Malawi’s Richest Musician


Do Malawians know at all who the richest musician in Malawi is? Do we know our musicians accumulate their wealth? But do they have wealth? Some mind boggling questions that we need answers for.

I was checking Forbes 2011 list of ten highest paid musicians and I discovered that most of the artists are making it through live performances.

By rank of the wealthiest the following is the Forbes’s list:
U2 – 195 million US dollars
They are called the ageless rockers who are wrapping up the most lucrative tour in the history of music.
By the time U2’s two-year trek ends this summer the band will have sold US$700m worth of tickets over two years and played to more than 7 million people.
Bon Jovi – 125 million dollars
Bon Jovi raked in more when they inaugurated the New Jersey’s New Meadowlands Stadium with three consecutive sold out concerts last May and another in July.
The Band grossed US$200 playing 74 shows over the past 12 months and released a greatest hit album.
Elton John –100 million US dollars
Sir John has sold 250 million records worldwide over the past 30 years and isn’t slowing down, grossing US $204 million on 102 live shows in the past 12 months.
Lady Gaga – 90 million US dollars
The Queen Monster grossed US$ 170 on 137 shows in 22 countries over the past 12 months; though high production costs significantly reduced that sum.
Michael Buble – 70 million US dollars
The Canada crooner rode a lucrative concert tour, heavy radio play and strong album sales all the way to a spot among the most top 5 earners.
Paul McCartney – 67 million US dollars
The former Beatle could just sit back and collect checks – he’s the most commercially successful songwriter in the history of popular music – according to Guinness World Records – but the road beckons. McCartney grossed 130 million US dollars on a mere 30 shows over the past 12 months.
The Black Eyed Peas – 61 million US dollars
The business friendly rockers grossed US$68m on 62 shows around the World over the past 12 months and added to their coffers with lucrative endorsement deals with Samsung, Pepsi, Honda, Verizon, Chase and others.
The Eagle – 60 million US dollars
The ageless rockers continue to take it to the limit – especially on the road, where they make the bulk of their money.
Justin Bieber – 53 million US dollars
At age 17, Bieber is the youngest on the list, raking in cash from an international tour.
Dave Matthews Band – 51 million US dollars
The band grossed over a million per night for the course of 68 shows in the past 12 months.

Looking at the list, it is total disappointment that no African musician has made it to the least and this tells us a load of stories of either our musicians or the kind of audience that we have.

Turning back to Malawi, if you will go to classified pages in this title you will discover that there are beautiful pictures of both gospel and secular musicians that are on the road.

I tried to talk to Skeffa Chimoto and the Black Missionaries two weeks ago for a show that was to take place in September and I was told they are booked up for the year or something closer to that.

I am not sure how best our musicians organise their shows, but since we have no records to show how much they are raking into their ‘wealth-hold’ after every show I run the risk of speculating.

The question would then be: do we know that this particular musician is wealthier than the other by how frequent they appear in newspapers on a number of shows that they conduct?

We have been made to believe that those artists that make it big are the ones that do so through royalties.
COSOMA has at least made us believe our musicians are wealth and have managed to bring smiles on the faces of most artists through royalties.

But do we have anything on records to tell us how much the musicians are fairing when out on tours?

It takes time before COSOMA comes up with such list; the last one I saw was on December 29, 2009, where Lawrence Mbenjere set a new record when he became the first musician to cart home money in excess of over K2.5 million in royalties.

What was also historical was that since the establishment of the Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA), K2, 523, 459.16 that Mbenjere got was the biggest money it has dished out to a single musician.

And at the same event, Lucius Banda carted home K1, 094, 579.10, Thomas Chibade K712, 742.48. Joseph Nkasa who in 2003 got a million got K597, 942.27 this time round.

But at least Lucious and Black Missionaries and lately, Skeffa are the ones we see on the road all the time, are they the richest musicians on the Land?
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

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Pastor Jimmy, Gospel Traditionalist


Gospel Music of Malawi leaves a lot to be desired. The term used above is so tired that those who are words smith like me call it a cliché.
I would still use it when I write about Gospel Music of Malawi because at worst, that’s what it is. At best, it has ‘smoked out’ some hidden talent never known before.
We have a long list of names that have blessed Malawi’s gospel music market while it is not a hidden fact that others have cursed it.
Pastor Jimmy is one such young talent that have blessed the gospel music cycle. Unlike most who will first of all listen to South African, Nigerian or Tanzanian Gospel which they unashamedly copy and paste as their own, Pastor Jimmy Kapinda has been so innovative.
He never desired to take the South African’s Sipho Makhabane route nor one of the Cee Cee Winans. He should have travelled a purely Malawian route had it not been for a female backing vocalist’s attempt to try to copy Nigerian’s Soul female artist ASA in one of the tracks.
Nonetheless, he has travelled a Malawian route none ever thought existed, of course before Wambali Mkandawire.
While Wambali’s sojourns remains unparalleled, but the nascent journey Pastor Jimmy has launched with his traditional Gospel Music seems to have a lot of promises in store.
To Appreciate Jimmy’s music further may be a little light need to be shed on his musical background.
The Mzuzu based band ‘Body, Mind & Soul’ which has graced the Crossroad Competition is where Pastor Jimmy’s routes could be traced. He used to play bass in this band before he started his own band ‘Kula’.
I once wrote that as the name Kula suggests, it is still growing strong; it fuses African traditional music with Jazz, Blues, Rock and Reggae and this is what has seen them grabbing two national competitions: MAM Music Award 2009 and Chibuku Road to Fame Competition.
Body, Mind and Soul, the band he started from is described as a 6-piece band which started like all the rest.
First it was all reggae for the Body, Mind & Soul until it reflected on the importance of sharing Malawi ancient culture in Modern time and after much thought and experimentation it created a new music concept it calls ‘Voodjaz’, a subtle mix of traditional rhythms with a jazzy feel.
With it, they conquered the Music Cross Roads Southern Africa Inter-regional Festival in Harare, Zimbabwe in 2007 to emerge winners that went on the road to their European Tour in Summer of 2008 where they performed at different big stages including the world famous Coyleur Café.
When Jimmy became a born again Christian he thought of changing the approach to music which he had initially looked at from what is known as a secular perspective to the current approach where he is now into gospel but with a difference.
He says there are sessions at the Pentecostal gatherings where at one point they do what they call ‘Praise and Worship’. At this point most of such songs performed are taken from elsewhere and he decided to come up with songs composed by Malawians.
There are many such gatherings these days and with claims that they are guided by the light and gift from God, there needed to be more musical innovation coming from the people with such Holy gift.
I have ever written about how gospel music is to an extent a big letdown as it lacks creativity to captivate even the non-believer to turn to God. It is wrong to conclude that Malawi although a God fearing nation does not promote her gospel artists. Gospel music should entice not dispel!
I have said that much as it is a necessity for churches or any other beliefs to keep tight their dogmas, it would be wrong to use the same as a yardstick when producing music that sing about the very belief and approach it with a laissez-faire attitude.
It is a pity that some churches will even generate so many resources for say their pastor or evangelist to produce a musical album, not because he is talented but because he thinks he can do it since resources are available.
The best way to do it, if congregations have resources they want to waste on any musical production, is perhaps to identify a few talented individuals within the congregation who should be supported to produce music.
The same can be said about Pastor Jimmy, whose home is music and when, this talent crossed paths with his religion, they formed a formidable force that can interest every ear that loves listening to music.
He is planning to showcase his talent in Lilongwe where he is going to engage traditional dances as part of his musical launch as a sole performer.
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

Key Lounge: Musical Haven


There is a hot argument on going at the moment.
Between Tigris and Maskal, who performed more sublimely than the other at the Big Brother Show? This is the question that has sparked this debate.
You would be wondering where the people that argues so much about this issue ever saw the performance from. But all was viewed through a Television set.
And this has been the case for residents in Mzuzu where they have known most of our local artists, through the television.
Before a local entrepreneur Trouper Thindwa came to Mzuzu to establish Key Lounge, residents were yet to see this dude Maskal and Urbanites Star Tigris.
Now music which is supposed to be enjoyed and appreciated, can not only be felt through a screen, more so with computer manipulation that is so common with music productions, audio and video alike, and there is always a need for a live performance of sorts to give the pudding some proof of taste.
This, people of Mzuzu never had. The result was either an illusion of who our musicians are or an extrusion of a music which was not theirs.
Ever since its establishment, Key Lounge has paraded all the stars that matter in the urban music cycles now. Tay Grin, Tigris, Theo Thomson, Maskal, name them…
Then we have the old timer himself Lucius Banda, man of the moment Skeffa Chimoto, ever green Lulu who have also graced the venue; in fact just last week-end Lucius Banda used Key Lounge to launch his album ‘Life’.
There is also the Mzuzu giants Body, Mind and Soul who are spending much of their time mesmerising patrons occasionally.
Trouper says he loves music, to begin with, and he loves his home which is Mzuzu and he would not have left it continue being starved of entertainment.
He hires the artists in what he terms ‘a win-win situation’ because while the artists get their fees, he also boosts sells for the restaurant and bar that is part of the Key Lounge.
There is also one more thing the north is set to be enjoying with the posture that Trouper has taken; he intends to bring the most sought after International artists, who, most of the times will only perform in Lilongwe and Blantyre and then fly back.
Key Lounge is now set to host some of such artists starting in summer.
Mzuzu does not have many such places that would host musicians. The then only available place Boma Park at the hotel, which also hosted a day album launch by Lucius Banda last Sunday is said to be restrictive.
Restrictive because one has to cough a whooping K75, 000 for a single show and in this case a Calculator brings some figure that fails to give you any business sense and the option the artist has been taking is to shun the region.
Mzuzu fans are offered an opportunity to sample live performance and appreciate the talent. Like the argument about Tigris and Maskal at the Big Brother Show, north has always argued if the artists we listen to are either stage performers or studio geeks who cheat through the computer as if they are accomplished musicians.
Now with their invitation to be hosted at Key Lounge, they have gained an exposure in the region. This has also helped a lot as it has managed to market their music.
Music at the Key Lounge is also sampled both ways, where it is danced to as well as listened to in an appreciation of its musicality.
There was at one time a general worry that musicians only perform to a danceable crowd and such comes with noise that is mistaken for music.
Such reception has had difficulties to surmount elements that are hard to please as artists have discovered to their dismay that occasionally they would run into a situation where their set, while nearly always well-received by the crowd and lots of fun for them, is only about not hundred percent “danceable.”

In the process some of the artists’ unique and intricate original songs that are not a regular highly danceable crowd pleaser has ended up getting more heckle that applause.

The Key Lounge has managed to create such great atmosphere where both have a comfy reception.

Last Saturday, at Key Lounge, it was clear that after dancing to Fitzgerald Simfukwe, Sam Simakweli, Maskal, Lulu and Skeffa Chimoto with competing dancing theatrics, the audience had to cool off just to appreciate and listen to the controversial dub reggae poetry piece ‘LIFE’ the title track of Lucius Banda’s latest album on parade.

With Key Lounge, Mzuzu’s starvation will no longer be felt as besides all forms of entertainment; it is becoming a musical haven.

Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

Key Lounge: Musical Haven


There is a hot argument on going at the moment.
Between Tigris and Maskal, who performed more sublimely than the other at the Big Brother Show? This is the question that has sparked this debate.
You would be wondering where the people that argues so much about this issue ever saw the performance from. But all was viewed through a Television set.
And this has been the case for residents in Mzuzu where they have known most of our local artists, through the television.
Before a local entrepreneur Trouper Thindwa came to Mzuzu to establish Key Lounge, residents were yet to see this dude Maskal and Urbanites Star Tigris.
Now music which is supposed to be enjoyed and appreciated, can not only be felt through a screen, more so with computer manipulation that is so common with music productions, audio and video alike, and there is always a need for a live performance of sorts to give the pudding some proof of taste.
This, people of Mzuzu never had. The result was either an illusion of who our musicians are or an extrusion of a music which was not theirs.
Ever since its establishment, Key Lounge has paraded all the stars that matter in the urban music cycles now. Tay Grin, Tigris, Theo Thomson, Maskal, name them…
Then we have the old timer himself Lucius Banda, man of the moment Skeffa Chimoto, ever green Lulu who have also graced the venue; in fact just last week-end Lucius Banda used Key Lounge to launch his album ‘Life’.
There is also the Mzuzu giants Body, Mind and Soul who are spending much of their time mesmerising patrons occasionally.
Trouper says he loves music, to begin with, and he loves his home which is Mzuzu and he would not have left it continue being starved of entertainment.
He hires the artists in what he terms ‘a win-win situation’ because while the artists get their fees, he also boosts sells for the restaurant and bar that is part of the Key Lounge.
There is also one more thing the north is set to be enjoying with the posture that Trouper has taken; he intends to bring the most sought after International artists, who, most of the times will only perform in Lilongwe and Blantyre and then fly back.
Key Lounge is now set to host some of such artists starting in summer.
Mzuzu does not have many such places that would host musicians. The then only available place Boma Park at the hotel, which also hosted a day album launch by Lucius Banda last Sunday is said to be restrictive.
Restrictive because one has to cough a whooping K75, 000 for a single show and in this case a Calculator brings some figure that fails to give you any business sense and the option the artist has been taking is to shun the region.
Mzuzu fans are offered an opportunity to sample live performance and appreciate the talent. Like the argument about Tigris and Maskal at the Big Brother Show, north has always argued if the artists we listen to are either stage performers or studio geeks who cheat through the computer as if they are accomplished musicians.
Now with their invitation to be hosted at Key Lounge, they have gained an exposure in the region. This has also helped a lot as it has managed to market their music.
Music at the Key Lounge is also sampled both ways, where it is danced to as well as listened to in an appreciation of its musicality.
There was at one time a general worry that musicians only perform to a danceable crowd and such comes with noise that is mistaken for music.
Such reception has had difficulties to surmount elements that are hard to please as artists have discovered to their dismay that occasionally they would run into a situation where their set, while nearly always well-received by the crowd and lots of fun for them, is only about not hundred percent “danceable.”

In the process some of the artists’ unique and intricate original songs that are not a regular highly danceable crowd pleaser has ended up getting more heckle that applause.

The Key Lounge has managed to create such great atmosphere where both have a comfy reception.

Last Saturday, at Key Lounge, it was clear that after dancing to Fitzgerald Simfukwe, Sam Simakweli, Maskal, Lulu and Skeffa Chimoto with competing dancing theatrics, the audience had to cool off just to appreciate and listen to the controversial dub reggae poetry piece ‘LIFE’ the title track of Lucius Banda’s latest album on parade.

With Key Lounge, Mzuzu’s starvation will no longer be felt as besides all forms of entertainment; it is becoming a musical haven.

Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

Nameless Sitting on a BOMB!


‘Nameless’ is something that, the Kenyan of the ‘Sinzia’ fame who has no name or our own three Urban Stars who are collectively known by it would not lay claim to, because there is no name.
The absence of name does not however, say there is also an absence of purpose, implication or reason.
Do you remember ‘K-Shii and Bobo’ and later ‘China’? These are the types of songs that are indicative that Nameless is amongst groups that have their signature on the biggest hip-hop tracks in the country.
Now, one of the Nameless trio, Chikondi Kangulu who trades as ‘Aimor’ is following the route that the Jamaican Joseph Hills took.
Remember, Culture started as Jamaican roots reggae group founded in 1976 known as the African Disciples.
The Culture trio composed Joseph Hill on lead vocals while Albert Walker and Kenneth Dayes were backing vocalists. Later in their careers, Joseph Hills went solo with albums like ‘Trust Me’, ‘One Stone’, and ‘Humble Africa’ where he still adopted the name Culture while doing it alone.
Aimor of Nameless has also finished work on his solo album ‘5 O Jaka’.
Let me stay longer on the title album first. Hip-Hop is one musical genre that either promotes or is the cradle of the new coined words that drive our communities.
No one can fight it because; it is only a vibrant community that would keep on coining new words. If our fore fathers who died in 1920s would resurrect today, they would have problems understanding anything from the youths they would meet in the streets on Blantyre.
Lately, music has been used as the vehicles to propel such new coined words. Like with this album ‘ku Jacka’ is a word used in the streets meaning, ‘to jack up’ another word that was coined in the streets of the US and reached Malawi through the American hip-hop music.
‘5 O Jacka’ therefore means ‘5 jacked up ones’ based on a Parable of the Ten Virgins, also known as the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins, a well known parable of Jesus according to Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13.
Five virgins prepared for the bridegroom’s arrival are rewarded and the five who are not prepared are excluded and the eschatological theme in that parable demonstrates to us all to be prepared for the Day of Judgment.
AIMOR with his album “5 O Jacka” is also bring a similar message, although under the name label NAMELESS as he says he is not ready to surprise those that follow his music under Nameless, with his showbiz name of Aimor but by and by he hopes to make it with the Aimor name.
The Nameless have two albums under their belt but listening to Aimor’s 12 tracks album I discovered that Aimor who has taken more than 12 months producing the album is sitting on a bomb.
The track number 02 in the album called “Mfunda Wako” which he did with Maskal is something that would explode in the faces of those that either passionately or disinterestedly follows Malawi’s Hip-hop urban music.
There are several big hits in the album and the most innovative step taken in the album is collaboration with several artists.
The title track ‘5 O Jacka’, Aimor has done it himself while its remix has been done with Renegade; then other one to watch is the track he has collaborated with Dan Lu “Nanga Ndi chani”.
But I can declare here without fear or favour that the track ‘Lokoma” which he did with Fugie Kasipa will be the biggest hit in the album. This one will make all those that are in for our urban music and those that would not miss Fugie Kasipa for anything in the world, to rush for. It is one track that cannot let you get tired on the dance floor.
Its rhyming lyrical content is something that would also push you to the edge. By our urban hip-hop standards this track is simply finicky even to the most fastidious ear.
Track number 10, ‘Friend’s Gal’ done with Genii Black, ‘Pressure’ done with Laurita is some love pieces that would rock lovers, big time. The same is the case with ‘Mbiri Yako’ featuring Laurita and Sonye.
Ceezy Raymo has not been left out as he is appearing in the track ‘Ma Gentleman’; but while this one has controversial message ‘Fre-Enemy’ which features little known ‘Sibweni’ with such Tumbuka words, more so because Aimor is now based in Mzuzu is one interesting track which is a fusion of Hip-hop and Ragga.
No wonder Aimor is bringing some self glorification in a rightly titled track, ‘Done it all’ where he says he feels like he has done it all. This clearly shows that Aimor is the one who used to bring controversy to Nameless productions that saw tracks like ‘China’ banned from some radio stations.
This album, ‘5 O Jacka’ another Slash Clip studio production is one album that has to be on the market soon, the longer Aimor sits on it the more time bombs in it will explode right on his lap.
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

Lucius Banda’s Life in 1 Hour 19 Minutes


One hour and 19 Minutes is the time that it takes one to listen to Lucius Banda’s latest album from the first track ‘Okondedwa’ throughout the other tracks to the last one, which is the title track ‘LIFE’ that has awaken the censorship board bull dogs.
Listening to the 15 tracks, one would still be left with the same Lucius Banda aftertaste.
The track ‘LIFE’ which is taking after the trademark that Lucius impresses on his album is what is in reggae known as ‘Dub Reggae Poetry’ styled after the Mutabaruka or Linton Kwesi Johnson productions in this regard.
First, let’s listen to the genres employed in the tracks ‘Okondedwa’, ‘Chikondi cha Ndalama’, ‘Tikamalira’, ‘Nsanje Ichepe’, which is reggae in play until ‘Matamando’, which has some disco elements.
Before I talk about the choice of genre in this aspect, let’s look at the other genres in the other tracks ‘Wadwalika’ which features Moses Makawa, for example. This one as expected is taking after ‘Kalata Yachiwiri’ which he featured Thomas Chibade.
In this track, Lucius’ complete departure of what we know of him makes you think the song should be ‘Wadwalika’ by Moses Makawa featuring Lucius Banda.
‘Du na-na’ featuring Tay Grin, has the confusion starting with the title of track. It has employed the pure Tay Grin trademark relating to Nyau beat that has made the hip-hop star cut his place as a traditionalist hip-hop artist.
‘Stacey’ featuring Chisomo, is a soft and gliding track which keeps you to catch your breath if you consider the journey through life that starts with the first track. I am impressed with this track because some of the lines that Chisomo brings were created right in front on my nose.
I had gone to talk with Lucius at Nyimbo Studios in Area 15 on this day when I found him recording this track. After listening to it, he just took a pen and a paper and added some lines and asked Chisomo to do them over and over again while we talked.
He reminded me of how Bob Marley used to produce some of his songs, where something that will only feature in a minute long song for 20 seconds will make the song delay for the whole month just to achieve the perfection that was already in place in his mind.
‘Amasowa’, track number 9 in the album, continues this soft tempo that tend to calm the nerves as the vocals and instrumentation both meet into a soft rolling soul.
‘Mamvera-mvera’ is a traditionally Malawi –Zambia genre because I have seen that artists from both side of the borders like to take after this beat. It is the kind that does not let you unprovoked when you are on a dance floor.
‘One More Chance’ which Lucius features 3rd Eye is a tradition pop genre which has managed to wear a local and foreign element with 3rd Eye hip-hop sprinkle.
‘Ndiwe Wanga’ featuring Mahlabe is a fusion of South African and Malawian beats which has created a half-caste genre which would still get a welcome in the two countries and even in other countries where it can pay a visit.
‘Pukuta Misonzi’ is a Tchopa track the type Lucius calls Malawian beat which he promised in the past would dominate his albums but failed to keep it.
‘Sendera Annie’ for whatever reasons is a love classic that is moving me on my seat every time I am listening to it and now I remember, the reason is because I also witnessed its production at Nyimbo studios.
Now, the traditional dub reggae poetry in ‘LIFE’ is the same one that pushed Lucius Banda closer to former President Dr. Bakili Muluzi.
Muluzi’s philosophy was; get your enemy closer to you so that they fail to plot your downfall a further.
Unlike his predecessor, Prof. Bingu wa Mutharika don’t want to see his enemies within vicinity and no wonder Lucius Music, which remained banned for sometime before it started getting back, will now see no light of the MBC day.
In all, the lyrical content of all the tracks except for a few, which is meant to be fancy other than communicate, the message is so powerful. If you will not like the beat you will not fail to fall for the message.
The clever aspect in this album is the collaboration with other artists.
But in other songs like ‘One More Chance’ I think it is meant to dupe the followers of local hip-hop genre, the featured 3rd Eye, seems, was in a hurry and did not give his all, the same is the case with Tay Grin, who despite his signature written all over the ‘Du na-na’ he does not come with his all.
Like most of Lucius Banda albums, ‘LIFE’ is not amongst his powerful work of art, it has failed to reach the bar that he has set for himself. I have said on these pages that my most powerful Lucius Banda album is ‘Survivors’ I am still waiting to see what will beat it.
This album, like most, will take its way into the market because it will be advertised by government’s resistance to let it play freely. It will wait until people got used to it before they can start buying it while with ‘Survivors’ or ‘Son of a Poor Man’ it sold by sheer ingenuity that was imprinted in them.
Nonetheless, if you are a collector and if you want to believe or disbelieve Lucius who once declared he has stopped singing politics, buy one CD copy which is going at a thousand kwacha.
Feedback: drummingpen@columnist.com

When Mutharika Honours Musicians Part II


Last week, we stopped a process where we were appreciating the reasons that 8 musicians were honoured during the Independence Anniversary Celebrations in Mzuzu on July 6. We stopped while looking at Joseph Nkasa.
Another Principal Achiever is the Late Mr. Michael Fredrick Paul Sauka.
I think this honour has come too late considering that even on the day that Mutharika was sworn in, it was this Sauka-composed-national anthem that was performed several times.
It is also debatable whether or not Sauka deserved a Principal Achiever Honour or needed a Grand Achiever accolade.
But the answers would be gotten, perhaps in the short citation that accompanied the honour.
He was born 1934 and in his life time he showed a unique talent both as a composer and pianist.
He played music which became a big part of his life as it helped him emerge as one of the greatest musicians in the early 1960’s.
His musical exploits include composing the Malawi National Anthem, Mulungu Dalitsani Malawi Oh God Bless Malawi, which was chosen through a stiff and highly competitive process involving Malawian and non-Malawian composers.
He also pioneered the formation of the then renowned Blantyre City Recreation Fine and Performing arts group besides composing numerous pieces for the MBC Band and Limbe Cathedral Choir.
Sauka also used the performing arts group, to undertake development and health outreach mobilization programmes. He is also honoured for his ability to balance singing and teaching artists in music literacy and performance, thereby advancing his knowledge of music to the next generation.
Then there came another Late, Assistant superintendent Jordan Jika who was also honoured as a Principal Achiever for serving with honour integrity as a professional musician during the thirty-eight year period he served in the Malawi Police Force between 1951 and 1989.
He is the founding member of the Malawi Broadcasting Corporation Band besides composing music still being played by the Malawi Police Band.
He served professionally for Police Band Branch before and after independence; and was awarded Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
Equally another man in Jika’s shoes is the late father to Vice President Joyce Banda who is no stranger on these pages who retired as Assistant Superintendent Gray John Stewart Mtila. He was also decorated with a Principal Achiever honour.
Mtila joined the Nyasaland Police Force in 1946 and rose through the ranks until his retirement in 1980 and during his service he attended a course at the Associated Board of School of Music in the United Kingdom.
The citations described him as a popular person regarded as one of the best Drum Majors in his time.
He Composed music still being played by the Malawi Police Band and is said to have served professionally in both the Nyasaland Police Band and the Malawi Police Force Band Sections.
Assistant Superintendent Mtila received the Malawi Independence Medal in 1965, the Malawi Republic Medal in 1966) and Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1968.
The one who got a low rank honour with a Senior Achiever is the song bird Ethel Kamwendo Banda a Musician who started her music career in 1980 when she joined her brothers and Sister Beatrice in Kamwendo Brothers Band. The citations says this was a very popular band at wedding and social events
She is honoured for surviving a male dominated secular music industry at challenging times besides being a great personality who arranges her stage choreography very well during performances.
She successfully switched from secular to gospel music artist in 1999 and has, since then, remained poplar and that she has been participating in outreach missions of the Living Waters international Church.
Her music receives acclaim both locally and internationally and this added up on the reasons that made her get the award.
I have deliberately brought forth, reasons that made our musicians to receive a legally provided for honours. I ask you readers and listeners of good music from our talented musicians that who else has been left out on the list of honours. I do not want to contest the reasons at this point.
Feedback : drummingpen@columnist.com