There is one clear thing with Skeffa Chomoto’s latest DVD called ‘Ndife Amodzi’; there will be losers and winners, and Mourners too.
He has clearly wailed that he will not benefit as much from this DVD as he should have.
To start with, the design of the DVD which is being marketed and distributed by Dolphin Electronics is a piece of innovation while its contents is by Malawian standards a household-must have.
The dirge for his mother in-law ‘Ulendo’ which is second in appearance of the nine tracks that have been packaged in the compilation has been made even more sombrer than in the audio track.
What with depiction of mourners carrying a coffin with lips following the track’s chorus. If one with unprovoked emotions never got shaken by the lyrics of the audio track the visuals are pity evoking.
A small boy – it is a boy in the video, not a girl to depict his wife, the composition is dedicated to- who tries to shake his mother to awake her, but to no expected results.
Then a group of mourners sit around a supposedly dead body to match with the lyrics questioning why a crowd is gathered around the mother.
It further captures a graveyard scenario where the body is lowered in the grave.
Then another track ‘Ali Mbali Yanga’ shows a man breaking stones – not as in the art of stone masonry – that are used for construction while soaking in a heavy down pour.
Then he moves on to become a rich person.
As I will keep on saying, by Malawians standard, this is one DVD project that had all the hands involved and seriously investing their all in it.
When the DVD is showing the extra videos, that’s when it dawns upon the viewer how much creativity was employed.
When I first started watching the DVD, I had a number of questions. How did he convince a bereaved group like this one, first to allow him shoot them in their sombre state? And Secondly to even allow him use the material for his video. How could he convince the pall bearers chorus along the ‘Ulendo’ track when one would think this is no joking time?
But after showing how all this was just staged up, you are left with no doubt but to give credit to people like John Nguluwe who shot, edited, and produced all the tracks but ‘Tinkanena’, ‘Umutenge’ and ‘Sindilora’ for MC Studios.
You can’t take anything away from Kumbukani Kachimanga of Mwayi Studios who with the directions of Bong’a who shot, edited and produced these tracks.
At the back of the DVD, when Skeffa decides to declare under the headline ‘Special thanks’ that “I dedicate this album to my wife who lost her mother when she was only 3 years old” then you understand what he means.
He proves this dedication again in the track ‘Thandie’, the name of the wife, when he uses the lyrics of the song with real pictures captured during his wedding.
All in all the album serves the purpose, as it does not only help Thandie in mourning; it also makes her a winner in that in Skeffa she finds a man all women would yearn for.
Skeffa becomes a mourner and a loser when he realises that he is not going to enjoy 100 per cent turn over of his toils as it is selling at the mercy of those into piracy.
I attended his musical show some three weeks ago at Summit in Lilongwe where he stopped his performance for a good five minutes just to impress upon the audience that he is not a rich person that people can steal from him through piracy.
He lectured how piracy can kill off artists and how authorities are failing to protect them.
He says the DVD copies that were being sold at the show were the genuine ones and this compelled me to buy one at K1000.
But he ‘mourned’ heavy loss in revenue as he said he is aware that others have the DVD replica in their computers, flash disks and have burnt them and are selling them for three pieces of silver.
Not that this is a perfect DVD as a big let down is picture quality.
I am not sure of the competencies of those that made final copies of the DVD because mine would sometimes freeze while still rolling out some tracks which is frustrating as it gives you a sense of loss and an aftertaste that you have been robbed.
Nevertheless, it is better to be robbed this way than to be winners through piracy over some work that showed total dedication, creativity, selfless and desire to present what the lyrical content of the album has been churning out to make it the best seller so far.
At least choose to be Skeffa’s mourners or winners in this project of dedication!