.
But this was not Star Wars, it was Winky in studio to decrypt messages from his album.
The Ninja President is gone and Winky has shape-shifted into a form that does not belong to this planet. The suit was effective particularly for radio listeners as his voice, muffled by his rubber suit, gave the effect that the chanter was interacting with his interviewers from somewhere in outer space.
Amid sporadic chants of Extra Terrestrial, Winky pointed out that the premiere of the album was not by mere coincidence, as the numerical date of the album’s debut, 6-10-2016, gave you the same date when turned backwards.
Such unflinching attention to minute detail, he pointed out, showed that while he is trapped on earth physically, his mind and thoughts reside in faraway cosmos.
“The imagination is from beyond earth. As a human being, you cannot think like that. So today is a special day. We’re launching a special album,” he said.
After the runaway success of the Gafa Life Kicks Tape, Winky pointed out that there was pressure on him, an artiste who did not want his craft to stagnate, to replicate the songs that had ruled playlists over the festive season last year.
“When you do something, people always say do it again. Like last year around this time, everyone was in Gafa mood. I felt that people were requesting the Gafa mood again and so I said no problem, Gafa Futi. So it’s Gafa Futi, extra terrestrial,” he said.
The chanter went on to explain why, armed only with his lyrics, he had rode Oskid’s production straight out of the planet on his latest effort.
“The meditation is from beyond human imagination. As a human being, you can’t think like that. Everything is from beyond the circumference of earth.
“For instance, Winky D alongside Oliver Mtukudzi. I’ve seen people crying in front of me. But you don’t know what’s touching in the song. They’re frequencies that are there that you’ll never see. Frequencies that are triggering emotions. So I Winky D, as the extra terrestrial, have come to twist those frequencies into words.”
Over the last few years Winky, who transverses the length and breadth of the country with his band in tow, has strived for musical growth as he seeks to banish the stereotype that young musicians are clueless without the computers and machines from which they make their hits.
While he has alluded to the fact that his voice, which he twists and bends to craft irresistible melodies and verses, is an instrument on its own, on Thursday he acknowledged that the musical backdrop provided by the likes of Oskid would make an impact on its own.
“Even if I remove the lyrics and you’re left with the instrumentation and the backing vocals, it’ll trigger the emotions because the frequencies are still in existence. What I was merely doing was putting the frequency into words that you can understand.”
Winky also took the opportunity to point out that while his mind might have taken residence in outer space, he was still aware of the plight and struggles of the much lamented ghetto youths. Word had reached the extra terrestrial chanter’s ear that ghetto citizens of his kingdom might be perplexed by his album sleeve, which is filled with cryptic digits.
“I have seen a lot of people talking about the sleeve. They say the sleeve has numbers and they say ghetto youths don’t understand these numbers on there.
“Point of correction, the ghetto youths understand because with the ghetto, we’ve physicists, doctors and lawyers. I wouldn’t take someone who says ghetto youths won’t understand serious because that’s wrong. You can say the majority don’t understand and I will agree because yes we are together there,” he said.
While during the album making process Winky D might have envisioned himself in outer space, last week a problem emerged on earth which no doubt demanded his attention. The night would not have been complete without mention of Winky’s ongoing feud with Oskid, a tiff that threatened the release of the highly anticipated album and a partnership that has brought countless hits in little over a year. Winky threw the cat among the pigeons when he suggested he and Oskid never had the agreement the producer claimed they had.
“Whatever is happening now is what was agreed on the contract. To my surprise, he’s rushing to radio, social media and newspapers. If someone breached a contract, you should take legal action because that’s where you can get justice.” – The Chronicle