Finding a Theme for our Musicians


William Shakespeare, the British Author became known with his love Poetry which he usually embedded in his passages as a playwright.
The poems that he used to write were known as sonnets – which are strictly poems worded in a regular rhyming style; have 14 lines and whose theme is love.
For example look at this sonnet done by the Prof.
Hen protecting chick
A spell for survival
Safety in good nick
Trumpeting a revival

A clear indication of glamour
Comfort in the presence of the protector
Inhibiting the would be clamour
Love has found the effective projector

Sores and wounds of the heart soothed
Giving it room to mend
Making sure the landscape is smoothed
To ably fend

It’s the only thread to which the soul hangs
Threatened umbilical cord portending pangs

If the stanzas of the poem above, which when turned into musical lyrics will become verses, are to be checked, one discovery will be that the first three stanzas are four lined and are generally called quatrains but have words that rhyme by following a certain pattern.
Take the first one for example, line one ends with a word chick which rhymes with the third line which has nick, likewise second line rhymes with the fourth. But the last stanza which is a couplet because it only has two lines also rhymes and this whole piece of poetry is called a sonnet which has strictly fourteen lines.
This is the pattern through which an artist has to build his theme. The theme cannot be poetic but can be musical which has to fulfil the general notion that music is a mission. Since a mission seeks to achieve something, then it goes without saying that when a musician launches into the industry he or she should have a purpose for setting off in the first place.
Musicians have to learn to plan how they intend to travel their musical journey. They need to ask themselves questions like, was it because others were singing so they just joined the group or because monies were available and the studio was just not busy, so they decided to record something?
Fascination with what one has produced can lead to a misleading self belief that makes someone start looking at themselves as musicians when factors that can enable such are just nonexistent.
One’s musical life must be a theme for the artist; Bob Marley’s theme was to deal with religious, political social and human repression that the humankind used to suffer and this he channelled into music to force authorities change. Did Bob Marley achieve it?
If I were to ask Lucious Banda, his vision as presented by the theme that is contained in his musicianship, he would not say extempore, that hey Prof. my theme is serving the poor, where I am ‘Soldier for the Poor’. Joseph Nkasa will equate the theme in his music to that of a Member of Parliament where he would call himself ‘Phungu’.
Now if I am to ask you that have listened to the two musicians that I have named above, would you say if their theme were to serve the voiceless as they would claim, have they achieved this?
Now the argument is that; are the themes well presented in the music of our musicians and how do they approach their lyrical compositions, do the lyrics carry anything linked to poetic styles? The themes also need to chart the way forward for the musician as it gives them a leeway of what else they will be singing in their future productions?
drummingpen@columnist.com

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