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Kwilimbe’s cassette recording traced in UK

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By Sam Banda Jnr

HIS ART STILL LIVES—Kwilimbe

Marek Norvid, who used to star with the late Bernard Kwilimbe when he was in the United Kingdom (UK), has found some of the cassette recordings of Kwilimbe with a UK band.

Until his death in 2017, Kwilimbe was part of a musical group of veteran musicians known as Old Is Good Band.

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Kwilimbe was also one of the professional choreographers in the country.

Norvid said yesterday in an email he has discovered a cassette recording of Kwilimbe’s UK band, Afrodisiac, recorded in his sitting room in May 1982.

“I was the guitarist and writer in the band. The recording includes us doing ‘Malaika’ and ‘Stop The War’,” he said.

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He, however, said he had sketchy details on his contact with Kwilimbe to finally do the recordings.

“My memory is hazy about how Steve Smith, my cornet playing flatmate, and I met up with Bernard and his friend John. They were both doing a PGCE at the university here in Newcastle,” he said.

Norvid said Steve and him already had a band known as Specky4eyes because they both wore glasses.

“We decided to augment it with more musicians. Bernard joined on guitar and vocals and John, who came from St Vincent in the Caribbean, played bass,” he said.

“As I indicated earlier, the band was called Afrodisiac. There are five numbers on the tape, all laced with a soul/Latin/reggae and Afro beat rhythms and two seem just like jams,” Norvid said.

He added that the three other numbers are ‘Malaika’ with Bernard on lead vocals, ‘Stop The War’ [the Falklands War was ongoing] and ‘Musique L’ Africa’, a vaguely reggae/ Hawaiian ballad.

“We used a little electro Harmonix drum machine for the rhythm. You can hear Bernard doing a good Isaac Hayes impression on ‘Stop the War’. Bernard wrote to me shortly after returning to Malawi and I have always felt guilty that I didn’t reply. I don’t think I was in a good place at the time.

“I found Bernard on Facebook in 2014 but, when I wrote to him, I did not get a reply. He was a great musician. I will get an engineer to digitise the recording and see if it can be sent to Malawi. I will do the needful because this music needs to be listened to and preserved,” he said.

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