By Sam Banda Jnr
Celebrated musician Erik Paliani was in a class of his own on Friday when he conquered Blantyre Sports Club (BSC) with his power-packed jazz vibes during the pre- Lilongwe Jazz Festival.
His virtuoso act, featuring JJ Munthali on bass guitar and Lyton Chisuse on drums with him as the main player on lead guitar as well as vocals gave the sold-out show a clear of what they should expect during this year’s Lilongwe Jazz Festival to be held at Lilongwe Golf Club from August 30 to 31 2019.
Paliani, who has worked with several high-profile artists including South Africa’s Hugh Masekela, proved during his performance that he has passion for music and that he enjoys it to the fullest hence, giving it his all whenever he is on stage.
His artistry in plucking the guitar was super-fine and his playing showed how genius he was and at the same time he showed that he practices hard to create new things for his sound.
It was a great night for the dreadlocked artist, who left the stage as people were still searching for more of his vibes.
“Blantyre has been amazing,” Paliani said.
In fact Lawyer and musician, John Gift Mwakhwawa, had to run to the front to force him to play again soon after Paliani had walked off stage but he had already varnished to the backstage.
Paliani’s strength also lies in the fact that he takes the audience on a journey and builds his performances slowly until he gets to the climax.
He performed for close to one-and-a-half hours.
In some of his songs he blended both the sound and vocals while in some tracks, it was all instrumental.
Paliani, however, could not skip the title track of his album ‘Chitukutuku’ in his collection and his creativity even shone when he played the song differently.
Before Paliani took to the stage to blow BSC away, veteran Owen Mbilizi also had his share, dishing out a few jazz numbers including from jazz masters Louis Armstrong and Earl Klugh.
In between his set, Mbilizi and team also had time to remind the audience of the good old days when bands such as Makasu were at their peak.
This came about when Mbilizi was introducing veteran bassist Lester Mwathunga, who has been in the music industry for years starring with different bands and also composed several songs.
The organisers, however, seemed to have missed it on the line-up as they started with Gresham Mokwena and trio, who raised the bar for Blantyre but the momentum dropped when Spare Fingers and Blantyre Music Club team came in.
With their acoustic set, their performance did not give the audience the appetite such that some began to make noise.
Meanwhile, the organisers of the Lilongwe Jazz Festival announced during the event that 15 bands would star at this year’s event.
“This is just a taste of the sounds and glimpse of the performances that will be there. We have 15 bands from Karonga up to Blantyre”, Khondjwa Ngwira, one of the directors, said.
According to Ngwira, some of the artists set to perform include Rick Deja from United States of America, Ernest Melody (Botswana), Muthemwa (Zambia), Peter Nancy (South Africa) and the rest will be from Malawi, including Kamuzu Academy, Bambino Schools and Music Crossroads.