Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

When Nigeria invades Malawi

I am not even in doubt; we are musically under heavy attack from Nigerians. All, if not most, vehicles in public transport system have the dominance of Nigerian music.

There have been funny names and titles from this West African country where musical artists have come on the scene and left the local music lovers none-the-wiser.

It all started with artists like D'banj real name ‘Dapo Daniel Oyebanjo’ Nigeria’s pop duo, P-Square of Peter and Paul Okoye as well as Flavour (Chinedu Okoli) it was more like one on those once off thing.

But lately with the mergence on the scene of more Naija artists, as they call it there, like Mcgalaxy with tracks like 'Skeme', Udoka Chigozie Oku a.k.a Selebobo who has featured J. Matin in a remix track called ‘Yoyo’.

There is also Enetimi Alfred Odom better known by his stage name Timaya who has done a track famously known as ‘Shake your Bum Bum’, Nwanchukwu Ozioko, (a.k.a Vast) is one half of the popular singing duo, Bracket whose other member is Obumneme Ali a.k.a. Smash. Ayodeji Ibrahim Balogun known by his stage name Wizkid

Of all the names above one that seem to have taken control is the son of a Billionaire business magnet David Adedeji Adeleke popularly called Davido with tracks like Skelewu, Aye, and Gobe which are all over places that use music in Malawi, of course except Churches but not Christian weddings.

The Nigerian beat has become the heart beat of most entertainment activities in Malawi and their music were popularised by sound tracks in the films.

Of course Shemu Joya has tried to use local music by Agorroso in his films Seasons of Life and The Last Fishing Boat but what I am talking about is having a group of musical compatriots who would do music that will have a recognisable element to be referred to as Nigerian genre for example.

In a country like Malawi, you will have San B coming up with his own thing and calls it ‘Honjo’ and Atumwi will call theirs ‘Sendeza’. The African Representatives to the 2008 World Music Crossroads festival, the Boys from Mzuzu ‘The Body, Mind and Soul’ will call theirs ‘Voodoojazz’. Tay Grin, Nyau Music.

When Malawians musicians claim that they have come up with their own genre, are they fair to themselves?

Ben Mankhamba has tried to do a fusion of traditional dances with western instruments and called it Beni, Mwinoghe, Vimbudza. You see, our quest for a fixed and well established Malawian genre, has been tedious at times; the other day Lucius Banda told us that we were there with his ‘Zulu Woman’ beat.

Edgar and Davis thought a beat like ‘Kale-Kale’ was it; so were the sounds that emerged from the Lhomwe belt of the likes of Alan Namoko and Chimvu River Jazz Band and Michael Mukhito Phiri. Wambali Mkandawire has never called what he plays anything else other than African Jazz whatever this means.

Peter Mawanga and a certain sector of the industry believe he has cracked the elusive code to establish the much sort after Malawian genre with his type of music; but the response has only fascinated the ear of those that can read music.

Daniel Kachamba and his brother Macdonald are said to have been playing ‘Kwera’ music which musical historians claim was born right here in Malawi during the Ndiche Mwalare/Alick Nkhata days.

They claim when Malawians were descending down South Africa in the 1940/50s they took with them the ‘Kwera’ music which the South Africans took as their own and perfected it and became a springboard that has helped them established different genres that are still recognizable as South African.

Now when you hear Ademwiche by Fikisa you do not even want to be told that what you are listening to is a Malawian beat even with the presence of modern instrumentation.

This is clear that this is a traditional beat. But like a chewed bubblegum, where is it?

This is an argument I have ever made in the past, but point here today is why Nigerian music has taken control of all our entertainment joints.

Why is it that when it ripples within your earshot it is easily recognisable as Nigerian music?


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