By Sam Banda Jnr:
The creative industry in the country was Tuesday dealt a heavy blow following the death of veteran female singer, dancer, percussionist and one of the few female drummers in the country, Beatrice Kamwendo, sister to gospel musician Ethel Kamwendo-Banda.
The talented artist, who starred for Kamwendo Brothers, Ravers Band and Jenna Sisters with Ben Mankhamba, among others, died Tuesday at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital in Blantyre.
She was transferred from Thyolo District Hospital where she was first admitted after being diagnosed with tuberculosis.
Kamwendo-Banda said she was at pains with her sister’s death.
“Only God knows why it had to happen. We grew up together. She was very talented,” she said.Advertisement
Jackie Kamwendo, who is based in United States of America, also said he was shocked with Beatrice’s death.
Beatrice started performing at a tender age with her sister Ethel and were part of the team that raised the profile of Kamwendo Brothers.
Beatrice was also part of Jenna Sisters which entertained the country with their electric dancing antics, performing with Mankhamba.
“She was very talented, she could play drums, percussions and other instruments. She was part of the team that toured Zambia and performed at one of the top festivals and she was the drummer. It is a very big loss,” Mankhamba said.
The musician described Beatrice as a complete artist, who had been in the industry for long.
“When I was doing acoustic sets, she was the one playing the drums. She was very passionate about music.”
Poet Felix Njonjonjo Katsoka said he would remember Beatrice as she performed with him in a poem titled ‘Ndipatseni Mthiko Akazanga’.
In 2011, German female artists Vli Meinholz and Sita Conrad hailed Beatrice, saying she was talented and had more to offer to Malawi’s music industry.
Impressed with her skills, the two artists had to perform with her during their performance at Blantyre Arts Festival (Baf) at College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre.
“She is talented and we thought we should bring her in and perform as sisters and I have seen that she learns fast,” Meinholz, who also conducted a drumming workshop with local artists which included Beatrice, told The Daily Times then.
Beatrice told The Daily Times in 2011 that she wanted to do more in drumming.
“I am serious when it comes to learning things. I loved the drumming workshop and we mastered several things. I am happy I was picked to perform with them as sisters and I enjoyed it,” she said.
Beatrice also told The Daily Times after the workshop then that she was no longer performing with Ravers Band and that she had taken a new direction taking interest in gospel music.
According to Kamwendo-Banda, Beatrice was 53 years old and is survived by four children and five grandchildren.
She will be laid to rest today at Makhetha, Machinjiri, in Blantyre.