Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Saturday, 16 February 2013

2012’s Best Artists


For one reason or the other, people, radio stations, entertainment writers, bar owners, music labels and music studios will have their own best acts in the year 2012. Drumming Pen has also its best artists of the season.
2012 Best Musician
Skeffa Chimoto never relented in his approach to court quality in his performance in 2012. In fact he continued from where he had stopped in 2011 and having decided not to release a new album in 2012, he released a DVD for an album that followed a chart bursting ‘Nabola Moyo’ which had proven to be a flop.
The DVD titled ‘Tisawanyoze’, which includes a track produced in Zambia called ‘Tikondane’ bear the same name of the album that flopped. This act alone did magic as it helped to popularise his music in Zambia and this album in Malawi.
His stage work remained focused earning himself a nickname ‘Jamming Machine’ from his band members and his fans.
Skeffa also received special recognition from the Zambian government which was swept off its feet by his talent. It then initiated project through their Police service to ensure that the General elections that led to the elevation of Opposition leader Michael Sata to the office of the President be done in a free and fair manner and without electoral violence.
Skeffa also remained professional in the year, unlike most of our musicians who are always topping the chart in all sorts of ugly things like boozing, womanising, and unnecessary controversy, Skeffa steered away from unnecessary tittle-tattle.
He is Drumming Pen’s best musician in 2012.
2012 Best Band
Leading the list of the best bands in 2012 is ‘The Real Sounds’ of Skeffa Chimoto, not surprisingly.
The band coordinated well with Skeffa; Evaristo Chimoto and Isaiah Foss on the bass guitar, Yohane Kachambo on the lead guitar, Mtunduwatha Thom and Luswayo Palinji on the keyboards as well as Thomas Phiri and Milward Chimoto as backing vocalists took the year by the horn and conquered all.
Wherever the band stepped in the year, they mesmerised patrons as they never gave out half-baked performances.
2012 Best Gospel Act
Without blinking I will say with a straight face that female-voiced Thoko Katimba carried the year. It is not only me who has this conclusion but even the internationally acclaimed Kora Awards organisers shared the same view and they nominated his track for one spot in their 2012 awards.
A year before, Thoko was always in the news for wrong reasons.  He was rocked in debts scandals that led to his arrest in Mchinji. Then he was embroidered in allegations that he had obtained K470, 000 by false pretence from radio personality Fredrick Mkula.
But come 2012, Katimba emerged out strong and he has managed to erase all the bad adjectives that were used to describe him and replaced with better ones that have won him back the hearts of music lovers.
2012 Best Urban Act
There is always going to be an ongoing argument on whether it was Maskal or Piksy who was the best urban artist in 2012.
Going by what I saw during the Malawi – Zambia showdown towards the end of the year at Robins Park, I would not hesitate to settle for Piksy.
But when you look at the maturity approach between the two artists, Maskal is too much ahead in the lyrical mellowness. More so because he has transcended the generation barriers where more adults will spend time listening to Maskal than they would to Piksy whose appeal is generally to the youth. Where Maskal beat Piksy again is that even for the youth patrons, he also had a huge influence and following.
2012 Best Hidden Band
Ben Michael Mankhamba’s The Zig-Zaggers Band and The Jena Sisters is one music act that in the year almost went into hibernation.
Perhaps the explanation would be in the fact that the award-winning Mankhamba, who is a traditional leader in Lilongwe, went to Germany to raise funds for his goodwill cultural exploits and a film on unsafe motherhood and orphanhood in rural parts of Malawi.
Perhaps he sensed that he had left the year go past without making much impact that in November he did two things. The first thing, he was busy with his video camera, filming the Matafale Memorial Show in Chileka and secondly he released a single track ‘Kadona. Nevertheless, he disappeared together with his band from the scene.
But this did not offer local patrons the much needed stage works which the outfit has mastered and is way ahead of many that frequent dancing halls across the country.
It is my sincere hope that in the 2013, the best of the best shall prevail, and the drumming pen wishes you the best of success. Compliments of the new season!
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

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