Some ‘musical nothings’ is what I want to talk about today; some ‘musical nothings’ about musical composition as well as video production in the Gospel zone of our music industry.
It is all I want to dwell on this week, not that it is an urgent matter that requires immediate attention, but just some serious observations that require no or any action from anyone ‘To Whom It May Concern’.
Thoko Katimba’s Musical Stories
I want to start discussing compositions of Gospel artist Thoko Katimba who, I learn very late that is a man like.
If you listen to Katimba’s composition you will realize that such compositions can neither be mistaken for a paean nor a canticle.
I am not an authority to dismiss Thoko’s music writing style because apparently it looks like it has clicked with most of those that have ended up to love his music.
I would not want to dwell on what music scholars will say about bringing a novel in a track, but Katimba has managed to find it easy to bring a whole novel just in one song within an album of several tracks.
There was a time when I discussed over here some years ago that Joseph Nkasa’s one track in his album can be split into ten tracks that can complete an album.
Meaning; in the ten songs that Nkasa compiles into an album, know that there is a potential of creating 100 songs out of them. Again meaning, Nkasa is so talented that he is able to compress or is it abridge 10 albums into one.
Now, Thoko Katimba will tell you a story about ‘Tagwiranji’, ‘Ndizayimbabe’, ‘Banja Lokondwa’, ‘Ndili ndi Mafunso’, ‘Dziko ndi Lovuta’, ‘Undilo’ or ‘Mlendo’ where he would explain the set up of the story, the plot and its climax and anticlimax as novel critics will tell you.
He would tell a story in these songs and correlate it with what Jesus is expecting from those that believe in him.
Of course the stories in Thoko Katimba’s songs are unlike some verbose that is packed in Joe Gwaladi’s tracks which leaves you more confused than before you had listened to his music as it tells you more about the trouble brewing in the artist’s head than the message that his music is trying to emit.
Most song writers prefer to take the poetic route when composing, more so because the prose is not wordy and besides the instrumentation, they tend to create some catchy ‘chorus’
By the end of the day, what it means is that only those that have the whole time in the world can sit down and listen to his songs.
I cannot cast not even cast the smallest of stones to change the musical approach of Katimba because he has chosen to present it in this way, but I can only advise him to try to reduce story telling in his next albums to please even the fastidious ears that faults anything and everything that is regarded as music.
Vain Glorious Favoured Sisters
I wish I had better way of explaining this but, I guess since these are religious issues I am going to be pardoned in the spirit of Biblical teachings.
Favoured Sisters are a favourite of amany gospel lovers and secular patrons alike.
I don’t intend to dwell more on how or why they decided to produce video songs that are a demonstration of vain Glory than it is for praising and Worship God.
There is more like a fashion show or a fashion Television in the way the two favoured sisters carry out their business when they are appearing in their gospel tracks of the two.
The choice of shooting the videos must also show that those behind its production are innovative. People have been given a raw deal sometimes as artists believe people will still patronize the crap they mistaken for gospel music because it is carrying God or Jesus’ name.
Now let me reproduce views of one reader for Drumming Pen:
Hie Prof. Zungwala,
First and foremost I would like to inform you that I follow the Drumming Pen with keen interest. It’s a very catching column.
Keep it up.
My plea however is to request you [with due respect] to tackle on why many bands/solo artists are forsaking the use of wind-instruments.
Back in the days we had musicians who didn’t believe in coming up with mediocre music. Saxophones, trumpets etc were always available live on stage. It’s no longer the case now. The majority of these new crop musicians are comfortable doing it ‘the easier- way.’
The question is: Why?
Listen to “Too Many Rains Ago” by Kalimba, “Zonse Zimene Za-Kamuzu Banda” by MBC Band & Chichiri Queens and you will notice what I mean.
We need more Dan Sibales in our musical circles. Progress is not just about making strides—it’s about making positive strides.