Being a Secular or Gospel Musician

Last week I started looking at music and beliefs, which has now led me to what has become to be known as Secular and Gospel sections of musicians in the country.

While the majority of local music consumers have condemned artists like Geoffrey Zigoma who they say gluttony moves them from the ship of gospel musicians one minute, and into one for the secular musicians the other minute, I do not intend to agree or disagree. I am determined to look at musicians like Zigoma from a different standpoint.

The problem that is killing Malawi’s nascent music industry is the artists’ struggle to do something without knowing what they want to become.

Mentality is of essence when any one person decides to venture into music; lack of it only proves the saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ unnecessarily true. Unfortunately sometimes musicians think they have finally seen light forcing through its long leg through what they think is an opening but when they follow it and set off their music career barely a while down the road, they find their round shape failing to fit into the square hole.

I will forgive songbird Mrs. Ethel Kamwendo Banda for having started from secular terrain before jumping ship to join the gospel fray.

I have considered her age and influence from her elderly siblings and the stereotypes that used to haunt female musicians at the time she launched her career – or is it her secular career. These factors failed to prepare her mentally or her mentality was all but botched-up and this is why her girlish credulity decided which line of music she had to belong to while maturity charted her gospel route eventually.

Now exists Mrs. Banda, enters self-acclaimed Honjo inventor San B. He launched his career as a secular artist, and along the way, I thing he did a number of best hits but one I would want to dwell on is what I still consider as a master piece which goes like ‘Mukanena kuti Ha!Ha! Halleluja! Inu muziti Amen, akulu ampingo amve…!” This was however, the turning point for San B.

In the first place, he innocently did a secular song that touched on the gospel and depending on what one wanted to believe, this was either a gospel piece or a secular piece. San B bought the gospel sense and declared himself a gospel artist.

Whether he wants to believe it or not, when he became a gospel artist he lost his music panache. Interestingly Christianity like all other beliefs somehow is enemy to reality. It finds a way to hide truth by bringing in the underhand of Lucifer.

I am saying this because San B and his new gospel followers would think Satan is using me to discourage him from continuing the ‘blessed’ missionary work he has started. But my stand is he was the best when he had secular sense when doing his music than now when he is spreading gospel through his ‘honjo’ brainchild.

However, what could be an interesting aspect is perhaps a little recall to where we are coming from as a nation that came to grips with a penchant for good music. You remember when the Joseph Nangalembes, the Robert Fumulanis used to rule the airwaves, was there any divisions like secular and gospel artists.

Would you therefore say Nangalembe was not doing God’s work? Is being secular pursuit of evil? Do we perhaps realize that God can try to change a person to follow His ways by perfecting the person’s social being by using music to do this? And obviously musicians would be involved to achieve this?

Well, I might seem to be digressing, but my point is that musical talent that is in the artists is endowed as the artists sense it; it should therefore not be compromised to please anyone.

If you pause a minute and wonder, would you say a musician is supposed to consider what the audience would want to listen to, or what he or she has to unravel from the gods of novelty in the subliminal.
Billy Kaunda, Lucious Banda, Mlaka Maliro and who else? Are these secular or gospel musicians?
Will it be for them to tell us they are gospel musicians or it’s up to consumers to conclude where they belong.
The all great Wambali Mkandawire once declined to accept that he is a gospel musician he instead said his is spiritual music, would this have any distinctive telling on therefore will buy his music?
My question is what should follow what? consumers who will get attracted by outstanding creation of music or musician trying to interest consumers after playing second fiddle to some music stardom who attracted consumers to his or her music in the first place?
This is what brings in the copycats amidst the industry.
I want us to think aloud, and conclude with me that much as those who do praise and worship will chose whatever name to call themselves considering what has influenced whatever sectarian tags they want to go with, it is clear that something is wrong with mentality.


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