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A long journey singing gospel music

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Veteran gospel musician Allan Ngumuya may not be as vibrant as he was in the past years as regards gospel music but his name still stands out when one talks about gospel music in the country and he prides in being one of the pioneers.

Ngumuya, who has lived in the United States of America for years where he produced several albums before coming home and is currently Member of Parliament for Blantyre City South, has travelled a long winding journey in gospel music since he started in 1985 and has contributed massively to the development of the creative industry.

Forget about some quarters describing him as a musician who is not good at compositions and has relied heavily on hymn books to come up with songs but Ngumuya has played his game well, colouring the hymn songs with his own style, making them rich for people to enjoy them.

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There are surely several hymn songs which he sang so well bringing his own touch and no wonder people of the older generation still dance to his music.

While he has relied heavily on fishing songs from hymn books, Ngumuya has also got other renditions he composed on his own and have stood the test of time.

And today, it is worth it for Ngumuya to celebrate 30 years of singing gospel music in the country which has taken him to several places inside and outside the country ministering the word of God.

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The veteran singer has helped built the gospel music industry which in the past years had only a few but now there are lots of gospel musicians on the ground.

“It’s not been easy but I thank God that He has been with me throughout this journey, there have been challenges but we have learned from them and moved forward and I am happy that the journey still continues,” said Ngumuya.

The celebration of his 30 years in music is special no wonder he has organised shows starting off this Sunday at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe where he will perform 30 songs in one show drawn from his different albums.

This is not an easy thing to do and it remains to be seen as to whether he will manage to perform the 30 songs but this is what Ngumuya has promised the people.

“This is no joke but I am saying the truth, I will perform 30 songs which I have already practiced backed by Mingoli Band. I am serious with this because I would want to show people where I have come from in music. I want this show to be historical and people should come in large numbers because they will not be disappointed,” he said.

The gospel singer, who also prides in sharing the stage with several musicians, said he decided to start his 30 years anniversary celebration in Lilongwe because it has taken time since he performed there.

“It’s taken me time since I performed in Lilongwe and so I thought I should start with the Capital City and then move to Blantyre and other areas,” he said.

From Lilongwe this Sunday, Ngumuya will then take the celebration to Comesa Hall in Blantyre next Sunday (September 20) before dating Gymkhana Club in Zomba on September 27 and then Dwangwa Ground on October 4.

“I want to tour the whole country with the celebration and the idea is for people to celebrate with me because they have supported me all these years. They have bought my music and encouraged me,” said the musician.

In all the concerts, Ngumuya said he will be supported by other artists including singer and guitarist Faith Mussa, Kwathu Drama Group which will hit the stage with their latest production titled Aneneri, Elizabeth Phiri, who is an upcoming musician and Piksy.

While people might be wondering with the presence of Piksy, who is an urban artist, Ngumuya said he has worked with the former Airtel Ambassador in his new album titled Osankhidwa Ake.

“This is why I said this celebration is special and people should brace for surprises and one of them is performing with Piksy who I have featured in my new album. He is featuring in the song ‘Achina Davide.’ It’s an album which has taken me time and apart from Piksy I have also worked with Homeland and saxophonist Rick Déjà,” he said.

Ngumuya said the album has new and old school songs adding that it is a combination of his own compositions and songs derived from hymn books.

“It’s been four years without releasing an album so I am excited with this album which should be my 15th. So people will surely have a special show which they will enjoy to the fullest and be blessed,” said the veteran gospel musician.

He said that the new album which has all Chichewa songs was recorded at Ralph Records in Blantyre by Limbani Chibwana.

“I also want to say that this being a celebration of my 30 years, 30 percent of the proceeds from the show will go to Mzuzu University to help those students who are struggling to pay for their school fees,” said Ngumuya.

He also said that during the anniversary concerts, people will pay K2,000 on entry and get two free CDs.

With several albums to his credit, Ngumuya said he produced the first five albums with the latest one in Malawi with the rest of the others in USA.

He also revealed that the album which sold him more copies was Misozi and that up to now people are still in need of the copies of the album.

Ngumuya said unlike in the past years when they were struggling with music and that there were only a few faces, this time around there are lots of talented musicians.

“I am happy to be part of those musicians who laid the foundation in gospel music and today when you see lots of gospel musicians on the ground I smile. We are making progress and there is talent out there. Of course the biggest challenge at the moment is piracy but as musicians we should continue to work hard and aim at producing the best. Again we should not rush in releasing albums, we need to take time because it is only when we take our time that we will be able to produce the best and our songs will stand the test of time,” said the musician.

Several other old-timers have found the going very tough with so many musicians on the ground but Ngumuya said he is still there and will continue sing.

“This is the talent which put me where I am today, I chose to sing gospel music because I wanted to minister the word of God and so I can’t stop singing for the Lord. The journey still continues. Some people have said that with me being a Member of Parliament I will stop singing but it’s not true, I will continue doing it for the Lord,” he said.

The singer’s previous albums include Mtanda, Kweza Maso, Yesu Asamala, Misozi, Unkonde Yesu, Tidzikumbikira, Mbiri ya Mtanda, Mathew 7 vs 7, I Have Got Hope, He Touched Me, 202, Chikondi Cha Mulungu, Reggae Gospel and a live CD.

It has surely been a long journey for Ngumuya, 30 years and 15 albums to his credit is no joke. He has put in more effort in his work and he simply is a role model to other upcoming musicians out there who have been inspired by his music and so like Johnny Walker, he is still walking.

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