Chiradzulu sings Happy Birthday to A Gide
People from all walks of life, some coming from as far as Chiradzulu Boma and Blantyre descended at Chiradzulu Secondary School on Saturday to party with veteran musician Giddes Chalamanda during his 85th birthday organised in the district for the first time by Edgar ndi Davis Band led by lawyers Davis Njobvu and Edgar Kachere.
The party even attracted the presence of the BBC Crew of Chakuchanya Harawa and Raphael Tenthani, who even went on to request special renditions from Giddes – ‘Napolo’, and ‘Buffalo Soldier,’ which was done by reggae maestro Bob Marley.
The past years has seen 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 in Lilongwe. But this time around they decided to take it to his home – Mazuwa village which is just behind Chiradzulu Secondary School.
People started flocking to the venue in the morning as the party kicked off with a social football game involving friends of the old-timer from Chiradzulu against friends of Edgar ndi Davis from Blantyre.
The game saw Davis, Edgar and Blantyre City Mayor Noel Chalamanda take part entering the field in the second half and this came soon after Giddes was given the mantle to take a penalty kick with the mayor in goals.
He re-took the penalty several times and failed to score as the mayor stood firm in goals. But he later scored attracting applause from the people. The game ended 2-1 in favour of friends of Giddes.
After the match it was now time for people to jive but the free gig nearly suffered a setback when power from Escom went off. The organisers played a fast one as they simply knew Malawi is currently experiencing water and power problems when they brought in two generators which supplied the power.
It worked from the start to the end although the power was not enough thereby compromising the sound.
Acoustic musician Malala opened the floor dishing out three songs including his popular ‘Nyumba Yangongole,’ before Khwangwala, who normally plays in the streets of Blantyre took over. The artist was picked by Davis soon after finishing performing to fans closer to Shire Highlands.
His sound which is more local similar to the likes of Joe Gwaladi’s style, attracted cheers from the audience. While he came with his own acoustic set, the artist real name Harry Movolima, who revealed that he was taught music by Giddes in 1971, decided to dump it and use a different acoustic guitar.
His performance impressed before the birthday boy Giddes, who earlier on was given a gift of a bicycle by Davis and Edgar, which he tested and cycled to the trading centre, stormed the stage. Giddes born on January 15, which is Chilembwe Day, was energetic throughout the show until the end.
Many people in Chiradzulu have listened to Giddes’ vibes on the radio but they have never seen him perform live and so this was a rare opportunity for them.
“I should thank Edgar ndi Davis Band for bringing this free show to Chiradzulu, it’s a rare moment, and many of us have never seen Giddes perform live. We have really enjoyed,” said Bright James, wiping off the sweat from his face.
It was even special as Giddes’ daughter Liny, jumped on stage to show her dance moves when her father played the song ‘Liny.’ This is the song in which the veteran sings praise of her daughter for being a well behaved child.
This song was composed when Liny was young but now she is a grown up, she is married and has children.
There was also a moment when Davis invited Giddes’ wife Abiti Alfred to the stage and this was the time when the legendary musician, who restricted himself to vocals on the day, with his son Cliff playing the guitar, dished the song ‘Ndikulira Mkazi Wanga Meli.’
The climax came when the mayor jumped on stage with a cake inscribed with Giddes’ name before he started the ‘Happy Birthday’ song and the audience sang along.
“I am speechless, I don’t know what to say, I am honoured. I just don’t know how to thank Davis and Edgar, the mayor and all those who came,” said Giddes, as if to shed tears of joy.
Edgar and Davis, who also printed T-shirts for the veteran, which they distributed, said they have always valued Giddes.
“He is humble, he has entertained Malawians for years and yet he is still strong. We are happy to continue playing with him and we are looking at also doing charity shows,” said the duo, who closed the chapter on the night as they audience did not want to let them go.
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