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Blacks on a mission

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Chileka–based reggae group Black Missionaries is on a mission. A mission that was started by late Evison Matafale before his death in 2001 and now they are set to write yet another chapter launching Kuimba 10 at Robin’s Park in Blantyre Friday night before dating Lilongwe Golf Club on Sunday.

The group has received heavy criticism since dropping four promotional songs off the 11-track album with some quarters putting it plainly that the group should withdraw the songs and go back to the drawing board.

The songs that Black Missionaries popularly known as Ma Blacks dropped include ‘Sindingakwanitse,’ ‘Mwankana,’ ‘Tizingocheza,’ and ‘Sikwathu.’

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However, despite receiving criticism, the group’s song ‘Tizingocheza,’ has blown people away and dominated proceedings during their live performances.

“We are open to criticism because through it we have been able to improve our music. We have worked so hard on Kuimba 10 and so when some people started critising us on the four promotional songs we were not that worried because we knew it was too early to do that. We are happy that people have now fallen in love with some of the songs,” said the group’s lead vocalist Anjiru Fumulani.

Some quarters have even put it clear that the group has failed to continue the mission that late Matafale started observing that their songs lack depth and maturity.

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Many have it that Matafale’s songs had rich messages that even pointed to the future citing among others songs such as ‘Time Mark,’ but with all that said others feel the group has remained united and continued the mission.

Some people have even said that the group’s songs are of poor quality and that they are now riding on Matafale’s fame with others saying that the group still was strong when late Musamude was still alive.

Suggestions have even been made that the group should have looked up to Anthony Makondetsa, who they perform with, for direction as well as compositions.

But Entertainers’ Promotions boss Jai Banda, who has worked with the group starting from the times of late Matafale, says people only criticise without any basis saying the current crop has done well.

“Let’s support this team; they have done so well, you cannot compare Matafale or Musamude to Anjiru or Chizondi or the others. Everyone had his own unique style and if you sample the songs in Kuimba 10, you will attest that the sound is good,” said Jai.

Anjiru said they are still moving with the mission that Matafale started and that the only difference would be the message.

“Times change so you cannot compare Matafale’s time with the time we are now. These are the last days and so we are moving with what is happening now. For instance, if you listen to the song ‘Mwankana’ attentively you will notice there is a very strong message therein and one of them is the issue of the albino killings; there is no love amongst people these days,” said the singer.

He maintained that the current crop cannot be compared to late Matafale or late Musamude.

“Matafale will always be Matafale, Musamude will always be Musamude and Anjiru will always be Anjiru. We all have unique styles and we thank God for that,” said Anjiru revealing that the group has plans to rope in two to three members and that this will happen before the end of this year.

He said they have moved through thick and thin to be where they are today.

“It has not been easy. We have come a long way, for those who do not know we have had performances in the past years even during the times of late Matafale when people did not show up and I recall a show at New Village House when we failed to raise enough and slept on the floor and this was also the same at Culture Club in Kasungu,” explains Anjiru.

He revealed that it was after Kuimba 3 that people started welcoming them and that it was Kuimba 4 which made sales and songs ‘Ndamusowa,’ and ‘Mwana Wamunthu,’ went on to do well during MBC’s Entertainers of the Year.

“I should thank the instrumentalists although they are behind the scene, they have played a greater role to be where we are today. I should also thank people for their support. Blacks is where it is today because of the people,” said Anjiru.

The launch of the reggae group’s album comes barely a week after legendary musician Lucius Banda popularly known as Soldier also launched his 18th album titled Thank You at the same venue in Blantyre and Wakawaka in Lilongwe last Sunday.

Black Missionaries performed during Lucius’ launch who is also expected to perform at the launch of the reggae group’s launch tonight in Blantyre and on Sunday at Lilongwe Golf Club. The other artists set to be part of the launch include Skeffa Chimoto, Jamaican artist Ras Trevor Hall popularly known as Jabulani, Andy Kamangwa and Police Orchestra, Nepman, Yanjanani Chumbu, Khozie Masimbe, Toza Matafale, Moda Fumulani, Sally Nyundo and Lambanie Dube.

The group has had massive rehearsals ahead of the launch and Anjiru nicknamed the ‘Jewel of Chileka,’ by Mr Entertainer Jai Banda said they are ready for the launch.

“We are ready for the launch in Blantyre and Lilongwe. We have been performing some of the new songs during our live performances but it’s now time for people to sample the other remaining seven songs,” said Anjiru on Tuesday.

The group has been having long training sessions with short breaks preparing for the launch and on Tuesday they started training in the morning through to the night.

With four promotional songs already on the ground, the seven remaining tracks people are expected to sample to finally have a full package include ‘Ndidzaimbabe,’ ‘Mr Bossman,’ ‘The Other Side,’ ‘Wekha,’ ‘Moyo Wanga,’ which is featuring Annie Matumbi, ‘High Grade,’ and ‘One and Only(Elli).

Black Missionaries has for the first time used female voices of Sweet Melody Sisters in Kuimba 10. They have also worked with Mack Chimkango who has played as a backing vocalist.

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