Do we have DJs in Malawi?


Mostof the readers of this page will remember that I have a colleague Limbani ‘LC’Chaguluka who is so knowledgeable in as far as Malawi’s Hip-hop music isconcerned.

Ionce asked him a question if at all in Malawi there is a music Disc Jockey orshortened to a DJ. Below is the response that he gave me:
“Friday following under 19 soccer games atKanjedza Full primary school ground, in Limbe. I checked the time; it wasexactly 4:15 in the afternoon.
Unconsciously I started rushing home to findChayipa Hiwa’s musical show, still in its infancy. 
I re-tuned the MBC radio to get the bestfrequency, despite being the only radio station in the land. 
Father MC Song ‘I will do it for you’ wasbeing played, then followed by Monie lovie hit single entitled ‘It’s ashame’. 
Chayipa Hiwa who  was then  known in showbiz  circles   as DJ Cha was one of the  DJ’s then, acquainted and knowledgeable playing  Hip hop  tunes seldom in the years between  1988 to1992.
Irrespective of being  called DJ’s  then,  most of the radio  presenters who took the initiative of playing urban and Hip hop songs , whoincluded  Danny P(Daniel Phiri)  , The late Philip Mwala Moyo,  and Gerald Nyamacherenga,  did not qualify to be called DJ’s in the first place.
The reason was basically that, they were not‘turntablists’’.  A turntablesim is definedas the art of manipulating sounds and creating music using Vinyl turntablesystem or record player in simple expression. This art ultimatelydifferentiates between a DJ and a music presenter.
Nevertheless, despite these short comings,especially in mixing the records  andusing the DJ as their  title when hostingtheir musical programmes, Chayipa Hiwa, showbiz name  Dj Cha, the late Phillip Mwala Moyo, and Martin Chilimampunga have to beapplauded for taking the initiative of playing the first Malawian Hip hopsongs.
The late Phillip Mwala Moyo show   ‘Nyimbo za Achinyamata’   changed the whole landscape  and propelled Malawian Hip hop songs, which took even 3 months  before youcould listen to one on MBC  radio.
Mwala Moyo, I recall was the firstDj/Presenter   to play one of the firstMalawian Hip hop songs on radio in the land back then.
Tapps Bandawe’s song   shuwamagaye mabebi  nonse “  line, still resonates  in  my head  when I first heard  therecord   back  then, while I was still in elementary school.
It was unheard of for a song of that nature to beplayed on MBC radio in early 90’s.  Thenslowly  Malawian hip hop songsstarted  flooding the airwaves ,masterminded and  orchestrated by  the late Mwala Moyo , who once again needs to  be applauded enormously  for  start of the  long walk of thisgenre , which is mostly ridiculed  asnoisy and senseless  by most people,  who are not able to understand  the poetry ingrained  in these songs.
Of course, it would be difficult  todefend  the state of  hip hop today ,as the culture has been invadedby  corporations and otherentrepreneurs,  who   have more power  in changing thedirection of messages in the songs to promote their own agendas, primarilywhich is making profit  over  the essence of  the songs .
DJ Danny ‘p’ showbiz name Daniel Phiri played hisrole as well in promoting songs done by Mzuzu Rap group   Boyz Layz  who made their impact, driven by UNICEF’s   Aids awareness campaign targeting the youth.
Talented lyrical genius Criminal-A   song titled “Guess who is back” was instantclassic. The song was a regularly on ‘Nyimbo za Achinyamata’ as it was wayahead of its time in terms of lyrics and production.
Ten years down the line, year 1999, finallyMalawi has a true DJ.  Yes, I amreferring to someone who can be creative with sounds, breaking and scratchingrecords to produce the unique sounds accustomed to Hip hop.
The Dr was scratching and mixing records at will,a talent which is not common among presenters or the so called DJ’s.  Gwynz aka Dr Gwynz did set a benchmark forDJ’s rules and principles, which every inspiring DJ was aiming at. 
Irrespective of  being renowned as  Hip hop DJ, Gwynz could  mix and break different  music genres,  without being  afraid of crossing  the lines. Ultimately Malawi had true‘turntablist’.
 At thattime, Comrades, the first rappers in Malawi to fuse hip hop with Malawianheritage, whom later changed their name to ‘Khamuladzi’, were being recognisedby the hip hop enthusiasts as the most conscious Malawian hip hop group to evergrace the culture. 
DJ Gwynz took the opportunity by  breakingand mixing  their popular song   ‘Africa’  in a cleverest way which I have never heard of, truly cementing hisreputation as a true ‘turntables’.
So what’s, the significance of a DJ, especiallyHip hop DJ?   Deejaying  is one important element of hip hop, as such people who are given theresponsibility of  playing hip hoprecords, be it on radio stations, clubs or hip hop shows are  suppose be wellacquainted   with  history of the culture. 
Shortfalls in the knowledge of the culture by theDJ’s can led to negative repercussions, in regards to the depth of songs beingplayed.
Most young people listen to hip hop, hence  DJ’s must be well informed to play songs which can inspire and compel  young people to their  dreams, not conversely, since negativity is prevalent in some hip hop songs.
The legendary Krs-One once defined  Hip hop as “Her  Infinite powers helpOppressed People” , as such  Hip hopmusic should not glorify delinquency  or malpractices dueto nature of songs played or  promoted bythe DJ’s.  DJ’s are face of hip hop,incompetent DJ will ruin the fundamentals of the culture.”
Feedback:drummingpen@columnist.com
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About Gregory Gondwe - Malawi Best Blogger 2014

Gregory Gondwe is a Malawian journalist who started practising journalism in 1993. Until March 31, 2012 he was regional editor and bureau chief for Zodiak Broadcasting Station (ZBS). Gregory is also a media consultant assisting several international journalists pursuing assignments in Malawi. He holds a Diploma of Journalism and an Intermediate Certificate in Journalism among other media-related certificates. He is also columnist for Malawi's first and oldest weekly, Malawi News. He can be contacted on gregorygondwe@gmail.com.
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