Sukulwenkosi Dube-Matutu, Gwanda Correspondent
FROM humble beginnings, Gwanda-based gospel group Hybrid Psalms has become a household name not only in their home town but beyond as they continue to minister and entertain many through their music and performances.
The youthful contemporary gospel group made their breakthrough last year at the Gwanda Gospel Music Festival, at which they got to share the stage with renowned local and South Africa-based gospel artistes such as Takesure Zamar, Mathias Mhere, Deborah Fraser, Dr Tumi and Neyi Zimu.
In an interview the group’s logistics and operations director, Wiseman Dale said performing at the event gave them significant exposure which saw them being invited to the Ultimate Praise Experience in Bulawayo last year.
“We have been previously performing at various platforms in Gwanda but we had an experience of a lifetime which marked a significant turn in our ministry when we were invited to perform at the Gwanda Gospel Music Festival. It was our first time to perform at the festival and to perform on such a big stage. We were able to share the stage with renowned gospel artistes.
“We managed to get exposure and soon after the festival were invited by Zimbabwean gospel singer who is also a former Joyous Celebration member Mkhululi Bhebhe to perform at the Ultimate Praise Experience in Bulawayo last year.
“We also received invites to perform in various churches in Gwanda. This is the start of many great things we hope to achieve. From here our aim is to gain more recognition and participate in many more festivals and shows,” he said.
Dale said plans were underway to form a Hybrid Kids group that will cater for youngsters below 18 years in order to ensure continuity of the group.
He said they recorded a six track album titled Dust to Grace in 2016 and they planned to record another album this year.
Dale added that the group had managed to gain much popularity as they provided their audience with a unique praise and worship experience.
“When this group was formed its founders felt they had to bring a new touch to gospel music. Therefore they formed a group of youths who perform contemporary gospel music. In our music we fuse in different genres namely hip hop, house, afro jazz and sungura. Our motto is ‘beyond music’ which means we want to live that experience beyond music.
“We want people to worship God and at the same time feel entertained, happy and for them to enjoy our music.
“We started off as a praise and worship group but we are now a musical group. In our performances we also incorporate everyone in the audience by singing in different languages. We felt this was an effective way to minister to today’s community which is so diverse and complex,” he said.
Dale said they were pleased with the reception they got from their audience in Gwanda as they had shown so much love and support for their music.
He said they planned on marketing the group to ensure it gained more popularity across the country and beyond and it was their desire to share the stage and partner more local and international renowned gospel artistes.
However, Dale said funds remained a hindrance to them as the group was self-funded.
“We are facing financial challenges as the group is self funded. This makes it difficult for us to market ourselves as much as we want or to go for tours. We are still trying to raise funds for a PA system and we don’t have a venue for rehearsals. We appeal to well-wishers that can fund our operations as we seek to minister through music.
“We have a potential of being the best youthful gospel group in the country and to become trendsetters if we can access the necessary resources. As a group we wish to minister and perform in a lot of platforms and places,” he said.
Dale said the group will be holding auditions for vocalists and band members end of this month and early next month in a bid to boost the group. He said they selected their members based on their vocal ability.
The group which has 22 members aged between 18 and 30 years was founded by Tatenda Nyoni and Nelson Chishindi in 2013.
Dale said members of the group were from various churches namely AFM Church, Lutheran, Baptists, Brethren in Christ Church, Victor Kingdom Life and Zaoga.
He said the group’s name Hybrid meant fusion, which meant it had fused in members from various churches in its composition. — @DubeMatutu