Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Who can inherit Malawi Music?

Looking at the headline above one could be led to believe that what I am saying is that Malawian music is bereft. While I can or not compare it to a child who has parents that are either very poor, dead or careless to take care of it, I still have the conviction that somebody has to inherit our music.
What has brought these thoughts to me is how France adopted music of the Democratic Republic of Congo formerly Zaire and put it to stardom.
Congolese music has been given a big boost by the French showbiz companies or personnel who have promoted groups or individual Congolese musicians thereby creating a special seat amongst the elites in as far as the world music summit is concerned.
By extension, several countries have their media, completely dedicating airtime or space to DRC music and musicians.
Take for example the programme called ‘Ambiance Congo’ which is a radio programme entirely devoting it’s time to such music on WRIR 97.3 FM in Richmond, Virginia, USA. Even the US National Public Radio (NPR), which runs Top 10 African Music albums of the year, has the dominant sound coming from the Congolese music.
Mbokamosika is a French blog that only talks about Congolese Music including loading music from old and famous Congolese artists like the all time great Leon Bukusa while other blogs like the Matsuli Music has Franco Luambo Makiadi revered as the King of Congolese Rhumba dictating terms.
Now most Congolese musicians have become rich because they have been well managed by their French managers and their music professionally distributed leading to a steady income or hitting instant gold depending on the attractiveness of their wares.
They also have international visibility which as a singing nation ourselves, [or should it be a musical nation] we badly need.
But since their success in music is traced down to their colonial masters, maybe we have all the reasons to blame the British for having failed us in this respect.
In the first place, the French assimilation policy in all the countries they colonised to an extent helped such countries in all aspects of life including arts especially music.
While the British were busy being nauseated with how we were as a people, since they were busy hiding from our African odour from their fastidious noses they missed our artistic talents and therefore they could not promote it in any way.
The French realised this and they came to open the French Cultural Centre, which to an extent has helped our musicians. MP Aaron Sangala and Sally Nyundo have at least benefited from this arrangement.
However, looking at how still backward we are as musical nation, can please someone adopt us and manage our music? We seem not to have the capacity to do it ourselves.

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