When fame clouds Lulu’s head

Last week I wrote something about the show organised at Lilongwe Golf Club by Mibawa. What I dwelt on more was how I thought Mibawa owner John Nthakomwa is one investor that the Malawi music industry desires his replication.

One of the performers at the function was one local artist artists I hold in high esteem. Lawrence ‘Lulu’ Khwisa is a complete musician. In fact he is a full package that has been sufficiently value added. He is a guitarist, a drummer, a keyboardist, a vocalist, a dancer and a music producer all rolled in one.

It’s not all the time that one person can be as blessed as Lulu is. One thing in the past that made everyone appreciates Lulu, which I still believe is the case, has been his humility despite his multi-endowment.

However, lately it looks like his talent is going to his head and as his fan I would be failing in my duties if I will let it pass as if it is ‘business as usual’.

At this show at the Golf Club I saw a Lulu that attempted to prove to the contrary the humble image that I have always associated with this multi-talented artist.

It all started when the patrons started demanding for particular tracks from several of his albums but he could hear none of such demands.

“Ndizipitatu mukamavuta. Lero ndiyimba zofuna zanga. Musandiwuze zochita.” (I will leave if you will be pestering me. Today I will sing what I want. Don’t tell me what to do). This was the response from Lulu when his fans made demands to him. When they kept on demanding for tracks that they wanted he retorted: “Mukupitiriza? Ndizipitatu. Tikatere ndiye timawerukapotu”. (Are you still continuing [demanding songs]? I will leave the stage. This is where I call it quit.)

Make your own judgement but to me who has seen Lulu perform for countless times, I think this was a new phenomenon. It does not augur well for the image of humility that he has cut for himself over the years.

The danger of such tendency when it creeps in the psyche of our artists is that it eats away the system and takes away their allure. We have examples where artists have become big headed and telling off the very patrons they perform for, only to experience a crumble in line with the saying that ‘Pride comes before a fall.

Before it comes to this, Lulu has people like me who would shout out a warning and plead with him to remain what the industry has known him to be.

When musicians compose, they do it for the fans. When they perform, the fans they compose for show their love for particular songs and while artists prepare what exactly they will perform they also need to be accommodative as Lulu has been over the years.

Because he has always been compromising, his fans have been attuned to behave in a way where they will express their demands and this cannot be changed just one day without warning.

Like in this case, Lulu was supposed to be tactical in sending his message across that he would not be doing what his fans were demanding. The absence of this tact portrayed a bad image of an arrogant Lulu who is getting drunk with fame which is ironically coming from the very fans he wanted to be bossy with.

I hope this is not the new Lulu.


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