By Mtandazo Dube and Prince Mushawevato
HARARE- Is struggling dendera musician Allan Chimbetu using his son Douglas as a springboard or is the long-serving singer simply recharging his waring musical batteries?
Could Allan be fearful of making the mistake that his deceased brother Simon made with Suluman? Or the recent case where the late Tongai Moyo left a raw Peter (his son) to take over the reins at Utakataka?
Others believe poor health could have forced Allan to propel his first-born son Douglas to the helm of his band, Orchestra Dendera Kings (Central Committee). Except for superstar Oliver “Tuku” Mtukudzi, many Zimbabwean musicians have been known to discourage their children from taking up music.
Most offspring of musicians only take up music after their parents die or they rebelliously take it up on their own, but Allan has gone against the tide.
“Everyone falls sick at one point or the other. I don’t think it is unusual for someone to complain of a headache, I am also human. You can even check for yourself. I am fit,” declared Allan, dismissing the poor health reports.
He added: “I am different from other musicians. I’m showing my boy all the corners of this trade and I will take him all the way through. There is no reason for me to suppress his talent, maybe he is a better musician than I am — besides we are a musical family and I don’t think he has an option.”
The controversial Allan, who has attracted media attention lately for allegedly impregnating several women, says he is already cautioning his 20-year-old son against being promiscuous.
“The main reason why parents are afraid of their sons and daughters taking up music is the promiscuity that is associated with it. It does not matter whether it is a boy or a girl; they all face the same dangers.
“However, I am making sure that my boy stays as far away from the women as possible. He knows that he needs to focus on his music first before going ahead to do the right thing by marrying a good wife at the right age,” said Allan.
Allan, also known as Professor, said it was his son’s talent that prompted him make the “bold” decision to teach him the ways of the showbiz industry and nothing else.
“I have been cooking this boy for about two years now. I was just waiting for the right opportunity to put him on stage and let him have a feel of being in charge, with all eyes on him and the pressure of having to deliver a polished act.
“He hasn’t disappointed me so far and that makes me very proud of him. I wish him well because if he makes it to the top, it also means that I will be rising,” said Allan. He said Douglas had developed an interest in music after seeing how well his brothers were doing on their own.
“Douglas developed interest in music through observing his brothers on stage and helping me rehearse new songs at home. After that I just realised that the young man needed a little polishing and I took it upon myself to do just that,” he said.
Allan, who worked with Simon and Naison (both late), Sulu and Tryson’s fathers respectively, took time to brag about how he did a good job with “Suluman, who was only interested in urban grooves music”.
“I want to guide Dougy just as I did with Sulu, who was more of an urban groover than a dendera musician. If I managed to bring light to Sulu who was uninterested in our type of music then I believe this is a much easier job because this one is already in the groove,” Allan boasted.
He also indicated that, although, it is about building the dendera empire, the young Professor is in a better position to compete with his brothers Sulu and Tryson.
“I am a father to these children — I belong to the older generation and I believe my skills also belong to that more mature generation of Dendera fans. I believe with time Dougy will be giving his brothers a run for their money because they belong to the same generation,” he explained.
Douglas has led his father’s band for a good number of shows. His first show was at Museyamwa Night Club, then Saratoga in Harare, followed by a string of shows in Redcliff and Zvishavane.
Speaking on the sidelines of a packed midweek gig at City Sports Bar in the capital, the 20-year-old, who is employed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), said his bread may be buttered elsewhere “for now” but his heart is with the guitar.
Currently, he has been on the lead vocals and can play the bass guitar, but intends to take over his father’s lead guitar. “I can play the bass guitar but my interest is in the lead guitar so I have been pestering my dad to take me through a crash programme so that I can learn the codes fast,” said Douglas.
“I am into the same genre as Sulu and Tryson and one thing is for sure; people are going to compare us. However, that is not my worry. I just want to do what I think I know best.
Besides, if I succeed in my endeavours, it simply means I would have helped expand the Dendera empire,” said Douglas, who went to Kuwadzana 2 Primary School and Allan Wilson High School. The Sunday Mail