Lusubilo Band enlivens James Brown

I am a kind of person who was born very artistic, not in the creative, imaginative, inventive and arty sense, but in a recipient sense; I am a receptacle that has an affinity to everything arty. It ‘plugs’ into me like a glove into a hand.

Last Sunday I made a trip to Nanzikambe Arts Cafe in Naperi where the Karonga based youthful Lusubiro Band had organised a free-for-all performance.

I arrived when the band was playing a rock and roll track originally done by the Godfather of Soul, James Brown. The band was doing the cover version of the all time great, the anthemic “I feel good” which Rebecca Johnson Mwalwenje took it on, on vocals, and oh boy! She did it justice, albeit being a woman.

Those of you who know the voice of James Brown, especially when he used to do this track and to have a woman vocalist do it’s a cover with near perfection, then you better guess how good she has to be – more so when she is coming from Karonga. It is not all the time that I will have goose bumps when something like this is happening, but I tell you I got ‘sick’ with disbelief, that right before my eyes, a band from remote place of Karonga was indeed playing James Brown with near unblemished accomplishment.

What was intriguing was how the youthful band members showed total discipline and perfect know-how when playing this particular track and the subsequent ones that they showcased.

Of course considering that there is not much brass aspect about our musical performances these days, seeing the lads and lasses doing the Brown cover and later their own compositions with the faultless brass contribution, I wish Dan Sibale was there to appreciate that he will no longer be the lone brass star, breathing his life through the wind passage of his saxophone, devoid of the completion of the accompanying siblings in the trumpet and trombone to complete the brass trilogy.

I know Tiwonge Hango who is one of the teachers at the Music Centre of Lusubilo in Karonga is a UK trained musicologist but I really need to make a special mention of one of the band’s leading vocalists Rebecca, who has to have her own natural talent that has only being helped to surge into some variety of visibility with the establishing of the music centre.    

She has undeniable and charismatic stage presence with matching haunting stage antics. In her own right she has a very strong voice which has both technical and emotive prowess, as it is able to speedily or slowly move from pole ranges without faltering in holding notes for lengths of time with ease. 

She is an asset in that the range of her vocal capability has the good measure of the necessary weight, colour and a ‘heavy’ timbre and she was able to use it by shifting it between different registers.

Rebecca has a rare voice because it’s an admixture of Aretha Franklin in vocal range aspect and her namesake Rebecca Malope in its vocal weight and texture. It’s more than a dramatic mezzo-saprano voice type.

With the covers that they are doing, I am told before my arrival they had done perfect covers for George Michael’s ‘Careless Whisper’ and Kool and the Gang’s ‘Kool’s back again’ , there is strong hope that this will become a great musical outfit in the country.

I guess since they are at the centre, they are still going to scatter anyway and no need to bank too much for the better.

Well, while I was really impressed with their covers for James Brown, I cannot say the same thing for their tracks ‘Africa Inuka’, ‘Asimenye Yo Kyala’, ‘Kachitsa’, and ‘Kalonga’. The many years that I have stayed in Mzuzu helped me to appreciate music done by groups in the north like Body Mind and Soul as well as Kula Band.

There is a similar afro-beat strike with what Lusubilo is playing and the music that the two groups from the North I have mentioned above play who have both benefitted from the rigorous training bands undergo when they have won a final spot at regional music crossroads competition.

I was wondering, if this is also present because Tiwonge, their teacher, has ever won regional finals of the same competition when he was playing alongside his brother musician Khumbo in a band made from their first letters of their names, Tikhu Vibrations long in the days.

There is however still room of reprieve considering that the music centre is an experimental ground and just as they made me develop goose bumps with James Brown’s cover, they surely will one day make me tears fall, which is a rarity, when they will come up with perfect afro-pieces that will not sound as if they have some borrowed elements from elsewhere.

Nevertheless, when all is said and done, try to make a date with Lusubilo Band, the lads and lasses will send you spell bound and for some time they will be able to separate you from your soul, by the time it returns after the fall of the curtain, you will not be sure if you are really back in your body or somebody else’s; that how good they are.

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Bequeathing Mafunyeta objet d’art

Patrick Magalasi – A.K.A Mafunyeta – started his short journey on March 27, 1988, before succumbing to an asthmatic attack on August 11, 2013.

I don’t need to say how young he has died, considering that despite making such a huge impact amongst his peers he only has one single album to his name.

Upon his death, there has been debate in different forums arguing that, if anything, he has to be mourned because any loss of human life is a very painfully mournful experience and not because he was a musical act worthy crying for. 

Others even called him a joke of the music industry only equalling or below the skills stratum of the late Kennedy Ndoya whose showbiz name was Madolo.

I listen to a lot of music, not because I write about music over here, but because in my life, music and books have fascinated me above everything else.

I have my number one music as well as top ten favourite artists. Mafunyeta is not amongst my top ten artists but this cannot take away the fact that he deserves my respect.

As I argued elsewhere, music magnetism, sometimes behaves like love between man and a woman, where they say ‘Beauty Lies in The Eyes of The Beholder’ …

And just like others love different artists, they must know, Mafunyeta had a following and his capabilities appealed to them just as the talent of those artists that people love.

I know some artists are indeed a joke, but for the sake of respect to those that love such artists as well as the artists themselves, I would not rush to describe them and their low standard toils as Mediocre.

Mahatma Gandhi said he respected other people’s beliefs in order to appreciate his Buddhism. Likewise, I think there is supposed to be a measure of some respect towards some efforts in arts for us to be able to satisfactorily enjoy what we like.

We are able to appreciate how well or bad the artists we love are because we are able to compare them with what we despise.

I was privileged to have patronized at least two of Mafunyeta’s shows and I happen to still have kept the toils that he produced where there are the two tracks that became popular.

I appreciate Mafunyeta’s efforts because, his came from a deep imaginative abyss in the psyche, which is rarely touched in a human being’s life time.

Many people have rare talent but they may or die before using, exploring or even discovering it… Mafunyeta stumbled unto it that’s why he is even subject of our debate today.

Mafunyeta used a heavy and complete dancehall sound-set which he
affixed with lyrics in the manner that has made names like Yellow Man,
Tappa Zukie, Ripton Hilton (Eeek-a-Mouse)  or Snoopy Doggy, Busta
Rhymes etc reach as far this end as Malawi.

Now that he is dead, I have been thinking as to whom he had bequeathed his work of art.

Some while ago I wrote right here of the coincidence that led me to a discovery of dancehall music done by Malawian youth under the banner of ‘Mabilinganya Empire’.

I have now learnt that Mafunyeta was part of the brains behind the creation of the Mabilinganya – chiChewa word for eggplants – which has artists playing under the banner showing extreme talent. Their videos are also artistically done that they defy belief.

Artists under the empire did equally Mafunyeta-like-themed-tracks like ‘Kamete Tsitsi’ – a track which has a video indicating that it was done by two artists known by their showbiz names, ‘Mad Doctor’ and ‘Khobaliro’.

Under the same Mabiringanya Empire banner there is a track called ‘Facebook’ by Mafunyeta

When you listen to all these tracks, plus many more that I have not mentioned here, like one called ‘Simple Life’, you will discover that dancehall element in all these tracks is very evident and the artists involved are very talented. This talent is not only in the way the music is produced, but even in its lyrical content.

One might therefore be tempted to believe that with the creation of the empire, Mafunyeta created ‘unwritten will’ that bequeathed all his wealth to Mabilinganya.

However, on second thought, you will realise that Patrick Magalasi came from nowhere and shook the roots of Malawi’s music height not only in the way he was doing his dancehall, but in the manner he claimed a spot as a rhymester, crazy at that, as he could talk through some areas in his tracks while ensuring that the words stuck in your head.

Iwe ndi ka engelo…umandikondweretsa ukavala kamalaya kako ka yelo… 

He did collaboration with Sally Nyundo on a track called ‘She is Hot’ which is also a local dancehall magnum opus.  

This kind of talent is one he has left no one that even when my fellow ‘Monday Reviewers’ will be busy discrediting Mafunyeta’s toils I still maintain that if he were a joke, then he was a perfect joke that left them jokes that will keep us entertained for a long time to come…

He used to call himself Maluli in all his tracks; I wished I had asked him what he meant. Nevertheless, Rest in Peace Maluli…

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JB gags Mablacks

President Joyce Banda’s generosity seems to be celebrated in all forms of manner and style and from the onset I have to disabuse all and sundry that my contention is not in the comportment recipients of such ‘benevolence’ chose to display pleasure upon receipt of the same.

She is currently busy distributing goats after depleting our maize silos and everyone is singing praises and worship on how President Joyce Banda has chosen to show that she is not one to show some charge of ‘niggardliness’.   

On Monday, August 5, the President showed her ‘philanthropic’ nature again when she, through her Joyce Banda Foundation International procured eight air tickets for The Black Missionaries band members and also provided their subsistence allowances to facilitate their performance in Ireland.

The Black Missionaries is the popular reggae group in the country which visited Sanjika Palace in Blantyre for this purpose before starting off for the shows that will allow them perched somewhere in Dublin between 17 and 23 August and take a view of Malawi from borrowed Eurocentric spectacles. 

The band left for the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday and will return on 28th August after performing at the Miss Malawi Ireland show.

In her own words, the President learnt about a shortfall in the band’s trip to Ireland and was encouraged to come to their support saying she is always inspired of keeping the dreams of ‘their fathers’.

President Joyce Banda says The Black Missionaries Band has inspired many youths in the country and abroad and she is particularly encouraged with the message they send out as they promote Malawi culture.

This is well and good and I can’t blame anyone with a view that for the umpteenth time, the President is right; and has for once proven that she is not parsimonious with the ‘purse’, whether it being hers, tax payers’ or one belonging to the foundation, which I have difficulties to differentiate.

Now before I say why I have decided to bring up this whole issue, let me take you back to 2002.

“On the 27th November 2001, the death of Mr. Evison Matafale was monitored on the national radio, the Malawi broadcasting Corporation. He had reportedly died at the Lilongwe Central Hospital while in Police custody. Mr. Evison Matafale’s death attracted a lot of negative speculation as to the reasons for his arrest, let alone the circumstances under which he died were not known to the public domain.

…One direction of the public speculation was that Mr. Matafale died as a result of police beatings. Prior to his reported arrest, it was rumoured that Mr. Matafale authored a document that was believed to have irked certain sections of the society particularly in Government.”

The quoted paragraphs above are part of a report of the inquiry into the Death of Evison Matafale produced by Joint Committee of Inquiry – comprising The Human Rights Commission; The Office of the Ombudsman and The Prison Inspectorate released in March, 2002.

The story of how Matafale died has been told on these pages before and it’s not my intension to bore you with going over the same tale.

But I will not omit mention of the fact that President Joyce Banda was part of the Muluzi regime that is credited for this unresolved saga.

Now that, sitting where Muluzi was sitting then, she decided to extend a generous gesture towards the band, I took it with a pinch of salt as to me it spank some ulterior motives.

Does it mean all the bands that do not have money for outside tours, recording fees, and etcetera will just have to talk to one or two guys who can help them break the fences to Presidential places for them to be shot in the arm?

Doesn’t it now show the glaring absence of the arts policy which would have incorporated the element of facilitating such opportunities for our artists?

To me, what the President did was merely giving out some fish to the hungry. Instead she should have given them the hook, line and sinker and taught them how they do it.

What is worrying me even more is the fact that when you look at the initial mission of why Evison Matafale established the band, you will agree with me that it is supposed to be the voice of the voiceless against the oppressive behaviour of the leadership in the likes of President Joyce Banda, who when once on the mantle of power, are untouchable when seated on the ivory tower until they descend to face realty.

Debate on whether the remnants of the band after, the fall of Matafale and Musamude, have lived the mission is of another day.

But given that they still are perpetuating the mission, would they really serve the masses to sing against the ills of the government now that they have been fed the ‘scones’? I guess they have now been gagged.

Considering how the government gave Matafale a ‘five-star-treatment’ through the country’s tourist attractive Malawi Police Service ‘hotels’, would he be happy to make the trip to Ireland on the generous pedestal of the powers that be?

You have the better answer…


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The Musical Sage that was Mjura

From the comprehensible age that allowed me to enjoy John Chilembwe play on Malawi Broadcasting Station (MBC) radio, to the time that I had to actually see the man behind the ‘complete’ musical compositions in the play, Mjura Mkandawire has always been a musical sage that has earned my expressly veneration.

It was however only somewhere around 1985 that I actually saw the man.

In those days, when teaching practice was exciting to both the learners and trainee teachers, a UTM bus used to bring a team of trainees to Namaka Primary School others call it Kachingwe in Chiradzulu along the Blantyre -Zomba road.

In my formative years, I had my breath taken away when the music trainee teacher really beat our teachers to a pulp when he taught us music.

It was one of the most exciting learning periods in my life that I still cherish as it remains so pronounced in the annals of my short history.

When the teachers are at such outposts, they are visited by tutors and luck fell on our laps when there appeared at Namaka, Mjura Mkandawire who had come to inspect how the learning teachers were carrying out their duty.

This is the time that I was introduced to Mjura Mkandawire who had that grandfather striking image, more so, having listened to a number of musical pieces that he had done for the play, with fascination that used to come with the play, seeing him brought even more enthralment.

At Gordon Memorial Hospital in Livingstonia, Thursday, 25 July 2013, becomes the red lettered day to the musical fraternity on the loss of a man who did it all for the local music industry.

The soils of Chihoro village, Livingstonia on Tuesday 30 July 2013, swallowed yet another talent it will be overwhelmed with.

Mjura’s journey which started on 17 September 1926 is so decorated that mourning it will be unfair because it needs to be celebrated musically or otherwise.

Dying just short of his 87th birthday, Mjura studied at Khondowe, before Blantyre Secondary School and later Adams College in South Africa.

As a teacher, he briefly taught at Nyamandlovu in Bulawayo and later Mhuju, before joining MBC in 1963.  

His children including Watipaso and Gomezgeka, the known musician that took after his father appreciate that God blessed their father with a long life and an unusual talent.

In Wati’s words; “He loved, lived and breathed music.”

Mjura was not only a producer at MBC but he also once managed the MBC Band and upon his retirement in 1981 he joined Blantyre Teachers College where as fate had it, I ended up crossing his path.

Upon retirement at the teachers college he joined Phwezi where he was teaching music and Bible Knowledge as he was getting closer to home in readiness of his retirement.

Even after retiring, and going to his Chihoro Village on the escarpments of Livingstonia, he continued to compose and write music.

Mjura was hired a number of times to write music for several institutions or groups including SADC.

As at accomplished music teacher, his failing eyes broke his heart as it meant he could not compose nor read music anymore and even after a couple of operations, his sight was never the same.

As his son says “everyday he fought hoping his eye sight would be restored just for the love of music.”

His son Wati says in his final days, he took great pride and enthusiasm and discussed at great length (or gave lectures) to any visitor who dared open his mouth and asked about music. He talked endlessly about music and his experiences during his work life in London at the BBC, Northern Ireland where he studied music and MBC where he worked most of his life.
Looking at condolence messages that flew all over the internet space last week, it is clear the loss is huge. This is not the sage that only taught music at MBC, the teachers college and Phwezi he also taught music at the choral workshop, Chancellor College.

Mjura had many compositions that have not been credited to him enough, but the world is not cheated with all levels of pretence as it has in its records the in-depth achievement that Mjura’s career chalked in the local and international musical chronicles.

As we celebrate the musical life of Mjura, the angels in heaven are all looking at the Malawian sage who is playing the harp to their amazement. May His Soul Rest in Peace.


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Whose money is tax-payers’ money

Either I am a difficult and dull chap or I poke my nose in the wrong place. I still cannot get it. 

Not getting it has nothing to do with what you are thinking; that I am either high on something or just somewhere on a dizzying height wondering what is wrong with me and heights.

But the reason I am posing the question above, in pursuit of some answers because honestly, I am none the wiser. I have tried to glean through all possible and visible holes to ensure that I get something but really I can’t understand. What is government? Who is government? Who uses the money I pay in tax? Is it free money?

Perhaps let’s start from the beginning.

February 2011

In this month, in this year that’s when I first talked about the ‘Blantyre Cultural Centre’. You are wondering what I am talking about and I cannot blame you.

In wonder you are exclaiming: “Blantyre Cultural Centre” what is that a policy, a film, a book, or a certain local location in Mangochi; or what?

What if I say, “French Cultural Centre”; in fact you will even smile because of how provocative this name is considering that it is the memory that is being hassled.

Well, all those questions above are coming because of this place whose closure as ‘the French Cultural Centre’ after a dignified service duty of 38 years elicited a mourning that made me shudder with shame.

I said in February 2011 that unlike crying over divorce or death, the closure of the French Cultural Centre, if anything, should have made all of us celebrate.

Celebrate because, the centre’s existence was never in vain. The French’s stay in Chichiri in Blantyre should have been endearing, knowing what vast lessons had been left. With such knowledge, instead of writing mourning pieces or airing out woeful programmes for the closure we would have said:

Exit French Cultural Centre, Enter Malawi Cultural Centre (Blantyre Cultural Centre).

But my celebrations, unfortunately ended in dripping tears that no size of any hankie in the world would dry out.

December 2012

And it led me to the Tourism and Culture Ministry which I blamed in December 2012, wondering as I did then what type of authority is put to manage our government, following events surrounding the former French Cultural Centre, now Blantyre Cultural Centre.

I asked: “How can government pay K300 million for the centre and then left it without putting any security leading to vandalism that completely defaced its usefulness?”

Government bought the centre and threw it into some preying hands that ‘befittingly’ ransacked and looted and last time I checked government was very busy trying to arrest the perpetrators.

It was clearly comprehensible that someone I am paying with my tax did not do his or her job well and I do not know what came over me as I demanded that heads out to roll in the Ministry of Tourism and Culture for their failure to provide security to the centre.

Looting started from right at the main gate where the guard room’s steel door and all window panes were stolen. Right in the yard a non-running Mitsubishi 4by4 blue vehicle that was parked inside was robbed of all its valuables and made to sit on stones.

The library windows were broken and thousands of valuable books stolen or destroyed. They did not spare the state-of-the-art equipment such as public address system, Plasma TVs, computers and some furniture.

Police formerly charged long time music promoter and private practising lawyer, Jai Banda for buying the stolen equipment that included a sound craft mixer and power supply cables whose true value is K5 million but was bought at a total cost of K200, 000.

Some of stolen equipment Police say they have also recovered include Yamaha drum set, a microphone and bongos from Pastor Kenneth Dickson of Hope for all Nations church in Ndirande who bought them at K100, 000 when they are valued at millions of kwacha.

The property stolen from the venue is worth K20 million or more.

The centre has shaped the music and drama of the country because it made itself accessible at an affordable rate. 

Maximum charge then was about K50 000 which was far below what today’s popular venues like Robins Park, Comesa and College of Medicine Complex charge, which is between K150 000 to K300 000 per performance, I hope it still is the case.

It is a mockery that so far Blantyre Arts Festival has used the place because it had invited Salif Keita and had nowhere else to host him and after pleading with government they were given a nod.

The second time the place was used was when Information Minister Moses Kunkuyu with his gospel music competition was allowed to use the place because of his political might.

The place remains closed to the people – artists – who need it most.

I happen to pass by the place every weekend and the place is dead and very attractive to another ransacking.

Whoever is responsible for my tax that was used to buy the facility, please tell government or whoever is in-charge that if they have no time to make use of it, let it out; outsource for our services and let us run it on their behalf, so that when we say Blantyre Cultural Centre no one should look at me with any blank face.


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Don’t Kill the Musicians

Have you ever imagined why people keep on killing musicians before their actual death? You are wondering but I am saying the same things into which you have ever participated.
Long before the South African anti-apartheid reggae icon, Lucky Dube passed away or as Rastafarian Reggae musicians would put it ‘passed on’, people killed him a number of times. I remember people used to pop questions like, is it true that Lucky Dube is dead.
Sometimes you are in a bus, you will hear someone telling a story to a group of fellow passengers on how one famous musician passed away, and yet, you who have the opportune access to information know better that this mortar is belching out a blue lie.
I always like referring to the past either to opine better on any issue under discussion or because we just cannot do without history.
Michael Mukhitho Phiri or commonly known as Michael Yekha disputed on our one and only radio at that time that he was alive and kicking; the same was the case with Alan Namoko.
However, when Daniel Kachamba was interviewed on the same, he did not only dispute…come on! Can one dispute that he is not dead? Well Daniel Kachamba did and he labelled all those peddling this bush telegraph as liars.
“Anthu abodza eeeh! Akuti Kachamba wafa eeeh!” so Daniel Kachamba sung…
Is it not surprise therefore that we used to kill many of our famous musicians then? Why is it that now we do not kill lots of them as it were…
I posed this question to two best friends whose interest in music is more profound than mine going by a litany of historical issues they can stitch together once you enquire anything musical from them.
The first thing the first friend talked about was that slow communication used to drive many into rumour mongering.
People would gather to guzzle some beer and one would just start from the blues telling stories that … ouch! Whom can I mention? Death!? Well, like Prof. Zungwala is dead, and everyone will believe it for lack of reference source.
These days, people would get rumours like, ‘Lucky Dube is dead’ and they will either call someone they think will know or go on the internet to verify.
Perhaps the verification aspect is irrelevant but the question should be why we kill them before their time.
While other factors could come because of a big ego by those spreading the rumours, whereby they want to get attention from whoever is listening to them, others do so just to post a sense of loss in others.
Some musicians have done so much, they have composed songs that will never be matched, through their music, people love them so much, and therefore there is a general fear hovering over their longevity.
While other artists in America have ever feigned death to gauge their popularity others have done so to make huge sales.
Do you remember how music CDs by Evison Matafale used to be scarce soon after his death, when everyone else wanted to buy his music? I should not even go very far in history, recently when Pop King Michael Jackson died even here in Malawi people wanted to buy his DVDs or music CDs in large quantities, with little success.
Well, I still get back to the question why should anyone start the bush telegraph that one particular musician is no more.
The main reason is to create a sense of loss amongst followers. Where people are left with a feeling that they will never again listen to new compositions of their loved musicians, is the same conclusion I am coming to.
At the peak of Dr. Daniel Kachamba’s musical journey, a rumour that he is no more was whipped into a hurricane force.
In no time, Nsanje to Chitipa was aware that Kachamba is dead.
Unfortunately, at the time this was announced he was conducting a European tour and mind you, internet was a myth at this time, so it only awaited the return of Kachamba himself to dispute his death.
But you know what happens, once people have heard that Prof. Zungwala is dead, even those who never attended the funeral will believe that the Prof. really kicked the bucket and believe you me, the time we will run into each will send you scampering for safety, as I will no longer be me, but a ghost.
So Kachamba was embarrassed that some people even thought he was his apparition, so he composed a song merely to dispute his death, because mere rebuttal on radio alone was not enough.
Have I answered why people will kill musicians before their time?
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Makondetsa Vs Mablacks

Anthony Makondetsa is a cousin to the Fumulani as well as the Chokani members of the Black Missionaries, commonly known as Mablacks.
Now that The Black Missionaries have released their latest album of ‘Kuimba 9’, what has come very common within social gatherings is that people are trying to compare the toils in Black Missionaries album to those in Anthony Makondetsa’s very latest album ‘Fuko Lokondedwa’.
My fear is that I might be wrong if I dismiss such assertions as a mere cheap effort to compare apples to mangoes, but before I do I would like to follow this line of thinking so that I am able to understand what makes the mind even think of dismissing one over the other.
Let’s start looking at two tracks found in either album as a tribute to their Grand Father Enoch Fumulani.
Many have told me that Black Missionaries title ‘Wokondedwa’ is not as punchy as Anthony Makondetsa’s equally tribute track ‘Wagwa Mtengo’.
Listening to these tracks, I think both artists have scored 100 percent in their outpour on the loss of their Grandfather and have to be recommended on their own right.
Below, I have produced parts of the lyrics in both tracks:
Wokondedwa – (Beloved) by Black Missionaries
Palibe munthu adziwa ayi tsiku lowutsa kuthupi koma tikhale onkonzeka
(No one knows when the body will rest in peace, but let’s be prepared)
Palibe munthu adziwanso tsiku lobwera mfumuyo – koma tikhale ochenjera
(No one knows when the King will come – but let’s be vigilant)
Inali nthawi yosweka mtima polingalira zam’bale koma ambuye atonthoza
(It was a heart breaking moment, to mourn the beloved, but God consoled)
Walimbana ndi kulimbana kwabwino Yerusalemu sawodzera,
(You fought with the good struggle, Jerusalem will not sleep)
Monga Gogo wanga anachitira Enoch
(Like my grandfather Enoch did)
Chikondi chanu tichitsowa, Malangizo tinalandira, nzeru zanu zinali zakuya ntheladi
(We miss your love, your counsel we received, your wisdom was really deep)
Pitani Okondedwa, Sindingathe kukamba zambiri zainuyo
(Go ye well beloved, I can’t say enough about you)
Pitani Okondedwa, Mpaka tsiku lamzukulo pomwe tizakumansenso
(Go ye well beloved, Until the day when our bodies will lie, when we will meet again)
And compare these lyrics to the ones below
Wagwa Mtengo (The Tree has fallen) by Anthony Makondetsa
Nthunzi wathawa, poti mtengo wagwa, wagwa mtengo,
(The shed has disappeared because the tree has fallen, the tree has fallen)
Agogo apita lero mtengo wagwa lero, wagwa mtengo
(Grandfather has gone; the tree has fallen, the tree has fallen)
Tikaupeza kuti wina mtengowu, mthunzi wake unali womwewu
(Where else are we going to find another tree, it was providing the only shade)
Zipatso zake nzokoma zedi , tikazipeza kuti zina
(Its fruits, so delicious, where else are we going to find the fruits)
Mbeu yake inachoka kutali, kukazalidwa kwa Singano
(The seedlings came from very far away and was planted in Singango)
Udali womwewu mtengowu eeeh unkawonekela kutali zedi
(This was the only tree; its visibility was far reaching)
Ooooh Mama ine wagwa mtengo, Agogo apita kalanga ine wagwa mtengo
(Ooooh my goodness the tree has fallen – Grandfather is gone oh my God, the tree has fallen)
For whatever reasons I am surprised people are trying to make the two a subject of debate; debate which has to vilify one and exonerate the other’s shortfall.
It reminds me of what Peter Tosh was said after people were always trying to compare him with Bob Marley who had just died. He simply said: “I am the first Peter Tosh and not the Second Bob Marley.”
The same would be said about Anthony Makondetsa and The Black Missionaries, both are at their best in their own rights and it will be little demanding to respect them accordingly.
I guess, all the sarcasm that Mablacks have been getting has always reached their ears and they decided to respond back by doing track whose diplomatic approach might have eluded many to get its meaning.
Nkhondo – (War)
Ndayenda ine kufuna-funa mbalekufuna-funa mlongo osamupeza
(I have travelled far and wide, looking for a brother, looking for a sister, without find any)
Ndaona ine chikondi mdziko chinatha kale matsiku aja
(I have seen, love in this world vanished many days ago)
Pogona iwe uyambe watula nkhawa zako Gwada pansi upemphere Atero Yehova
(Before you go to bed, kneel down and pray, says Jehovah)
Ukadzuka mbale wanga usanapange chilichonse gwada pansi upemphere atero Mlengi
(Once you wake up, before you do anything at all, kneel down and pray, says the Creator)
Dzikoli ndi loyipa muli kaduka, miseche kupondeleza aaah
(This world is dreadful; there is jealousy, backbiting, oppression)
Tawona nkhondo, tawona nthenda, tawona njala, tawona utchimo
(Look at the wars, Look at diseases, look at famine, Look at sins)
Amakufuna pomwe zikukuyendela Chimwemwe tsaya, Choncho sibwino
(They want to be closer to you when the bread is well buttered; and full of glee – that is not fair)
Sanena iwo zabwino ukali moyo, koma ukamwalira anali mwamuna uja
(They will not say anything good when you are still alive, but once you are dead they keep saying, you were great)
Ndikapita mwana wanga mpamene azandiyamike, ati n’nali ndilutso, kukhala satero
(Once I am dead my son, that’s when they will appreciate that I was talented, that’s not the way to be)
Chitonzo, Kunyogodola ndi miseche ndiye nkhalidwe lawo, palibe kuyamika
(Mockery, trivializing and back-biting it’s their way of life, they do not appreciate)
I guess this is self explanatory, considering that people always trivialise the efforts The Black Missionaries have made by always saying they still cannot beat the standards set by the two dead pioneers, Evison Matafale, their cousin and Musamude Fumulani their elderly brother.
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