Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Friday, 6 January 2012

Re-looking the 2011 Musical Vibes


I should start with greetings for the New Year which is just a few hours away. Starting from last week, I took you back on the journey of 2011 where the Pen drummed out a number of issues regarding our industry.
I want us to part with 2011 by continuing looking at a few selected pieces that we talked about in the year gliding towards the last line.
In the 2011 I asked a question: “Where are the Lady Secular Musicians?”
I argued that if you were to point out at a legendary lady musician in the country, who is into secular music, would you do that at the drop of a hat?
I confessed that I only know Amina Tepatepa, Emma Masauko, Wendy Harawa, Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma, and Beatrice Kamwendo as some of the names that have hogged the limelight and then either disappeared completely and got stuck in the peripherals.
I asked a question why we have not done something as a country about the female folks that have talent in music but cannot blossom due to lack of suitable environment.
I proposed that Musician Association of Malawi (MAM) put in place a deliberate policy where female musicians can stand side by side with the Skeffa Chimotos of this world or even a lady Lucius Banda.
It is so bad that most of the women musicians are dominating the gospel arena where they survive by the faith of such religious following other than sheer talent and creativity. While worrying about the absence of female musicians in the music cycle I was aware of the challenges in the industry as a whole when I also talked about “Investing in Music Entertainment”.
At that time I had the opportunity to visit Kenya where I lost my breath with the spirit of investing in entertainment in general and music in particular that I found fascinating here in East Africa.
For some time, the East African Breweries Limited has been carrying out competition for musicians in the Eastern African Region called Tusker Project Fame – a reality Television competition, which was at a value of 1 billion Kenyan shillings which is an equivalent of 12.8 million US dollars which is about 1.92 billion kwacha. All this money invested in music, imagine!
I was wondering why in Malawi it is not the case as out there and I challenged the private sector to try investing in music and ask me later if they would have missed the target. It is on the same premise that I also asked a question: “Where is Carlsberg in Music?”
I argued that if anything, Carlsberg Breweries limited should have been the main player in the country’s music industry.
Look at how many crates of beer will sell if musicians are performing, look at the blaring sound that is a dominant fixture in all beer selling spots. Do we need to tell the marketing gurus at the breweries company of the need to give back to musicians?
For two years running now, South African Breweries has been funding Lucius Banda’s trips to perform in that country. This year too, Lucius Banda will perform alongside Lulu in Johannesburg and Durban. But where was our own Carlsberg Company?
2011 turned to be so cruel in other aspects what with when I wrote about how “Death Stabbed Music on Mwanyama?”
Towards the month-end of December 2010, Lovemore Mwanyama was the one that the media quoted when Skeffa Chimoto, the current top selling musician escaped death in a road accident.
Mwanyama is the one who explained to the media that Skeffa and his band Real Sounds were en-route to Lilongwe from Salima when the vehicle they were travelling in had a tyre burst.
Lovemore Mwanyama was speaking as Skeffa’s Manager then.
Now, this year, towards the end of September, Skeffa took up the task of informing the media that unlike him, Mwanyama never survived a road accident and died at the Kamuzu Central Hospital. Road accident was also the way that made us to “Shed tears for Ken ‘7yrs’ Siyabu.”
Ken Siyabu was master in music video productions and his contribution to the industry is so immense that I still run short of words to describe the multitalented Ken.  
In fact his hands were what made Lucius Banda videos captivating in the last four or so years including his latest album Life.
Soon after its release the pen drummed here about “Lucius Banda’s Life in 1 Hour 19 Minutes”.
Going by the overwhelming feedback I got after this article, I realize it is the number one article for 2011 because of how it generated interest from the readers, although given chance; my pick would have been different.
In that write-up I started w ‘One hour and 19 Minutes’ is the time that it takes one to listen to Lucius Banda’s latest album from the first track ‘Okondedwa’ throughout the other tracks to the last one, which is the title track ‘LIFE’ that has awaken the censorship board bull dogs.
Listening to the 15 tracks, one would still be left with the same Lucius Banda aftertaste.
Before I talk about the choice of genre in this aspect, let’s look at the other genres in the other tracks ‘Wadwalika’ which features Moses Makawa, for example. This one as expected is taking after ‘Kalata Yachiwiri’ which he featured Thomas Chibade.
I said in this track, Lucius’ complete departure of what we know of him makes you think the song should be ‘Wadwalika’ by Moses Makawa featuring Lucius Banda.
I wish you a prosperous 2012 which is full of musical Promises. Watch this space.
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

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