Cry Our Beloved Alleluya Band

Everyone who is not aware of our modern music history, I mean history of digital music, will better be told from the beginning. The beginning therefore will be telling a different story if it does not start from Alleluya Band.
You know, it is not as if there were no bands that used to play before the multiparty dispensation; there were bands like the Likhubula Dance Band, which was backing Robert Fumulani, there were also Police Orchestra, the MBC Band and the Chichiri Queens and uncountable local artist.
There was also talent within the country but there was no knowledge of how one could put his talent into musical product through a recording studio.
Bands used to go to one and only place where the Malawian music was played and therefore this is where they used to listen to their music and for that reason, they knew that bands used to record there because there was nowhere else and this was at the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation MBC studios.
The music was also being recorded merely for MBC airplay because it was being stored on reels, which was something that could not be taken on the market for sale.
At least it was only the emergence on the scene of Alleluya Banda from Balaka, led by the agile guitarist hands of Sir. Paul Banda, that led people to realise several things about what can happen with music.
They appreciated that independent studios can record elsewhere other than the MBC studios alone. They discerned that local music performed by local artists could also be put in a cassette and be made available for the take of those with money to, to enjoy it in the comfort of their homes.
There was a time when the sound that the pen once emitted from the drum was to the effect that whether one likes it or not Sir. Paul Banda ‘revolutionarised’ Malawi music.
This was the case because of this history and for Bwana Banda to achieve all his deserving accolades it was because he used Alleluya Band to launch his decorated musical career.
Lucious Banda needs no introduction to the world of music from these parts; he has marked his name; no, he has engraved his name in the hall of fame.
All these can trace their history to Alleluya Band. Then there is the list of the country’s most accomplished artists, you mention artists like Charles Sinetre, Coss Chiwalo, Isaac Liwotcha, Rod Valamanja, Paul Subiri, che Kachingwe, and the list is just too long to fill the whole page with names.
However, one person that also features highly on this list is Foster Chimangafisi, Sinetre and Foster are two famous Alleluya products and one of the valuable musical artefact that bought them fame is the ‘Chimangafisi Dollar’ album and track.
‘Tipange yathu Dollar, Chimangafisi Dollar, Tisamavutike ndikumadzitsaka’. This is the chorus line of the track and remembering it now makes me start thinking; did we miss something in the song? Did it have a hidden meaning that we are so daft and failed to notice?
Were the two talent endowed musicians clearly telling us that Alleluya Band was just attractive from the outside and therefore the best way to get money was to have their own currency?
The story that Foster Chimangafisi was diagnosed with Tuberculosis and he is now bedridden in a hospital bed where he is suffering financial crisis because Alleluya Band cannot do enough, speaks volumes of how troubled our music industry is.
Do you remember how Ada Manda fought both his disease and poverty in Nkhatabay until he died? What about Stonard Lungu, do you remember how he was forced to still look for funds even in his ailing state?
Many questions arise from this and effort to find answers gives us a number of issues to ponder on deeply.
The first one is why is it that it is Foster Chimangafisi, out of the accomplished list that seems to be suffering in this manner? While we sympathise with Chimangafisi for having fallen to the exploitative means of a church managed secular band, we also have to answer the question above.
Does he fall in the category of artists who live for today. Our musicians are usually a sorry tale; they perform in all places and find little monies and unfortunately, they do not have any sense of saving.
One might argue that they do not make enough to save anything at all. However, how is it that some that have come through the rank and file of the band have progressed so gloriously?
It is a shame that a band like Alleluya on whose apparel, uncountable medallion for their unsurpassed musical achievement are pinned, should be paying its musicians K1500 a month.
One might wonder, if this is the money they are getting now, how much Lucious or Paul was carting home.
However, while we are at this, did Mr. Chimangafisi do enough to ensure that things do not come to this state? I beseech all musicians that while we sympathise with Chimangafisi let him be our source of lesson to prepare for tomorrow.



Unmarked Grave of Mc Ewen Manda

The 30th June of this year, was business as usual to most people involved in music. The Musicians Association of Malawi minded its business save for its zone call point person in the name of Lanz Nkhata. The media that deals with music saw nothing wrong with this day.
However, Malawi lost on this day, a very young man Mc Ewen Manda, whose many nicknames bestowed on him by his fans; speak volumes of how mesmerised musical lovers as well as artists themselves were with his unmatched talent on a drum set.
He answered to nicknames like ‘Shambumbu’, ‘Mr. Brown’ and ‘Bongo Tchaka’ and despised all ridicule by responding with his drum beating antics.
At his 28, McEwen Manda, who was a drummer in the band The Body, Mind and Soul’ led by Dave Luhanga fondly known in showbiz cycles as ‘The Street Rat’, achieved so much. So much, that achievements of other artists that started long before him pales into triviality.
The drumming pen, which is closer to fellows on drum set as well as on percussion than it is to anyone else playing any other musical instrument, wishes to pay tribute to the talented ‘Shambumbu’.
Street Rat says he first met the young Manda at St. Peters Primary School and by providence; they were sitting on the same desk, which made them notorious to teachers because every time a teacher taking charge of their classroom moved an inch away from it, they would turn the room into a musical entertainment haven.
As both would do later in the years, the young man would turn the desks into drum sets while the rat would vocalise along the thumping of the desks to produce music that would enthuse fellow pupils at the expense of their studies. The two parted ways in pursuant of better education only to meet again as members of Mzuzu’s Ghetto Souls in 2000.
While there, they participated in the music crossroads two times including in 2002 when they emerged regional champions before participating in the defunct Kuchekuche Music Competition in 2003 where they also won regional finals but tumbled at national finals.
Interestingly, Street Rat says at the Ghetto Souls he discovered that the soul moves music and while anybody else settled for anything they could lay their hands on when they disbanded, he clung to the soul, which he took to the music crossroads of 2004 under the name of ‘Souls of Ghetto’.
They kept their triumphant pulsation all the way but it went dim at the inter-regional festival at the French Cultural. This led to the disbandment of the group again, and all the artists scattered including McEwen who remained in Blantyre where he played with a number of musical groups including the Chosen Few.
Street Rat says he preserved the soul and brought it back to Mzuzu with which he set up a percussion Band with saxophones guitars etc, and with it they emerged the best acoustic band.
It must be said that McEwen left Blantyre and returned to Mzuzu where he followed the dictates of his weakness and drowned his soul into liquor and this forced the Street Rat to rescue him by taking him back into the band in 2006…
Now the band’s name was Body Mind and Soul mark the ‘soul’… in the name of the bands. The same year they joined Music Crossroads where they co-triumphed at national level with Alleluya II and went for the inter-regional in Zimbabwe where the Body, Mind and Soul won.
The prize was to tour Europe, the band had to undergo a yearlong preparation, and indeed, they departed in June of 2008 and toured 8 European countries that included Spain, Holland, Austria, Croatia, Belgium, UK, Ireland and Germany.
McEwen did very good, he was so petit in stature but had his own touch and finesse when put on a drum set and on the tour he left many a mouths agape. However, tragically, he was killed on 30th June close to Mzuzu stadium ironically the very place he had performed and sent many a souls spellbound.
A vehicle hit him and the maturing talent was nipped in the bud. Why he went unnoticed is the question I have always asked.
Was it because he played in a band that has so huge a name in Europe but so looked down upon in the country? Just a few weeks ago, Malawi hosted her annual fixture, musical crossroads. If you check in all the newspapers that wrote about the bands that performed there, you will not find the name Body, Mind and Soul that McEwen helped to formulate.
The question however, is not about The Body Mind and Soul. The question is on our artists resting place. I will never tire referring to the hero Michael Sauka whose widow pleaded that at least she wished someone had built a tomb for her fallen husband.
The unnoticed death of McEwen Manda is not an isolated case, many artists that have entertained us in their lives, and by Malawian standards a noble profession, considering that they gain nothing in terms of resources, should in the least be recognised and have their tombs have motifs that are recognizably heroic.

When Manganje becomes Malawian Beat

Others before me have wondered how much justice we offer our music genres like Ingoma, Manganje, Chioda, Tchopa, Likhuba, Minoghe, Masewe, Mchoma and the list could be endless.
UNESCO has so far recognised Malawi’s two traditional dances of Vimbuza and Gule wamkulu as protected heritage.
We have discussed about musicians calling the kind of music that they churn out as traditional music. Almost most of our renowned musicians at one time or the other have produced songs which are described as the traditional dances stated above.
I want us to look at the so-called songs and agree if indeed they are what they are described. Can indeed Manganje, which is a dance that uses a dancing pattern, two drums and clapping of hands for it to be produced use electrical equipment by contemporary artists, and be called the same.
The reason that Vimbuza Healing Dance and Gule wa mkulu have joined a number of dances across the globe in all member countries that subscribe to the ideals of UNSECO is to preserve the oral and intangible heritage of humankind.
What they are safeguarding is the knowledge, the values and the artistic intellectual behind its creation and this is done is line with supporting copyright and intellectual property so that those artists at the core of these products enjoy the fruit of their sweat.
What is perhaps more interesting is that when you look at a music genre like Pop or Rhythm and Blues or Jazz you will not hear it being called anything close to a dance.
While what we are saying here is that the kind of arrangement that is called Manganje is called a traditional dance and not traditional music, genres like pop or reggae are looked at differently as purely music.
The reasoning is simple but tough. While you will just have, the sentimental songs done by say ‘Beethoven’ appreciated because of how they are produced, as we know them today, our parents never invented any music genre without accompanying it with some choreographically designed pattern.
Alternatively, one may argue on what was starting first when our ancestors invented these artistic products. Were they inventing the dances first then music later as is the case now? Yes, now like when women want to compose a Chioda song for President Mutharika. They are not going to re-invent a type of dance and songs; they will only compose songs that will be performed in the Chioda dance.
The reason Gule wa Mkulu is also protected is not only for its pattern of drums that is emitted when performed or how nicely the lyrics are arranged. However, it is also for the other artistic aspect that goes with it that makes it so rich. How one spends time to carve a mask to be worn by a ‘Mbano’ or ‘Simon’ that has to look different from one to mask the face of the effeminate ‘Maria’.
The same can be said of Vimbuza. For the performer there has to be a headgear called ‘Njukula’, a necklace called ‘Mthiyi’, a flying whisk known as ‘Tchowa’ , leg wear called ‘Nyisi’, and waist wear called ‘Mangenjeza’ or ‘Mangwere’. Some of these wears also emit sound that complement the music.
The additional artefacts that go with the performance are one other aspect of art that makes these traditional dances so loaded.
Then there are those that will be playing the music, who will be using drums, hoe beating, clapping hands and actual singing, which has to take after a pattern that is in tandem with the dancing.
What it means here is that minus any of the mentioned bits and pieces the particular dance will be in complete.
It is therefore folly that one Mlaka Maliro should be saying he has produced a Manganje track or Billy Kaunda a Vimbuza song or Malume Bokosi a Tchopa number when all they have done is take after a pattern, which is devoid of all other necessities that make up a complete Manganje, Vimbuza and Tchopa performance respectively, for example.
We are a creative nation and we should not confuse what our contemporary performers are calling Vimbuza when we know what vimbuza entails. There has to be a proper name for ‘Chiterera’ when Phungu Joseph Nkasa releases a song he is calling a ‘Chiterera’ one.
This why Soul Chembezi has to tell us what he is singing and not tell us that he has three Manganje songs in his latest album, for example.
Our traditional dances are so rich, that we cannot allow anyone to start defacement of a heritage that has come from very far. If our artists have chosen to use modern instruments let what they play be in line with what is modern and let them call such products appropriate names.
Let the national dance troupes who will indeed give you what ‘Beni’ or ‘Manganje’ is be given room to deservedly be the ones calling their products as such. Otherwise, Manganje is Manganje when it is performed as Manganje and there need not be any shortcuts.

Music at Entertainment Joints

You have heard of Chez Ntemba in the Capital, Pa Stereo in Blantyre and Sport Cafe or Paris in Mzuzu. These places have been made famous because of not its beers, or prostitutes or revellers that patronise it; it has become famous not because of how majestic the infrastructure looks…
If you want to listen to latest songs around, you just have to visit these places. What are common in these joints are the larger-than-life speakers that threaten to force out your innards due to heaviness of sound that pound out of them.
There is ‘Mafunyeta’, a Youngman from Capital Lilongwe who has hit the musical scene with his ‘confused’ but populous music, especially one track ‘Yellow’ where he just storms and enthuses about a girl in yellow. There is also one track by a man calling himself ‘Lawi’ called ‘Amati andikawe’.
Do not be surprised; long before radio stations started playing these songs, I first heard them in one of these places.
If you must know, there are some revellers that will heavily patronise specific joints, specifically because of their knack for local latest music, musicians that are in their twilight have made it big somehow through these places.
Then there are live band performances from our very own local artists. Much as most of the artists play low quality music when performing live as compared to their studio productions, they still deserve some rewards befitting their toils.
Lately, other artists are getting to put their price on the table before they can be hired to perform in different joints unlike in the past and other pockets of resistance in the owners of some joints who still want to pay artists based on the gate collections.
I want to look at the issues from a two-way position, one where due to poor quality of music, artists expose themselves to exploitation, because no one will approach them at all, for their mediocre output. The other one is whether artists like Lawi or Mafunyeta that I mentioned benefit anything at all from their playtime that entertainment joints expend using their music.
Let me start with the first position, quality begets quantity but top quality begets hefty quantity. Meaning, if musicians playing in the joints practice a lot and produce quality music then they will place themselves at substantial price tag.
What happens when musicians beg entertainment joints to play live music is that either they will share 50-50 or sometimes if owners understand, they will get 40 per cent while the performing artists get the remaining 60 per cent.
Likely most artists do not have resources to own musical equipment so they will hire at say K10,000 and not only this they will also need to hire a vehicle at K5,000 to transport the equipment from wherever they have hired it to a venue they are supposed to conduct their performance.
But already if a band is this struggling, you do not expect it to conduct themselves to a level where the audience will be satisfied and therefore even if they say gate charges will be at K200 per head you find that only 20 people have turned up for the show.
My poor mathematics tells me this will come up to K4, 000. Now if the joint owner is the 50-50 kind, then the band will remain with K2,000 out of which it has to pay equipment owner K10,000 while the vehicle owner wants his K5,00 and I am not mentioning the hard pressed performers who are looking up to the collections for their survival.
Now while the audience of 20 has enjoyed themselves, whatever the quality, what do the artists take home with them? More misery than when they were living home.
You might think their Musicians Association is not aware of their plight but you are wrong because they are. They love to hold positions but they are so headless that they can come up with innovations where they, for example they purchase equipment or develop infrastructures where the artists can get to and train or borrow equipment.
Now on the second point, where other joints will play music or artists; strangely we have Copyright Society of Malawi COSOMA, a body that is so opportunistic and suck from thin cows, who are the artists themselves.
There is neither intellectual property protection nor any enforcement of copyright issues. I remember at one time my cousin and I were running an entertainment joint; somehow, we could get to some people with music on their computers and burn them into compact disks.
We would take the music and have our clients entertained to the maximum and even share it with other customers. There has never been any visit from anybody that demanded anything from us, for playing the music produced by both international as well as local artists for commercial purposes. Something this is, is it not?


Malawi Music’s Quality Control

Quality control in this case refers to letting our music pass some form of litmus test…
Most radio stations complain that they receive an uncountable music compact disks or sometimes tapes brought by every Jack and Jill who say are musicians who have made some music that now needs airplay.
Without trying to patronise owners of music outlets, meaning those that have radio stations, Television stations or entertainment joints that play music, I think if we are to have quality music, then we need to set up standards, which should be set up as a checklist.
Once acclaimed musicians bring their music, it must be passed through a rigorous due process where it has to pass all or 90 percent of the points drawn on the checklist.
What would be the purpose of all this is to certify quality; some hints could be to look at the quality of sound i.e. is it filling the whole eardrum? On the other hand, is it trying to pull off the ear? Is it going to ‘infect’ the eardrum or just use it as a passage as it soothes the soul?
When listening to it are you feeling ashamed that the so called musician only exposed to outside ears failure when it is clear the voice used in the song desperately needed the very space the body also badly needed for some oxygen?
What about vocal variations, is it blending with the instrumentation? Is the music some common organised noise? I know there could be many areas to look into before venturing into unknown terrain. Well, all what sound this pen is trying to drum out is to ensure standard enforcement.
There are some employees in the radio stations, TVs and even entertainment joints that, at the expense of their jobs, let gluttony scarlet red in the teeth.
You find the musician taking their music to radio stations where they neither will nor query on procedures for leaving one’s music at such places.
Instead, they will look for a particular radio or TV presenter or the people who play music in entertainment joints most that wrongly tag themselves as disk Jockeys DJs – and leave their CDs with them.
The recipients of such will either dump it even when they pocketed a K10, 000 bunch of K500 notes for a Coke or play it repeatedly even when it is so immature to be called music.
This kind of greed is not motivational in the would be musician and it encourages them to go to a person who has a mixer placed in his dining room on his dining table linked with a ‘scraggy’ boom microphone.
Within two hours the so called musician will gurgle out noise, which the man owning the dining table and the mixer placed on it, will mix the panting sound with some computer programmes that will give it a drumbeat, accompanied by sounds of guitars and percussions.
All this will be happening on the back of an outcry that Malawi music has and still is struggling to get a place on the international market.
Some have been attributing this to failure to lack of establishment of a unique music genre but this earns my disagreement because this happens because artists do not know what they want to achieve.
This is what will usually generate impatient in the way music in the country is produced, even for those that are nationally acclaimed, as our top musicians have no patient to take time before releasing anything.
Come on! How can a band like Black Missionaries, for example, declare that they will be producing Kuimba albums annually?
If what they have on their records shelf as the latest production is Kuimba 7 then it means for the last 7 years they have been producing.
On average, they produce about 10 songs per album and in seven years, it means they have produced around 70 songs to their credit.
Are you sure, there is no compromise to quality in this instance?
Radio stations will always have no problems with this, as they will establish several programme specifically designed to ‘promote’ this kind of local music. If what is meant is to be achieved is really meant to promote, then I have a problem with the mediocrity they are championing.
If by accident or chance a member of an international music-promoting firm is visiting the country or any of the websites that have some of the local radios that are streaming online and catches the hurriedly prepared musical stuff, will they really be encouraged to come and promote it for the international market?
If we are to achieve quality as a country and promote local music, then local radio and TV stations and entertainment joints in collaboration with organisations dealing in and with music and musicians have to set up benchmark, which has to be used if music produced has to gain airplay.
These outlets need to critically look at the music videos produced other than broadcasting or playing anything they lay their hands on.
Even the press should not always carry stories for mediocre performers who just visit newsrooms, declare their musicians, and get story space.
Entertainment writers have to listen to the music of an artist before they can start glorifying mediocrity. We can do better with quality control in the music Industry.

How do the Dead Musicians Get their Royalties

There is a big difference between doing something in Malawi and doing similar thing in the West.
There was a time that I wondered on this very page why Michael Jackson’s riches are increasingly making him posthumously richer when there is no penny to show for Malawi’s fallen reggae hero Evison Matafale.
Without bothering to look at a well-coordinated system where musicians outside can release just a mere single and hit gold and continue making more money even after they die, I want us to look at what happens to music of our dead musicians.
We still hear songs on our radios that were done by the late Robert and Arnold Fumulani, Alan Namoko, Daniel and MacDonald Kachamba, Samangaya and the list goes on and on…
Well, do you remember when in 2002 or 2003 there about, Phungu Joseph Nkasa received royalties from Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) in excess of millions.
Musicians I talked to explained to me how the system works. For every copy that an artist will sell, there is a royalty of K1.50t or something within this range, while every time a song by an artist is played on radio, that particular radio has to give COSOMA K0.60t for the song each time it is played.
Now in the absence of proper and transparent communication channel where you would expect COSOMA to clearly explain how this works, you cannot help it but wonder who get this money for the dead musicians.
In an attempt to avoid re-living the ordeal that talented Stonard Lungu underwent including performing while he was in an excruciating cancerous pain, just to raise resources for medical care and treatment, one wonders if there is a proper mechanism to ensure that musicians benefit from their intellectual property.
Honestly, if the system were well laid, you would not expect Alan Namoko’s grave for example, to wait until such a time when broadcaster Gospel Kadzako would establish a successful media business to construct him a tomb. At least Kadzako ensured that where Alan Namoko was interred, should look honourable.
Recently there was an announcement in the media that Andrew Matrauza was topping the list of those musicians that who got most of the royalties. Well, looking at the songs that are said to have helped him achieve this feat, it is – I do not want to call it disappointment – but rather a surprise that they were in fact done years ago.
Among many questions arising as a result of this is that when I sell my music today, when am I expected to get the royalty money?
Again, looking at a figure like K240, 000 that Matrauza got, what does it explain if this is cumulative over a period of five years? Is musical profession in Malawi worthwhile?
Then, why should the list be of only those that are still alive, when – like when Matafale passed away – his music dominated the airplay not to mention record sales, which overshot, making distributors fail to satisfy the demand.
Even under the guidance of the antiquated Copyright Act nothing tangible, seem to be taking shape to either protect or benefit both the dead and living musicians.
How ironic! Why should people that are gifted with musical art, entertaining us throughout all their lives, which are strewn, with all struggles due to poverty, indeed suffer a life of penury? Worse still, why should their poor financial status not only continue haunting them in their graves but make their bereaved family members laughing stock as well?
Imagine, you are brother or sister to one super fallen artist and you are, say, in a bus, where they are playing his music. Everyone is talking about how great Ned Mapira, Samangaya or Ada Manda were; is it not a mockery when you are struggling to construct them a proper tomb, not to mention failing to raise and school their orphans?
Remember the fate of our all time great Michael Sauka, brains behind the National Anthem?
If we had a vibrant musical body, for lack of a suitable institution let me mention COSOMA for example, the best would have to create a special fund for artists. This could be taking up part of their royalties if they are still alive while managing all of the dead musician royalties and then trickle it to their families based on each one’s percentage contribution.
The same fund could become handy as well in situations like one that Stonard Lungu wanted to go to a Tanzanian hospital for cancer treatment.
Musicians Association of Malawi knowing that there is a day when its members would also found themselves in this position should at times organise musical shows or other activities to generate money for the fund.
Whoever could also be the in charge of such fund might as well use the money to buy shares to ensure a steady financial position. The living artists could buy life insurance policies; even policies that can carter for education of their children using the same money.
In this way, maybe we can be rest assured that our dead musicians are ‘Resting in Peace’ as they lay in their unkempt graves.

Music is a Mission, not Competition

I know you have heard of Alpha Blondy, Ishmael Isaacs, Tinken Jah Fakoly and Serges Kassi all these are from Abidjan in Ivory Coast. They are the best of reggae artists that have emerged from Africa.
On 20th October 2009, I was listening to BBC Focus on Africa where it was declared that Abidjan is to Africa what Kingston is to Jamaica if we are to consider how the two cities have befriended reggae music.
BBC says Ivorians believe their main city Abidjan is one of the reggae capitals of the world.
Well, during the time I was listening to BBC radio there was an interview of another reggae artist for Abidjan called ‘Kajim’ who declared that music is a mission and not competition.
Kajim declared, “Here our music is a weapon, and it is not the same thing in other countries.”
Although music is a weapon, Kajim said he has refused to be used by politicians because as a mission how can a musician be used by a politician.
He said this in contrast to his compatriots who have fallen for politicians like one reggae man, Serges Kassi, who is a fervent supporter of President Laurent Gbagbo and BBC reports that he is in fact one of the leaders of his militant supporters, the Young Patriots, who in the past have been accused of being a militia.
While it says another musician, Tiken Jah Fakoly, who is perhaps Ivory Coast’s biggest reggae star after Alpha Blondy, is firmly in the other camp.
Fakoly has criticized President Gbagbo heavily, calling him “badly elected” and a “thug President”.
While his songs have found fertile ground with the New Forces, rebels who control the north of the country it has made Tiken Jah live in exile in Mali, saying it would be too dangerous for him to return to Abidjan.
You might be wondering why today the pen is trying to drum strange sound from foreign land, well; the reason is that their situation can easily be identifiable to our own.
Let us start with ‘Wagwa nayo’ and ‘Mose wa Lero’ two opposing songs that dominated the campaign trail in the country’s last elections.
I do not want to dwell on which one took the centre stage of the two above, all I am trying to stress is on the declaration; ‘Music is a mission not competition’.
Lucious Banda has Paul Banda as not only a brother, according to his own words but also a father. Lucious is one talented musician who is so creative that will make you listen to a UDF song even if you have sworn never to hear anything UDF but because of its musicality, you find yourself listening to the music substituting the UDF aspect.
Lucious has Paul to thank for nurturing his talent to the levels it reached but the moment he strayed from the path Paul had charted for him he landed himself in problems.
Sir Paul Banda, as most of us would fondly call him, has always realized that music is a mission and he has stuck to this belief and this is why he is so respected. While Lucious despised this belief and found himself being used as a competition tool for politicians and ended up broken. He only has his talent to thank because it is the only thing that has bailed him out.
When music was a mission in the eyes of Lucious he used it as a weapon which fought for the people and it had a huge result as masses appreciated and this he realized and called himself ‘Soldier’. Believe you me Lucious has almost forgotten that he used to call himself ‘Soldier’ because he strayed when he mistook music mission for competition.
Whether one likes it or not Sir Paul Banda revolutionized the Malawi music, this is the reason in the beginning the Balaka beat dominated. When Lucious came on the limelight, everyone wanted to imitate him, because he had so big an influence, we found artists like Billy Kaunda, Isaac Liwotcha and the rest that followed, starting their careers using the Lucious Banda template.
To any music missionary, Lucious Banda can also be squarely blamed for having misled the very artists he had influenced into following him into the political competitive aspect when he joined the political bandwagon.
Look at how many musicians followed suit, ironically Billy Kaunda continued following the leading Lucious and perhaps MacDonald Mlaka Maliro can claim that he had been steadfast in his realization that music is a mission not a competition and this is why it was his wife Bernadette who is a politician not him. However, the mere fact that he went flat out using his music to promote her, shows that he still missed it anyway.
As a mission, not competition, music is used as a unifying factor. Before Lucious compromised his musical mission with political competition, he could take up a national debate through his music and be heard without any misgivings.
Now tell him to do one song on ‘quota system’ or whether President Bingu wa Mutharika is justified to be a patron of a tribal grouping, everyone will be saying he has been sent by former President Bakili Muluzi because people think he is Muluzi’s political puppet.