Michael Jackson’s 1983 hit ‘Thriller’ has had such a profound effect on popular culture so much that it has been named “a watershed moment for the music industry” worldwide for its unprecedented merging of film-making and music. Guinness World Records listed it in 2006 as the “most successful music video” in the world.
So ‘Thriller’ is used as a yardstick to gauge the popularity of music worldwide.
Skeffa Chimoto released four tracks from his yet-to-be launched Chikondi album.
A few days after the four tracks were loaded on www.malawi-music.com they went viral as close to 7,000 people have already downloaded them; not to mention of the many visits. Due to some unscrupulous characters that downloaded the songs and started selling them in the streets of Lilongwe, the website was forced to block further downloading of the songs until when the album is officially launched later this month.
So is ‘Chinamuluma Chakuda’ the Nabola Moyo star’s new ‘Thriller’? Or is all that razzmatazz a mere appeal to the ear of the womenfolk who have gone nuts with it?
The menfolk are saying this is not even a track over which to lose sleep because Skeffa has done better tracks before.
Well, I had not listened to the track until Wednesday this week and, honestly, I am surprised that it has so shaken the industry.
To start with, apart from showing the world once again that he is an accomplished lyrist, there is nothing extraordinary that this particular track has achieved.
Like I have written recently on these pages about Lulu, Skeffa has set for himself standards he has to beat every time he drops a new album.
Because of that reputation, even if today he decides to re-do the Nabola Moyo album with a different message but the same beat, people will still fight for it because he has made a name and everyone attaches quality to his name.
The seven-minute ‘Chinamuluma Chakuda’ track starts with two abridged refrains. One of the refrains has managed to act as a bridge to the main body where the lyrics carry stories, experiences and disappointments that seem to have plagued many love lives in the country.
It is, of course, a complex track since it has another hidden bridge which has really achieved what bridges tend to achieve in songs. Just when you start thinking the rest is predictable, Skeffa takes you some place where he encourages his sister not to lose heart due to a broken heart.
For example, the track starts with this chorus and check the imagery in the title:
Siwamatama/siwonyada/alibe mwano/koma akuwopa/poti anampusitsa ena/chinamuluma chakuda/amuchulukira ndi mantha/lero chakuda chiri chonse akumangothawa
And while one expects him to go straight to the first verse, he goes into another one which leaves the question on whether the opening is merely a pre-chorus, sometimes known as a ‘build’ or a ‘climb’.
Then comes the main chorus:
Sikuti alibe chikondi/ayi amakonda/sikutiso safuna kukondedwa/ayi ndithu amafuna/koma chinamuluma chakuda/olo awone khala amathawa
And, indeed, the subsequent verses show his ingenuity as he describes situations in failed relationships and ably escalates continued conflict before moving the story-line forward by keeping the listener engaged to get to the bottom of it which gets advisory and soothing.
But going back to the question: why is ‘Chinamuluma Chakuda’ a major attraction? I would safely say the song has tried to capture the challenges that the society faces with especially with the shredding of the social fabric.
It looks like many relationships are afflicted by immoralities such as lies, cheating, disappointments, you name it. It is like there was something everyone wanted to talk about in that song; it was like there was need for an emotional release and this track has just achieved that purpose.
Because a large section of the society has identified with the issues the track has captured, it is not surprising that it has avowed many, thus the kind of reception it has attracted.
Drumming Pen awaits the launch of the album for a comprehensive review but, meantime, although I would not settle for this track as the best out of the four so far released, I still doff my hat to the star who gave us phenomenal tracks like ‘Mumutenge Mwana Uyu’.