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Chechamba losing steam in wind instruments

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By Sam Banda Jnr:

Legendary musician Wyndham Chechamba on Thursday debuted at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre during the Sounds of Malawi Acoustic Session where he reminded the audience of his past exploits.

At 85, Chechamba, who turns 86 next month, admitted that he is losing his prowess in playing instruments which demands a lot in terms of blowing.

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The artist however, apart from showing the best of his guitar skills, also had time to play the saxophone, his best instrument which he has played for years.

Performing with two other jazzmen which included his son Mphatso Talent, Chechamba offered some numbers, some of which are not his original songs.

The veteran musician and teacher who started singing in 1939 at the age of five, did also not skip performing one of Louis Armstrong’s songs on the night.

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“Louis Armstrong contributed a lot to the growth of my music. Actually I was one of the artists who welcomed him at the airport in 1960 when he came to Malawi,” Chechamba said.

Apart from playing the saxophone in which he also admitted he forgot some notes, Chechamba impressed the audience when he imitated Armstrong’s hoarse voice in performing his song.

“I am excited to perform here to a different audience after such a long time. We were being forgotten but thanks to Jacaranda Cultural Centre for giving us this platform. I am still strong although I am finding it tough to play wind instruments now and young ones need to come out and learn,” he said.

Chechamba said he was thankful to God for being with him throughout his career spanning years and has seen him perform in bands such as MBC and prides in pioneering traditional music with Kudya Resident Band in 1974.

The session also gave a chance to Chechamba to speak about his music and the journey he has travelled to be where he is today.

Having trained several musicians through his Chechamba Music School in Chilomoni, the musician, said his school is still active.

“The school is still there and I am still teaching. For those who prefer to come at home in Chilomoni it is all good but for those who cannot make it then they can meet me at Music Club at HHI,” he said.

Chechamba said he will continue to sing as long as he is alive.

The Sounds of Malawi Acoustic session takes place every Thursday at JCC with an aim of promoting Malawi music and so far it has hosted artists such as veterans Patrick Simakweli, Snowden Ibbu and Waliko Makhala, Chichiri Heritage Entertainment, Goma Nyondo and Agorosso.

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