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

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