Malawi is a comical country to belong to. Its people are full of pretence. They will always bring a facade on almost everything they do. You believe what you see out of your own peril.
The story of Snowden Ibu is one typical example of such pathetic pretence. The country waits the day that this acoustic vibes master will come out and tell us that he has cancer and then the bells of recognition will ring at the same time before they will die out and bring out an intimidating dearth.
You don’t believe me? Look no further than at Stonard Lungu to know what I mean.
Lungu sang for us in all his life time and until cancer struck him, everyone else wanted to pretend to suggest how best he could be helped. The frustrating thing with Malawi is that they will give out millions of Kwacha for the ruling People’s Party night and only talk on what Lungu can do to raise money. We will help those that are not in need at all but let the helpless to find their way out of their financial or health maze, by themselves.
Having failed to elicit any positives from his begging bowl to have his cancer treated, Lungu was forced to go on stage to try to still perform even when he was experiencing excruciating pain in order to raise money to save his life, which was never to be.
Now, if you talk of acoustic artists that have graced our entertainment space in this country, the story will remain incomplete when it is told, minus the name, Snowden Ibu.
What is now surprising me is the revelation that even when I can recall lines of the track “Ndachita Mwayi” it is clear I listened to the music from radio MBC:
“Ndinali Kuyenda Pamseu;Tsiku Lina m’mawa
Apo ndinakumana ndi mkazi, amene ndinamulonjela
Ndinati mulibwanji; anati ndilibwino kaya inu anzanthu
Ndinamulankhula mawu; anandiyankha mokondwa,
Anati ndachita mwayi, Anati ndachita mwayi
Poyankhulidwa ndi inu bambo”
You can imagine that it is long time ago that I listened to this track, but I am still able to recall what its lyrics calls are and even the accompanying acoustic rhythm.
And to imagine that a musician of such influence, whose talent he has given to us all; soothing us with his music since 1969 when he began his career, he has no penny to show for it; how more heart breaking can it get.
It is even unbelievable that this acoustic maestro does not have a physical album that you can find on any shelve, be it in homes, or music libraries in the country, because he cannot afford one. Aren’t we a big joke as a country?
To start with, Musicians Association of Malawi should, at least, by now have been enforcing a deliberate policy to promote artist that have been tried and tested like Ibu.
By this time, the association should have been trembling in its wake at every mention of musicians like Mr. Ibu. He is the kind of guy whose musical pedigree only equals the figures that have long died; the likes of Allan Namoko, Lungu, Daniel Kachamba etc.
Zodiak Radio owner Gospel Kazako had a project that gave posthumous honour to fallen venerated Allan Namoko. He built him a tomb.
Now looking at the case of Ibu, you might be tempted to wrongly think that if people like Mr. Kazako cannot assist the likes of Mr. Ibu now, maybe he might, once they (the likes of the Ibu) kick a bucket?
When is the best time to help? I don’t know.
The second problem from where to look at the problem is on the lack of musical labels or companies worth their salt.
A genuine music firm will surely sign artists like Mr. Ibu knowing that their ware is not difficult to sell because they already have a foundation, unlike artists who are trying to break even.
Now, unless, people rush to assist the immensely talented when they are in need, they better stop whining when they are dead and give us useless eulogies on what great they would have achieved had they lived more.
Lucius Banda, Anthony Makondesa, Black Missionaries
When Lucius Banda, Anthony Makondesa and The Black Missionaries descend to town with a new album, there is always scampering for a copy, of course others run around to pirate the musical products.
But the effect of each of the three individuals’ new release is magical, to say the least.
Now imagine that the three of them decide to release their new albums at the same time, would it really not confuse the consumers and compromise the benefits to be accrued out of such products?
Added to all this is the question of economic hardships the country is currently experiencing, would the average person who is the dedicated patron afford to cough K4500 [Assuming each is selling at K1500 each] just to own the music at this point in time.