The launch of Skeffa Chimoto’s ‘Chikondi’ album on November 30 in Blantyre only managed to show the spirit of doing it but, in several respects, fell short of living up to the expectation of the audience who parted way with K2,500 entrance fee.
The launch was scheduled to start at 8pm but it was not until 10:15pm when Skeffa’s Real Sounds Band member Lenzo Mhlanga opened the
curtains, before Danny Muyaya came on the scene.
The sound system was the biggest let down. It was like a radio station
on badly drained cells. What was more disappointing was that no one seemed to care about fixing anything.
From around 6pm technicians – I hope we have them in this country – had struggled to tune up the sound.
What is even more disheartening is that it was like a career carpenter
who has been overwhelmed by a new range of equipment that is failing him to be as good as he is known to be.
Because Malawians let mediocre pass without any protest, the musicians had to get away with it.
Then there was performance from the acts that were invited to support
the launch. While others tried to impress others just lost it, including the
Zambian artist, Dalisoul.
I have never seen such a careless performer who would go off-key in his own songs without even noticing it, meaning he could not even apologise since to him all was well.
His performance also brought the question of choreography when performing a live show. It is supposed to bring a fresh air to the whole
feat as it has to be in tandem with music that is being played.
In the case of this Zambian cartoon, it was no-show and, therefore,
not surprising, the dancing crew composed of about five boys, were
completely detached from the singing.
I get back to the issue of choreography. Well, since I have said the performance was not even musical, and that since good choreography goes well with good music, I was almost tempted to let it off here and discuss of other things at the show.
But then to even suggest that what the crew of five was doing was dancing choreographically would really be insulting the intelligence of those who appreciate this art. If you ask the patrons to the launch, they will tell you they were impressed with the crew not because they want to differ with me, but to agree with me that these were entertaining acrobats.
If anything, what the Zambian crew managed to do was to pose a question on whether choreography is the same as acrobatics, or are these two things one and the same?
To be honest, what Dalisoul lacked on musical front, his boys compensated with their acrobatics.
Then there was also a mini-drama during a badly prepared performance from Piksy.
One thing I have realised is that either Piksy is a bad live performer or I coincidentally attend his bad day shows. During his last one at BAF, he missed the bus when he brought no voice. I wondered then that there was an entertainer who uses voice and right from the start he apologised for having lost it to flu but still went ahead to perform.
I concluded then that it was a daylight robbery.
But, as Malawians, we still clapped hands so that he could mock us more and, no wonder, at the launch of Skeffa’s album he brought more mediocrity.
Just to show how unprepared he was, the Master of Ceremonies Joe
Mwase of Zodiak Broadcasting Station kept shifting him and he came on stage with JJ of Mibawa Band and it was clear the two never knew what they wanted to do. No wonder they almost turned their performance into a ‘Chindime ndi Samalani’ act.
And, as if this patchiness was not enough, his drummer collapsed in the middle of performance and it had to take the drummer from Skeffa’s band to save the situation.
Piksy kept apologising for the incident the full time that he played.
Skeffa Chimoto knew something was not right but chose not to hit the nail on the head by saying it out right that the launch was compromised by poor sound. He only said he knew some things did not go according to plan.
All in all, as I have said, Skeffa showed a great spirit to perform and the Black Missionaries and the ever-green Anthony Makondetsa really did their best to make the album launch a success.
But, like his famous track, the launch was ‘bitten by the black thing’ (‘launch inalumidwa ndi chakuda’.)
Apart from the poor sound of the equipment that is either growing old or needs sound engineers who know their job, to shoddy performances of the supporting artists, the launch would be described as a success.
Approximately I must say close to 2000 people showed up. If this is multiplied by K2,500 gate fee, approximately the show made K5 million.
And it not for me to say whether or not it was earned fairly.