Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Friday, 30 August 2013

Bequeathing Mafunyeta objet d'art

 Patrick Magalasi – A.K.A Mafunyeta – started his short journey on March 27, 1988, before succumbing to an asthmatic attack on August 11, 2013.
I don’t need to say how young he has died, considering that despite making such a huge impact amongst his peers he only has one single album to his name.
Upon his death, there has been debate in different forums arguing that, if anything, he has to be mourned because any loss of human life is a very painfully mournful experience and not because he was a musical act worthy crying for. 
Others even called him a joke of the music industry only equalling or below the skills stratum of the late Kennedy Ndoya whose showbiz name was Madolo.
I listen to a lot of music, not because I write about music over here, but because in my life, music and books have fascinated me above everything else.
I have my number one music as well as top ten favourite artists. Mafunyeta is not amongst my top ten artists but this cannot take away the fact that he deserves my respect.

As I argued elsewhere, music magnetism, sometimes behaves like love between man and a woman, where they say ‘Beauty Lies in The Eyes of The Beholder’ …
And just like others love different artists, they must know, Mafunyeta had a following and his capabilities appealed to them just as the talent of those artists that people love.
I know some artists are indeed a joke, but for the sake of respect to those that love such artists as well as the artists themselves, I would not rush to describe them and their low standard toils as Mediocre.

Mahatma Gandhi said he respected other people’s beliefs in order to appreciate his Buddhism. Likewise, I think there is supposed to be a measure of some respect towards some efforts in arts for us to be able to satisfactorily enjoy what we like.
We are able to appreciate how well or bad the artists we love are because we are able to compare them with what we despise.

I was privileged to have patronized at least two of Mafunyeta’s shows and I happen to still have kept the toils that he produced where there are the two tracks that became popular.

I appreciate Mafunyeta’s efforts because, his came from a deep imaginative abyss in the psyche, which is rarely touched in a human being’s life time.

Many people have rare talent but they may or die before using, exploring or even discovering it… Mafunyeta stumbled unto it that’s why he is even subject of our debate today.

Mafunyeta used a heavy and complete dancehall sound-set which he
affixed with lyrics in the manner that has made names like Yellow Man,
Tappa Zukie, Ripton Hilton (Eeek-a-Mouse)  or Snoopy Doggy, Busta
Rhymes etc reach as far this end as Malawi.

Now that he is dead, I have been thinking as to whom he had bequeathed his work of art.
Some while ago I wrote right here of the coincidence that led me to a discovery of dancehall music done by Malawian youth under the banner of ‘Mabilinganya Empire’.
I have now learnt that Mafunyeta was part of the brains behind the creation of the Mabilinganya - chiChewa word for eggplants - which has artists playing under the banner showing extreme talent. Their videos are also artistically done that they defy belief.
Artists under the empire did equally Mafunyeta-like-themed-tracks like ‘Kamete Tsitsi’ – a track which has a video indicating that it was done by two artists known by their showbiz names, ‘Mad Doctor’ and ‘Khobaliro’.
Under the same Mabiringanya Empire banner there is a track called ‘Facebook’ by Mafunyeta
When you listen to all these tracks, plus many more that I have not mentioned here, like one called ‘Simple Life’, you will discover that dancehall element in all these tracks is very evident and the artists involved are very talented. This talent is not only in the way the music is produced, but even in its lyrical content.
One might therefore be tempted to believe that with the creation of the empire, Mafunyeta created ‘unwritten will’ that bequeathed all his wealth to Mabilinganya.
However, on second thought, you will realise that Patrick Magalasi came from nowhere and shook the roots of Malawi’s music height not only in the way he was doing his dancehall, but in the manner he claimed a spot as a rhymester, crazy at that, as he could talk through some areas in his tracks while ensuring that the words stuck in your head.
Iwe ndi ka engelo...umawoneka bwino ukavala kamalaya kako ka yelo... 
He did collaboration with Sally Nyundo on a track called ‘She is Hot’ which is also a local dancehall magnum opus.  
This kind of talent is one he has left no one that even when my fellow ‘Monday Reviewers’ will be busy discrediting Mafunyeta’s toils I still maintain that if he were a joke, then he was a perfect joke that left them jokes that will keep us entertained for a long time to come...
He used to call himself Maluli in all his tracks; I wished I had asked him what he meant. Nevertheless, Rest in Peace Maluli...
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