Resident Musicians Tourism Gem


The only time the country has ever tried to connect tourism and music is when some Britons decided to start the Lake of Stars.
However, the structural, technical and organisational arrangement of the event has benefited the organisers more than it has exploited the local music and its artists.
The government, through all its departments that are concerned with ensuring that art- music inclusive – is getting the promotion it requires to shape out the country’s cultural identity has no deliberate policy to enforce anything like this.
Now, all the pen desires to drum out is in line with what is not strange to us all…Resident Band for hospitality facilities.
For fear of missing out on thoroughness, I will not mention the actual bands, but I know either currently or in the past hotels like Mount Soche, Ryalls Etc used to have a band that was contracted to be playing at these respective venues.
I know some where towards the end of last year, Sun Bird Mzuzu Hotel tried to enter into a deal with The Northern Region musical giants; The Body, Mind and Soul to be playing on some days at the facility as a resident band.
Apparently, the deal fell through because the idea the hotel had, was that the band be a ‘magnet’ that should be attracting more customers to its Choma Bar. The patronage on the first two-trial-separate-days did not encourage them enough to continue with the deal.
I hear the newly established joint ‘The Key Lounge’ which is housed in the Mzuzu’s newly set up Shopping Mall now intends to hire them instead.
There is a closeness that can be exploited between local music and tourism which can not only bring the much needed forex to the country but uplifting the lives of artists as well.
Imagine if Agollosso was the resident artists for Mount Soche and purely there to sing the Shire Valley Genre that he plays; If Ben Michael Mankhamba with his band that comprise the Zig-Zaggers alongside the Jena Sisters, was a resident band at Capital Hotel, where he would be promoting his Chingaipe genre [by the way he is Group Village Headman Chikaipe of Lilongwe].
And by extension Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel had stuck to the agreement with The Body Mind and Soul, a band that says it plays a fusion of foreign genres and local beat to create what they call voodjazz.
Say Hippo View Lodge had a band dishing out the Balaka beat that we all know.
Taking advantage of the fact that music pulls and attracts people and their world the tourism industry which sells our places out there would intensify promotion of the varieties at their places.
The need to have resident music in hospitality facilities that would be identified with a particular traditional genre would drive someone from Australia to a specific hospitality place to listen to that kind of music and also buy the music.
The tourism industry could then go home and promote the music designated for what facility by producing MP3 samples of such tracks and post them with their background through you tube on the web or taking advantage of any social networking pages like the facebook and twitter accounts.
With the digital demand in this era there is needed to create an internet presence and even create MySpace music page.
Locally, there could also be promotion of such linkages where everyone else visiting Hippo View Lodge will know they will sample Balaka beat, likewise those that are visiting Capital Hotel will know it is time to discover what Chingaipe music genre has to offer.
Tourism which has worked elsewhere as a forex earner is still trying to get its feet in this country even with the vigorous promotions which to an extent I think has not explored all the avenues.
With a government backed policy on the same, hospitality facilities that are currently undergoing star grading system could be told that if you are promoting one of the local music genres by having a specific band that play such a specific genre, believe you me we can achieve something both our struggling industries of music and tourism.

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About Gregory Gondwe - Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started practising journalism in 1993. Until March 31, 2012 he was regional editor and bureau chief for Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS). Gregory is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma of Journalism and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He is also columnist for Malawi's first and oldest weekly, Malawi News. He can be contacted on gregorygondwe@gmail.com.
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