Tapps Bandawe – Studio Wizard
Tapiwa Bandawe is a producer who can lionise a musician none of us have ever heard of and how he does this is a subject of conjecture.
I attended a musical bash organised by the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) at the Civo Stadium on New Year’s Day.
Yvonne Chaka Chaka was always calling Taps to do this and that…Meaning she understood the depth of ability in doing musical stuff that is in Tapps and how one has to sink under to reach and manage to tap the talent in Tapps.
Let me try to demonstrate here the versatility of Tapps.
In a compilation he has called ‘Sound Yovuta Volume 1’ Tapps produced ‘Nazo Malawi’ a track Lucius Banda featured NIC Gianakiss , then there is ‘Focus Africa’ and ‘2BY2’ by Tay Grin . Then there is ‘Ungodikira’ and ‘Katsepe’ by Sam Simakweli. He has also Dan Lufani’s ‘Cousin’, V2K’s ‘Ndiyadansi’, Star Marley’s ‘Death’, and believe it or not, Joyful Souls’ ‘Akonda Kosatha’ and ‘Mwana Wanga’ among others.
Internationally, not only is Tapps producer and songwriter for Sony BMG but he has also produced artists like Alexander O’Neal, Ginuwine, Jamelia, Liberty X and Blazing Squad. He has also travelled with artists like Lucky Dube and Brenda Fassie and Chicco from South Africa.
In fact, it is in South Africa that he cut his real professional teeth. Born in 1970 as a youth he listened to a lot of LL Cool J, Salt ‘n’ Pepper, Run DMC and all the artists of their time. By 1980s while break dancing was the in thing, he beat pulp all that competed against him and formed a group to do this better and called it Renegades.
Even when he travelled to South Africa when apartheid was still thick in 1988 he survived at Hilton College before going to Natal Technical School of Arts where he formed a band he called Narene. The journey from here on progressed without stopping as in Johannesburg he signed for the bigger than life ‘David Gracium Records’.
It was while hear that his wizardly at adding value to different sound and voices to make music earned him recognition; with the helping hands of Donovan Cover he produced a hip hop album called ‘Let Go’ and this was in 1990.
But the following year it first went gold then won the Best New Artist award after it had received three nominations at the South African Awards. This album was followed by another golden slot acclaiming ‘‘Young, Hip & African’.
Apartheid and its attendant cultural boycott saw him heading to the UK where he collaborated with producer John Cheatdown in coming up with a number of projects. Here he also got an award when together with Terry Macloud and Mellisa Migel their TNT Explosive Productions went on to establish Blazing Squad which was signed by Warner becoming the largest 1999 deal.
They produced an album that achieved gold as well.
Enough for the accolades that Tapps has dotted on his resume with; but if you are born in a family of four where you have also a psychologist brother in the name of Dr. Chiwoza Rutende Bandawe then obviously you ooze patriotism.
And this in 2007 forced Tapps back home where at first he collaborated with partners and started Matalala Records that eventually procreated Explosive Entertainment where he has produced all the artists that he has locally produced.
What I want to discuss today is that he has joined hands with partners; I should guess one of them is Malawi’s top Sound Connoisseur Lemekezani Phiri an equally complete producer himself– I will discuss about this dude in my subsequent write-ups – to form Nyimbo Music Company.
With Nyimbo Music Company, Tapps and friends intend to bring sanity in our music which the Malawi Copyright Society, the government as well as the so called Musicians Association of Malawi have failed to bring into our music industry.
The company will produce, distribute and promote Malawi music where the artists will not be ripped off like is the system at the moment. They will achieve this by also managing the artists through way of contracts signed on dotted lines.
The other exciting acts in the bag include the Nyimbo Music Awards, Hall of Fame, Open Air free for all events including bringing into the country the digital download age.
Nyimbo Music Company’s signature was all over the MBC New Year’s Day bash and apart from poor patronage mainly due to MBC’s own making, the sound was superb, no artist disappointed in this respect. I hope our musicians will stop dying as paupers.
Tapps Bandawe – Studio Wizard