Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Monday, August 1, 2011

When Mutharika Honours Musicians Part II

Last week, we stopped a process where we were appreciating the reasons that 8 musicians were honoured during the Independence Anniversary Celebrations in Mzuzu on July 6. We stopped while looking at Joseph Nkasa.
Another Principal Achiever is the Late Mr. Michael Fredrick Paul Sauka.
I think this honour has come too late considering that even on the day that Mutharika was sworn in, it was this Sauka-composed-national anthem that was performed several times.
It is also debatable whether or not Sauka deserved a Principal Achiever Honour or needed a Grand Achiever accolade.
But the answers would be gotten, perhaps in the short citation that accompanied the honour.
He was born 1934 and in his life time he showed a unique talent both as a composer and pianist.
He played music which became a big part of his life as it helped him emerge as one of the greatest musicians in the early 1960’s.
His musical exploits include composing the Malawi National Anthem, Mulungu Dalitsani Malawi Oh God Bless Malawi, which was chosen through a stiff and highly competitive process involving Malawian and non-Malawian composers.
He also pioneered the formation of the then renowned Blantyre City Recreation Fine and Performing arts group besides composing numerous pieces for the MBC Band and Limbe Cathedral Choir.
Sauka also used the performing arts group, to undertake development and health outreach mobilization programmes. He is also honoured for his ability to balance singing and teaching artists in music literacy and performance, thereby advancing his knowledge of music to the next generation.
Then there came another Late, Assistant superintendent Jordan Jika who was also honoured as a Principal Achiever for serving with honour integrity as a professional musician during the thirty-eight year period he served in the Malawi Police Force between 1951 and 1989.
He is the founding member of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Band besides composing music still being played by the Malawi Police Band.
He served professionally for Police Band Branch before and after independence; and was awarded Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
Equally another man in Jika’s shoes is the late father to Vice President Joyce Banda who is no stranger on these pages who retired as Assistant Superintendent Gray John Stewart Mtila. He was also decorated with a Principal Achiever honour.
Mtila joined the Nyasaland Police Force in 1946 and rose through the ranks until his retirement in 1980 and during his service he attended a course at the Associated Board of School of Music in the United Kingdom.
The citations described him as a popular person regarded as one of the best Drum Majors in his time.
He Composed music still being played by the Malawi Police Band and is said to have served professionally in both the Nyasaland Police Band and the Malawi Police Force Band Sections.
Assistant Superintendent Mtila received the Malawi Independence Medal in 1965, the Malawi Republic Medal in 1966) and Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1968.
The one who got a low rank honour with a Senior Achiever is the song bird Ethel Kamwendo Banda a Musician who started her music career in 1980 when she joined her brothers and Sister Beatrice in Kamwendo Brothers Band. The citations says this was a very popular band at wedding and social events
She is honoured for surviving a male dominated secular music industry at challenging times besides being a great personality who arranges her stage choreography very well during performances.
She successfully switched from secular to gospel music artist in 1999 and has, since then, remained poplar and that she has been participating in outreach missions of the Living Waters international Church.
Her music receives acclaim both locally and internationally and this added up on the reasons that made her get the award.
I have deliberately brought forth, reasons that made our musicians to receive a legally provided for honours. I ask you readers and listeners of good music from our talented musicians that who else has been left out on the list of honours. I do not want to contest the reasons at this point.
Feedback : drummingpen@columnist.com

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