Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Monday, 8 October 2012

Lucius & Mablacks Who’s their King maker?
There is a belief out there that every time Lucius Banda or any member of the Black Missionaries coughs, radios and newspapers will rush there to write stories.
Of course this might be looked at as an exaggeration of highest intensity, but on second thought, you might be tempted to think that perhaps those who look at it from that way have a point.
This is stemming from the fact that there is just too much Lucius Banda and Black Missionaries (Mablacks) in the media than any other artist in this country.
The question hoist above as who really is the kingmaker of the two comes in on two points of query:
The first one is based on patronage that the two enjoys; and it is like a chicken and an egg enigma because the second one is the visibility the two enjoy through media exposure. What started first? Was the media attracted by their popularity or the populace got attracted by the media publicity?
Do these enjoy huge attendance at their live performances because of the vastly wide-spread publicity that is flashed by the media? Or they are simply put: Extremely good at what they do and in the end it has created magnetism that pulls them people.
Better sales would not be the best to advance a position that looks at this success based on how they fair on the market because at one point Mlaka Maliro and Phungu Joseph Nkasa were a notch above the rest in best selling.
But what is funny will be that when Mlaka Maliro decides to stop anything musical and join his wife in campaigning for parliamentary seat, none will bother following him up in the media.
It will take one cabinet minister who has gone down to help in campaigning to have him mentioned in the media albeit in passing.
Between releasing albums, Joseph Nkasa will not be heard until Lucius ropes him in for his live performances that we start hearing about him again; he is even offered space in the media for him to show that he has joined gospel music arena because he is angry with the fleeting success that is like trying to hold an aquarium fish with bare hands.
Lucius Banda and Mablacks would be left out of the line-up of musicians to perform at Lake of Stars, and the two would organise a show just near-by, and still pull some numbers, some even deserting the lake of Stars even after paying, just to be at the show?
Then there is this crazy tendency where when the two artists have played tonight and when the next show is the next day during the day and of course a different venue, besides the new patronage that averse the nocturnal performance turning up, the same people that attended the night show will still turn up for encore.
The question is still the same: are these people following the Blacks or Lucius because the media did the publicity just like they would do with any other artist or the journalists usually over do things when it is Lucius or Mablacks.
Perhaps another point to consider is that both The Black Missionaries and Lucius Banda have ever courted politics.
Evison Matafale the founder has made it difficult today, not to talk of Malawian reggae without mentioning his name much as we cannot talk of world Reggae without canonizing Bob Marley.
So far, Matafale is the only musician in Malawi to achieve a considerable stature by using a type of reggae whose fibrous lyrical content and vocal output has been so appearing to any normal conscience.
His mysterious death in the wee hours of Nov 27, 2002 at the age of 33 found that he had established himself already as a fastidious equal rights fighter, who like Tosh, had a personality and songs whose lyrical contents carried unquenchable sense of fury, cynicism, irony and both a poetic and direct nature.
The Rasta musician who only came on the lime light in 1998 when he released his first Album KUIMBA 1 singlehandedly struggled against the political system and eventually it is widely believed, he was crushed by the very political jaws when he stepped on some big political toes.
His death, therefore, caused pandemonium across the country’s social broad face and people accused government of having something to do with his death, after failing to accommodate his acidic truthfulness, presented in a sober probity.
Popular pressure left government no room forcing the president to institute investigations, which were to be carried out by a Human Rights Commission besides another presidential commission.
Lucius started it all with former President Bakili Muluzi before he won a parliamentary seat at a wrong time. At a time of his victory Bingu wa Mutharika also won presidential elections and took over from Muluzi.
Politics made sure that Lucius was not only removed from the parliamentary seat, but also got arrested in the process.
Remember, soon after his death, how millions of copies of Evison Matafale for his two albums were bought and run out; and more copies kept coming but could not meet the demand?
What about when Lucius was arrested? Did you see how his music sold like hot cakes?
Now who is the kingmaker for Lucius Banda and the Black Missionaries? Is it the media or the people?

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