Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Revelation according to Haxi Momba

Haxi Momba arrived on the musical scene with Chibvumbulutso Volume 1, a debut album which had a hit track ‘Kufa Safelana’.
No one gave him any chance of continuity; more so because most of the songs in the album were shameful replete of imitation of either Burning Spear or Joseph ‘Culture’ Hills.  
The more the tongues wagged about how short the future held for his musical career, the more the albums kept coming from Haxi Momba who started calling himself Prophet long before the later day prophets that have littered our markets and conference halls.
Now his latest twelve-track-album is unmistakably called Chibvumbulutso Volume 5.
This is a pattern first seen in the country when Evison Matafale announced that all his albums will be called Kuimba 1 and so on and so forth. The Black Missionaries have lived the Matafale dream as they are now about to release another Kuimba sequel.
For six minutes 24 seconds Haxi Momba acknowledges the doubt that people had cast over his career and declares in the first track that there is no turning back in ‘Sitibwelera’.
He then differs with the common message his mentor Burning Spear sings about repatriation to Africa. Haxi says he wants to visit Jamaica instead, but he explains that the more reason he wants to journey there is because it is the roots of reggae music although he concedes that of course their [Jamaicans] root is in Africa.
Then he decided to do a reggae rendition of the old ‘Bambo A Tereza’ – track done by the Roots – which he says had to seek permission from the copyright holders to do it. To do justice to this one, you only have to listen to it.
The love piece in the track ‘Zonse ndi Zako’ is a word of encouragement from a lover who has been dating a partner for years but seems there is no end in sight to wedlock. Track number six in the album called ‘Is this the way’ is an equally love track which exposes the other weakness by our artists when doing English tracks. Momba repeatedly sings about ‘Love’ as ‘Rove’ as he calls on a woman ‘Come and ‘Rove’ me’.
Just like many a Rastafarian Jamaican artist have sang about Zion Train as a sign that is used to explain the need to do good for the sake of salvation, Haxi Momba here attempts to show his love for Rastafarie ‘Livity’ which he seems unwilling to declare without looking above his shoulders.
Momba’s musical journey from Chibvumbulutso Volume 1 to Chibvumbulutso Volume 5 reminds me of what I once said when Gift Fumulani, the late, had just released his album ‘Mphamvu Yake Mulungu’.
I remember to have called the album a Confluence of Emotions where I observed that this was one such music album that was more revealing, I think it is revealing considering that to me it kind of presented itself as Fumulani’s personal statement where he depicted himself as a man whose mind was still searching for a right spiritual sanctuary.
I remember to have intoned that ‘Mphamvu Yake Mulungu’ was an interface of intercession mingled in a psycho-religious dilemma; spiritual declaration interlocked with an expression of love devotion.
Back to Momba, perhaps my favourite track is the religious piece ‘Wan’kanitsitsa’ where he zigzags between Rastafarie following and Christianity where he is professing the need to follow Jesus Christ, a departure from Rastafarie teaching that encourages faithfuls to follow his Imperial Majesty, Emperor Haile Sellassie who they say is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. The following track ‘Usalire’ he even talks of how Jesus was crucified on the cross to save people from sin.
This is instantly shot down in track number 11 ‘Sikuchenjela’ when he chants “Conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah, His Imperial Majesty” in the opening of the track; which has some drumming pounding taking after the ‘Nyayabhingi Chant’. In the same, nevertheless he also talks about the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Momba’s religious struggle is not the element that has compelled me to fall for the ‘Wan’kanitsitsa’ track, but it is rather the melodious instrumentation as well as the vocals of the track that I find captivating. The same would also fall in the same description for track number 10 titled ‘Malawi’. The track is encouraging peaceful co-existence with a beautiful reggae colour.
If you have never fallen for Haxi Momba don’t waste time trying to sample this one, because it is a purely Haxi Momba album like has been the case with his 4 previous albums.
While listening to the album makes you as equally confused as Haxi Momba himself with his search for a proper religious sanctuary, he still does not leave room to judge him on whether this is an improvement from his previous works or just merely continuation of the same.
Track number 12, the last in the album called “Haxi reggae music” is a mere show-off track where he only mentions colleagues who are locally into reggae and a few Jamaicans who are masters of the genre.
Unlike in the past cover designs, Chibvumbulutso Volume 5 is a gigantic shift from the previous work and unlike the image of Momba which was sporting artificial braids to look like dreadlocks, this time round he has natural dreadlocks.

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