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20 minutes with Enot Mbandambanda

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Cool and composed, it was a priviledge to meet veteran musician Enot Spear Mbandambanda in Balaka District on Saturday.

It has been some time since I saw him but he is around and still passionate about music.

Mbandambanda is one of the renowned musicians that have come out of Balaka and was at the peak in the past when the district dominated the music industry.

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In our 20 minutes interview, Mbandambanda famed for the hit ‘Kuchimwa Kulibe Mwini’, admitted that it has been some time since he released an album.

“It is now eight years without an album on the ground. It is not that I have run out of gas but funds are a problem,” he said.

Mbandambanda, said musicians were struggling and that the industry was no longer conducive as was the case in the past.

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“Now musicians are doing music just because they love it but they are not get enough from their sweat. With technology, a lot of people just share music through flash disks without taking an interest to buy,” he said.

He revealed that he was re-recording some of the songs from his previous albums so as to fit into the modern world and that the process was moving at a snail’s pace due to funding.

“On top of that I am also working on a new album which if all goes according to plan I should finish later this year,” the veteran musician said.

He hinted that he started working on the new album in 2013 but was not satisfied with the outcome.

“I am now working with my fourth studio and things are now in shape. I am yet to give the new album the title but I have made progress and there are a few songs to go,” Mbandambanda said.

He said with things tough on the ground, he was looking for close to K200,000 to finalise the project.

“The producer just felt we can start recording and then once I find money I will settle everything,” Mbandambanda said.

Apart from Kuchimwa Kulibe Mwini, Mbandambanda’s other albums are Ndapita, Mwaonjeza and Ubwerere.

Just like other veteran musicians such as Giddes Chamalanda, who have spoken highly of not benefiting anything with music, Mbandambanda, is in the same boat.

“As I said earlier, in the early days it was promising but now it’s a challenge. Many artists of my generation are out of the picture,” he said.

Have made a name with his debut album in which he was assisted by Zembani Band, Mbandambanda, said despite selling more copies, he only received K17,000 from his debut album.

“All I can show to the world today is just the name which I made with the first album,” the veteran star said.

As we parted at Andiamo campus, the home of Alleluya Band where I found him, Mbandambanda, smiled and then said “thank you for coming, tell Malawians I am still around”.

Married, he has five children but for now, no-one has taken any interest in music.

What an exciting 20 minutes meeting this veteran musician during this time when the world is battling the coronavirus pandemic.

“It is sad. A lot of people have died. God should help us. Artists can also not hold shows at the moment,” Mbandambanda said.

I had also wanted to meet Pat A Big Ting’ande but now working with another Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) in Balaka as a driver, he was out of town.

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