Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Friday, December 7, 2012

Symon & Kendall Factor


Nyemba-nyemba is the track that catapulted Symon Limbie Kamlaka and Kendall Kamwendo to musical fame. This compelled them to settle for food and eating themes in their music.
Rightly so, their latest production this week ‘Nkhwiko’ cycles around this theme as well. Nkhwiko which is the oesophagus through which becomes part of the alimentary canal where food passes is interestingly the title track of the album. Imagine!
You might think there is a serious message to this, but nope, as the track merely tells the oesophagus to get ready as it will experience better food passing through it down into the stomach.
Quality is oozing from their DVD production which I have just bought, with a well designed cover. The DVD is of utmost quality for its better parts and at least of medium quality in other pictures.
One can build an opinion regarding how they have approached production because even if you have not seen it yet, but you have ever watched their past works, you would easily explain how you think has been the production.
Obviously, you will talk of a village set-up which is also the case in this particular video.
Symon and Kendall came on the music scene on their own terms and their style is unequalled because it is only unique to them, whether it is musically impressive or not is another subject for another day.
What has been clear is the steadfast growth they are musically achieving. On the strength of my observation of their music career, without trying to establish further, what else they are doing to earn a living, I might as well say they have succeeded a lot.
Unlike their music compatriots within our borders, they have seen to be much organised, where they have managed to put together a band from the Capital Lilongwe that keeps touring across the country. You can appreciate further the band equipment and even the vehicles that they have accumulated which they use for their tours. 
This success is also epitomized in their latest album where you can see how big they invest in their music video recordings. You can also tell by their latest appearance. On a lighter moment, you remember that skinny Symon with ‘Duntu Kendall’. All this is now gone and now we have two Duntus in Symon and Kendall.
But seriously their success can also be seen with their capability to manage to convince Group Village Heads to involve the whole villages in their music production.
This is not all, at one village they even organised a mock wedding. If you look at the kind of food prepared for the event – now in this case it was the music video recording event that shows how plenty food was prepared by very busy women – signifying the seriousness attached to their music.
The music videos in the Nkhwiko DVD, to say the least, will make you lose your lungs to laughter.  
There is a track ‘Nionzanga’ in which they reduced their fellow comedian musician Anne Matumbi to an act that completed their recording their track to an extent of making him crouch outside the cage that keeps an old lion at the Lilongwe Nature Sanctuary.
Just to show how they don’t always believe in serious stuff in their lyrical content this track is merely in the album to make fun of Matumbi.
I would really do injustice if I am to describe all what is contained in the ten music videos in the DVD which is to say – if you are a genuine music collector with a passion to see Malawi music industry grow, then this is ‘a must have’ through purchasing of the DVD copy not promotion of piracy.
As Kamlaka is saying in the DVD indeed good things come with good preparations and this is why he says they had to prepare well before coming up with the latest musical album. He acknowledges that releasing albums every six months compromises on quality and this why they had to take their time.
Kendall thinks the project is a success, but is quick to point out that what remains is the feedback from the consumers.
With such effort and huge investment, you cannot really fault Symon when he is warning pirates. He says they are being hurt much by piracy and they have devised a plan to make sure that whoever copies their music and videos should be punished severely.
Perhaps this is why they also put together what they call Music development Institute (MID) which its initial task was to fight piracy. The DVD also includes a track under MID done in collaboration with Evance Meleka.
If you like a combination of comedy and music like what the late Kennedy ‘Madolo’ Ndoya used to churn out, then perhaps we have a very advanced version of a combination of comedy and music in full package when it comes to Symon and Kendall and with the latest release of their ‘Nkhwiko’ may be its time you equally treated your Nkhwiko to some throaty laughter.
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

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