Last time I talked about secular and gospel music here, it was in a way that I ruffled a few feathers.
The talk then dwelt on music and belief and a week later, it was followed by a discussion where I looked at what it takes to be a secular or a gospel musician.
Perhaps for the benefit of those that missed the two discussions I can remind you a little bit.
I first tried to look at what started first, between music and religion, and failed to find an outright answer as it was like figuring out the egg and hen enigma.
I could not provide an out-and-out answer as a result, and refused to attempt to be knowledgeable.
The final conclusion then which is still one very clear thing is that music is an integral part of most religions or beliefs.
In the risk of failing to prove its historicity, I had concluded that it was apparent that music preceded religion if assertions that music started when men were trying to imitate birds is anything to go by.
But I had a big headache when I tried to look at how one becomes to be known as Secular and Gospel sections of musicians in the country.
Then the gist of the discussion was the condemnation of artists like Geoffrey Zigoma who were driven by gluttony to move from the ship of gospel musicians one minute, before jumping into one for the secular musicians the other minute.
It was clear and still is that the problem that is killing Malawi’s nascent music industry is the artists’ struggle to do something without knowing what they want to become.
Mentality is of essence when any one person decides to venture into music; lack of it only proves the saying ‘garbage in, garbage out’ unnecessarily true. Let me reproduce what I wrote then:
Songbird Ethel Kamwendo Banda started from secular terrain before jumping ship to join the gospel fray, she has never changed.
I have considered her age and influence from her elderly siblings and the stereotypes that used to haunt female musicians at the time she launched her career – or is it her secular career. These factors failed to prepare her mentally or her mentality was all but botched-up and this is why her girlish credulity decided which line of music she had to belong to while maturity charted her gospel route eventually.
Now exists Mrs. Banda, enters self-acclaimed Honjo inventor San B. He launched his career as a secular artist, and along the way, I thing he did a number of best hits but one I would want to dwell on is what I still consider as a master piece which goes like ‘Mukanena kuti Ha!Ha! Halleluja! Inu muziti Amen, akulu ampingo amve…!” This was however, the turning point for San B.
In the first place, he innocently did a secular song that touched on the gospel and depending on what one wanted to believe, this was either a gospel piece or a secular piece. San B bought the gospel sense and declared himself a gospel artist.
Whether he wants to believe it or not, when he became a gospel artist he lost his music panache. Interestingly Christianity like all other beliefs somehow is enemy to reality. It finds a way to hide truth by bringing in the underhand of Lucifer.
I am saying this because San B and his new gospel followers would think Satan is using me to discourage him from continuing the ‘blessed’ missionary work he has started. But my stand is he was the best when he had secular sense when doing his music than now when he is spreading gospel through his ‘honjo’ brainchild.
However, what could be an interesting aspect is perhaps a little recall to where we are coming from as a nation that came to grips with a penchant for good music. You remember when the Joseph Nangalembes, the Robert Fumulanis used to rule the airwaves, was there any divisions like secular and gospel artists.
Would you therefore say Nangalembe was not doing God’s work? Is being secular pursuit of evil? Do we perhaps realize that God can try to change a person to follow His ways by perfecting the person’s social being by using music to do this? And obviously musicians would be involved to achieve this?
Well, I might seem to be digressing, but my point is that musical talent that is in the artists is endowed as the artists sense it; it should therefore not be compromised to please anyone.
All what has prompted this is that a few months ago some gospel artists refused to perform with the so called secular artists at Blantyre Sports Club on the basis that their colleagues are ungodly.
Was this action justifiable, more especially coming from people who claim to be Christians whose duty is supposed to help sinners attain salvation?
Do they have the mandate to judge? And is it right to categorize our artists as gospel musicians just because they mention GOD OR JESUS in their songs?
I remember when Alleluya Band led by Sir. Paul Banda started performing in beer drinking places, eyebrows were raised. But as Jesus said, they equally said they were taking the gospel right to places where it was never given.