Bingo’s Uchi Lingo
Those who religiously follow Malawi music will remember Ishmael Dapalapa. He has been band leader for several Mzuzu based bands before he made headlines when he stormed the inaugural E-wallet.
I happen to have known Ishmael Dapalapa Mhango long before his musical exploits and when he released an album which never faired encouragingly on the market, I encouraged him never to give up, considering how frustrating the local music market is and how it is good at killing talent right in its bud.
I saw so much talent in the lad. But he never took heed. He trekked down to South Africa and I felt disenchanted because in my heart I said here is another lost talent.
Meanwhile, there was his young brother Bright Mhango who was busy with school stuff and although occasionally he would follow his brother to do some musical performances. I thought he was just a casual artist.
Now he got so serious with his talent that he adopted a showbiz name Bingolingo – Bi for Bright and ngo from the surname Mhango and Lingo for language.
He released his debut album ‘Issues’; a 12-track multi-genre album with tracks coming in different forms that include rhythm and blues, Afro, reggae, hip-hop and local beat where unlike many artists of other tribes other than Chewa, he infused his chiTumbuka mother tongue in his tracks, of course with chiChewa sprinkled here and there.
In earnest, I would say he never chanced what is known as ‘beginner’s luck’ because many must be wondering who Bingolingo is.
The inaugural album has tracks like Kaswenga, Stay, Heart Broken, Sibwene, Ndiwe Wane, Mama, Napulika, Timakondana, Ndidziwe, Ndiwe Wekha, Never Let You Go and Sindingathe and you can tell the rich vein of talent but more so the lack of maturity in other tracks.
If you log on www.reverbnation.com/bingolingoMW you will listen to the album.
You could tell that here is a lad with a golden voice but could not manage to ostensibly utilise it to his musical advantage.
I am the best untrained ear in the business and still hoped the best was yet to come from the young Dapalapa.
Now considering that it was in 2011 that he realised this album, now he has managed to release five tracks Uchi, She is trapped, Make you my wife, Pavuta Pano and Wahneeitorah muwteeimah in the forthcoming album ‘Mwachaje Satafuna’.
With these singles, now he has made me to listen to the Bingo Language with some serious attention. The ‘Bingolingo’ has added wise and unique words in its vocabulary.
Buoyed up by the revs he has received on the internet and perhaps in the local media, he has become mature in his approach. I am still in a state of disbelief that this young chap I have looked down upon as he was being overshadowed by his big brother has finally swayed me.
If you have been exposed to lover’s rock reggae genre, Uchi is one such track that will only be betrayed by the chiChewa lyrics that has been used. Remove the chiChewa words you would think it’s a Jamaican reggae beat or in other words you would think it is the Frank Paul type. In this track, you are left salivating for more such like tracks.
I must make my confession to demonstrate how attractive the track is. Two weeks ago, I was unable to report for work because I was sick. I asked my sister to escort me to a health facility and she came to pick me in her car (I am justified to mention this). We exchanged pleasantries and in the background a radio was playing and I was not curious to establish which radio it was.
But then when the reggae beat started playing, it got me startled and while my sister kept on rattling on, unbeknownst to her that she had lost me completely to the music and I now paid 100 percent attention to catch the back announcement to ascertain who is behind it, having realised it was Malawian.
It was going: Uchi-uchi uchi uchi uchi; uchi m’patse nlawe. Uchi-uchi uchi uchi uchi; uchi ndiwe sugar-sugar. Uchi-uchi uchi uchi uchi; uchi ndiwe super-super.
And the ensuing rhyming verses left me in appreciation of how playful he has been with the lyrics and how tight the backing instrumentation is. It is a simplistic approach to a sophisticated production that sticks to mind and that make children ably mimic it endlessly.
The DJ even said, I think this will be another street anthem and I can’t agree more.
There is also a track Pavuta Pano and if you are a Dan Lufani fan you would think this is his latest track only to be flabbergasted by the use of chiTumbuka.
The singles have also a redone version of Wanitola Mtima renamed as ‘Wahneeitorah muwteeimah’ where he mixed Wambali Mkandawire type of beat with R’n’B showing some incredible innovation.
But just to show how unsure he is with music even with such talent he works at Blue Financial Services as a quality assurance officer and still pursuing an accounting course. How painful!
Simply put, the Bingo language has really started making much sense. Please try to catch up with him; seriously you will not be disappointed.