In soccer, it is very common; once talent has been identified, it is either taken to a soccer academy where it nourished through the passage of time until it is ripe for consumption or it is used instantly, guardedly though, after some bit of perfection.
In music, especially in my beloved Malawi, we do not care. We can see talent and just think well, this one is talented and one day he or she will make a good musician. I know there have been times when some pop Idol copycats in the country had popped up and tried to come up with a similar venture.
The only drawback is that these were just copycats, so if you know what I mean, copycats or imitators look at something with their eyes and start imitating and sooner than later they fumble and stumble before a big crumble. Well, innovators look at something with the eyes of their brains and they carve a project that becomes beneficial to themselves and those they want to help.
There was a man who used to be Mr. Felix Njawala, now he is Honourable Felix Njawala who was leading a pack of these copycats. Now that he has a viable and feasible stage to promote talent identification in parliament, no single day has he come up with something in this regard through his innovations, based on what he showed us he wanted to do in the past.
Why should anyone think the Drumming Pen will get the wrath of the honourable friend Felix, it is because it beats all reasons of having institutions around that have set up objectives and fail to make any movement towards achieving them at all.
We always say Malawian musicians are art nincompoops because they do not know anything musical and therefore as one controversial Limbani Banda would declare they play trash and cannot therefore break into the international market mainly because they concentrate of foreign genres etc.
A number of talented young boys and girls lack support that could come from the society. While others have come in the open with their toils, which we have condemned as half-baked, others have coiled and disappeared into submission and we will never have a chance ever, to listen to their half-baked stuff.
There is a tall, slender, black complexioned small boy going by the name of Katelele Ching’oma. He says he comes from Lower Shire; Mbuya Gwanda Chakuamba advocates that we call it Shire highlands.
You just have to appreciate how the boy realised that God has given him a voice that is hard to come by.
However, critically listening to him, and even watching his videos, one wonders what this boy would have become had he been passed through a deliberately instituted milling machine.
One thing God has gifted Malawians with, or generally, African musicians with, is the thought that singing is synonymous with song writing. This in turn has made them good composers.
The same could therefore be said about young Katelele. Listening and watching this Katelele boy, you will have the impression that assures you that indeed the chap is also a gifted composer and even wonder further that there are some hands working behind the scenes because the youthful age of the boy and the lyrics seems to be at war.
Personally, I have never met him, neither have I ever talked to him, but when I first listened to his music on Zodiak, I think it was a track called ‘Mutithandize’ which is part of ‘Ali Music Collections’ I was left thinking.
The first thing that came to mind was how one person has decided to be exposing talent in form of the ‘Ali Music Collections’. You just have to go back and see how many artists have had their music see the limelight through the Ali initiative.
Drumming Pen will always whip out sounds like the Musicians Association of Malawi, Copy Right Society of Malawi and a number of promoters that are within the industry. This is the case because no one has shown any interest to initiate something that could spark the hidden musician in the young ones.
In the first place, what Ali Collection does is to listen to the toils of the young ones first, and then he supports them with studio work and marketing the product thereafter. How the music is marketed and how much Ali Collections gets from the proceeds and even how much the exposed artist benefit is not a subject for today.
Imagine if Malawi had an institution that would discover talent or embrace the already identified talent and nourish it through trainings in both how the voice and instruments is managed and the musical business as well.
Now take the talent like that of Katelele where the training helps him to significantly make use of his voice to produce music that should not be bubblegum like stuff which you spat out after the sweetness is gone.
If the system would be able to clean the gem that is Katelele Ching’oma, how many such gems would we have discovered for cleaning?