The Blacks and their wobbling dream


The Blacks and their wobbling dream
The Black Missionaries, that band founded by Evison Matafale and with a short successful stint with Msamude Fumulani says now that it is about to release its 9th Kuimba album, it is destined to tour the world.
Read me right, ‘to tour the world’. And Ray Harawa the Manager for the Black Missionaries says the tour is not only in South Africa or Zambia, but in Europe and the US.
Last time the band managed to have an international tour was when its mentor, sponsor, manager and sometimes producer Foster Mijiga was alive. It went to Namibia and staged a number of performances. We have music videos that were made from the trip for all to see.
Tours of the nature as dreamt by The Blacks Manager Harawa are not cheap. I know that in Malawi bands, yes, most institutions operate without any strategic plan. The Blacks are without one, I can bet my head on a chopping board.
I have heard bands in this country, musicians here in Malawi, telling our gullible media all sorts wish-wash which is projected in form of a story. Some have even said they are planning to perform in Jamaica with their mediocre reggae and as a media we have taken it up and published their dreams as stories.
Worst still, we realised later that we had goofed and felt ashamed to even go back to the artists to find out what happened to their international tour.
Good example is the story that said the Blacks will go international with Kuimba 9, I wished the band’s manager was taken to task to state clearly how this is going to be achieved.
Do they have a steady sponsor elsewhere? Who is the sponsor? Do they know how the musical shows in the UK or US are done? What is their firm for the international tour? I really would not buy anything from Harawa if he says, he is the one organising the bookings and all that kind of stuff from Malawi.
The other thing to know is that The Black Missionaries is the whole band that has Anjilu and Chizondi Fumulani, Takudziwani and Paul Chokani, Peter Amidu, Yanjanani Chumbu and of course Anthony Makondetsa, who makes the show worthy its value.
If the band were to take to the international road, do they have logistical preparations to take care of all the band members and ensure that the audiences out there get optimum delivery from each band member.
Our musicians that have gone to the UK [and not the US] to perform have unfortunately performed before their cousins and concubines who are living there and not such venerated venues like the Sanctuary Music Arena for example. The reason is they don’t have what it takes. Well, I am not saying this, but so they think.
They have never had an opportunity where they could link up with events managers of international repute to project their dreams into reality.
We have never had our artist or the so called promoters doing their jobs right.
After all, if you check on the internet about this band this is what you will get:
“Black Missionaries are a popular reggae band from the African country of Malawi.
The Black Missionaries are primarily active in the city of Blantyre, and members reside in Chileka.
The band had originally five members, namely Evison Matafale, Peter Amidu, and three of the seven sons of Robert Fumulani: Musamude, Anjilu, and Chizondi.
Currently only three of the founding members are living, after the leader and founder Evison Matafale was killed whilst in police custody in 2001, on November 7, and the death of his successor Musamude on 17 September 2007.”
What it means is that with such internet write ups like the one on Wikipedia above, The Blacks have a name in the international spheres already and all they require is a manager who will muster enough courage to approach the people and the firms that matter in the advanced music industries and propose to them their intentions to perform there.
One thing which is very clear is that there is always ready audience in the UK and the US to sample musical stuff from Africa. It therefore becomes less problematic to strike deals for international shows.
This can be achieved if we reduce rhetorical dreams like the one told by Ray Harawa. Why am I calling it an empty dream is because it has no technical backing for its viability; where there is no such arrangement with anyone, nor is there any strategic plan in place that among other things has lined up what the Black Missionaries is set to do in 2013.
Until we get serious with our careers and until we shed off our cowardice to face the world, then we are doomed to live in shame and only perform to belligerent audience in bars across the country and die paupers…
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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