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Celebrating Agidde

At 92, still going strong

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Gigges Chalamanda

In January 2015 when legendary musician Giddes Chalamanda, widely known as Agidde, turned 85 years, Edgar ndi Davis Band led by Edgar Kachere and Davis Njobvu brightened his birthday when they organised for the first time a party at Chiradzulu Secondary School.

The party was colourful and it included a football match with the climax being performances that people from all walks of life including artists sampled for free.

In fact, the birthday celebration also attracted the presence of the BBC Crew of Chakuchanya Harawa and late Raphael Tenthani, who even went on to request special renditions from Giddes – ‘Napolo’ and ‘Buffalo Soldier’, which was originally done by reggae maestro Bob Marley.

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The past years also saw Edgar ndi Davis Band organising the birthday party to the man they call a true legend, a father, a grandfather and a friend at Chameleone now Four Seasons in Lilongwe.

But in 2015, they decided to take it to his home – Mazuwa village which is just behind Chiradzulu Secondary School.

It was even special as Giddes’ daughter Liny jumped on stage to show her dance moves when her father played the song ‘Liny’.

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This is the track in which the veteran musician sings praise of her daughter for being a well-behaved child.

This song was composed when Liny was a child but now she is a grown-up; she is married and has children.

Anyway, this was in 2015 when Agidde was starring with Edgar ndi Davis Band but in recent years, he has been performing and collaborating with other musicians including Zambia-based musician Patience Namadingo.

But all this just speaks volume of how special Agidde is to the country.

Although he has not been fully rewarded and decorated for his music exploits, the legendary musician’s name will always stand out.

He has crafted several songs that people have enjoyed and continue to relish.

Agidde was born on January 15, which happens to be Chilembwe Day and this year, he has turned 92 years old.

The musician, who in recent years has not been active in playing the guitar, which he used to do in the past years, continues to shine during live performances, showing his energy despite his age.

At his age, Giddes has also struggled at singing some of his songs that demands a lot, especially those of high notes.

“Despite this challenge, I am still in it,” he said.

In most of the interactions The Sunday Times has had with him, the old-timer has continued to say he has the energy and he will continue to sing and perform as long as he is alive.

The legendary musician is passionate about music and this is where he continues to perform to his best.

“Music is what I love doing, music is what has made me a name and every time I sing, I feel at ease. It is just unfortunate that it has not rewarded me fully,” he said.

Although he has not received enough when it comes to awards, Agidde is thankful to God for the talent.

“I never went to any music school to learn music. This is just inborn and my music compositions come from the issues that happen in society,” he said.

Before he turned to music which has been his bread and butter, Agidde was a boxer.

“For the current generation, they don’t know this but I was a boxer and very good for that matter but something just told me that this was not my area and so I stopped,” he told The Daily Times in 2015.

Agidde trended on social media recently with the track ‘Liny’, a mash-up medley that he did with Namadingo.

Namadingo The Doc has done a number of medleys with artists such as Soldier Lucius Banda and Black Missionaries and the medley with Agidde has been rated by many music lovers as outstanding.

The ‘Mango’ star worked with Agidde as FDH Ambassador and through the partnership they even went on to build the legendary musician a grocery shop named Pa Agidde.

Agidde has also positioned himself to work with the current generation of musicians and it includes Keturah, who engaged the old-timer featuring him in the track ‘Khalidwe’.

Today, the legendary musician is also working with Pemphero Mphande, former manager for Keturah.

Mphande has said now and again during shows that there was need for people to support their artists as part of motivating them.

During a show at Mpemba recently where Agidde came late on stage, Mphande called on people to support the old-timer, saying he has done enough to entertain the masses with his music.

“He is just amazing despite his age and in every show he puts in 100 percent and yet we fail to support him. Let us celebrate him when he is still alive,” Mphande said.

Last year, a group of Malawian women based in Europe calling itself Malawi Queens

Europe handed over a house to the legendary.

The group contributed money close to K2 million and built a house for the musician whose previous house was nearly collapsing.

Recently, Sunset Casa formerly Club Cyclone in Blantyre, also took time out to appreciate the legendary musician when it gave him a trophy.

Sunset Casa owner Agnes Mtimaukanena said they decided to celebrate Agidde for his immense contribution to the creative industry in the country.

“We just thought we should do something and we thought the trophy would be a good thing to keep as a souvenir. We have enjoyed the music of Agidde for a long time and we have to thank him while he is still alive,” Mtimaukanena said.

And as the country commemorated Chilembwe yesterday, a baptist pastor, educator and an early figure in the resistance to colonialism in Nyasaland now Malawi, opposing both the treatment of Africans working in agriculture on European-owned plantations and the colonial government’s failure to promote the social and political advancement of Africans, it was also time to celebrate Agiddes’ birthday.

And so, happy 92nd birthday to the legendary musician as he looks ahead to offering more vibes and, for him, he will only stop music when he dies.

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