Sometime ago I had listened to the latest song that the self-styled Nyau King Limbani Kalilani – showbiz named as Tay Grin – released called Chipapapa, which features the Nigerian singer 2Face.
I was about to write something against how it has been done when in this week, The Nation wrote a story implicating him in a copyright infringement case.
What is worse is unknown rapper Zizipizgani Beza aka Zizi-B accusing Tay Grin of redoing his Chipapapa song.
The reason I wanted to register my arguments has now been well buttressed by this case considering that Zizi-B is a mere Form Four student at Pact Secondary School in Blantyre, and he claims to have produced the song earlier in December last year with Twin Beats at 123 Records and gave it to Marcus Pasanje a DJ at Joy FM.
The argument of the two is that the hook is the same and I am surprised they are making such claims when this is a childhood song that all of us partook in singing.
Rightly put in the article, Tay Grin says Chipapapa is a childhood song that no one can claim ownership and if such song was like Chinafuna M’bale he would have sought permission to redo it.
He goes further to say it is his trademark to reproduce old songs…
Now this is where it was all clear that I needed to say something about this.
Now if you are like me and are listening to Chipapapa by Tay Grin one thing that comes out clearly is that it has been badly done if one compares it with what used to obtain when we consider the musicality in the original childhood Chipapapa.
Even the hook that these two are fighting for is one a short riff that used to appeal to us not only as children but even to our elders at the time.
What is even more disappointing is that just like he did with ‘2by2’ he has clearly killed the musicality in the childhood song.
The original Chipapa has was able to exude some sensitivity, knowledge of eerie and flat but sticking musical talent that provided the quality and state of being musical which is absent in the Tay Grin rendition even after trying to elicit the services of the Nigerian musician.
The Tay Grin beat has also failed to relay or even better the musical ability pitch, rhythm and harmony that the earlier one commands.
The original Chipapa had a very strong musical receptivity which was why generations after generations we were able to reproduce it and its storage was just in the air and the mind. That’s how powerful the folklore and childhood songs were or are.
Now this is why it is bringing me to appoint that Government as a representative of the people needs to hold the intellectual property as well as the copyright of these songs. I suggest the Museums of Malawi or the Malawi National Archives must be holder or custodians to these rights.
We can’t have artists like Tay Grin who are more of entrepreneurs than musically talented artists to be defiling such a rich heritage. These holders are supposed to ascertain if the recreation of such folklore or childhood songs because we do not want the mediocrity that Tay Grin churns out that destroys this treasure.
In The Nation story that I talked about earlier also interrogated Copyright Society of Malawi senior licensing officer Rosario Kamanga who said they can only act if they have established a violation.
My question is it will be violation against what because anybody can just woke up one day and start destroying the contents of the country’s musical treasure trove.
The challenge when artists fail to stimulate their creative juices they only settle for something that is already a household. This is what entrepreneurs like Tay Grin do.
He is like Shawn Corey Carter, known by his stage name Jay Z, who although a rapper, record producer and entrepreneur his music rides on his entrepreneurial scores and not the other way round.
You look at people who have creative juices like Evison Matafale; he composes a track like Waseseleka and it stays on the lips of everyone. But artists like Tay Grin do not have what it takes to come up with such compositions and instead just want to regurgitate the famous folklore and childhood music.
My problem therefore is how instead of improving on the same so that it helps to perpetuate our priceless treasure, these Tay Grins of this world come to degrade them. Of course there is also timeliness related to copyright where after such a time elapses its free for all…But I still want some honour to be bestowed on our best works.
We therefore need the protection of those that we should empower so that we are able to preserve the musicality and all those related and attendant issues that make such songs priceless.