Gregory Gondwe, Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

How long should musicians play on stage?

‘When you walk on stage you cannot walk off unless there is nothing left to give’ this is according to Brian Roemmele, an alchemist and metaphysian.

This is exactly supposed to be the case when our musicians conduct live performances.
I live just behind Motel Paradise which happens to be the common venue for musicians. Almost on monthly basis or whenever there is public holiday, Entertainers Promotion of Jai and Tonderai Banda line up a few artists that perform throughout the night and only stop at dawn.

One fallen musical great once said standard performance duration for professional live bands is 45 minutes. Live band performances are thus sold or bought in 45 minutes sets. If an artist plays for 90 minutes he/she gets $ for two sets.

Now for a reviewer and critic like me I have a problem yes, when an artist will play from 11PM to 5AM but if that’s what they have announced will be the duration of their act, then I have a very big problem when it is not done honestly.

I know that some artist is aware that they cannot last a mile; if indeed they play more than 45 minutes and the promoters are also aware of the same that’s why you will find a list like that of Police Orchestra, DNA, Sir Patricks, Anthony Makondetsa and the Black Missionaries and all their supporting cast.

Most of the times the indication is that the shows will commence from 8PM but most of the times it starts at 11PM meaning by 4 or 5 AM at least six hours of play has passed which if you base it on standard performance time, this would be a raw deal.

One other aspect is that do the artists know how much they should be out there performing?

I have seen that locally artists are neither aware of this not the need to protect their voices no wonder a few years down the road what used to be their golden voice is now replaced by some un-recognisably croaky, gruffly throaty, and guttural voice that takes away the artist’s mettle to either record more or perform.

Because naturally our bodies are not meant to overstretch some acts arts will resort to what they consider as performance enhancing substance like alcohol and drugs which in turn are taxing as they compromise the voice of musicians; that same voice that catapulted them to stardom turn them into laughing stocks once it is distorted.

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