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Lucius Banda presents Lucius Banda

For the most part, like last year, Lucius Banda emerges from the background, goes onto the stage and introduces a foreign artist who becomes the centre of gravity at the show.

When you are a well-known local artist who invites a foreign artist to Malawi to perform on, say, Valentine’s Day, life is haunted by the little infidelity of introducing someone to the audience, letting them bask in the sun of patrons’ attention, instead of being you— the host— basking in the sun.

And so it happened that one of last year’s Valentine’s Day activities involved a performance by reggae and R&B singer, Judy Boucher.

To Malawians of the old generation, the visit by Boucher— who was born in Saint Vincent, in the Caribbean—marked the realisation of a long time dream. After all, they had been there when Boucher’s first solo song ‘Dreaming of a Little Island’ turned into a hit in the reggae charts in 1985.

Boucher therefore stole the limelight last year.

Fast-forward to 2017. Lucius Banda, who runs Impakt Events, will no longer have to emerge from the background, go onto the stage and introduce another foreign artist who may bask in the limelight.

Soldier, as Banda is popularly known, said in an interview yesterday that this year’s Valentine’s Day music event will be about nobody but Lucius Banda.

“Of course, we brought a foreign artist, Judy Boucher, last year and I came in as a curtain-raiser. But, on Valentine’s Day this coming Tuesday, Zembani Band [which he owns] will be featuring me. It will be an exclusive show for Lucius Banda at Lingadzi Inn Mandimu Gardens in Lilongwe on Valentine’s Day,” Banda said.

Banda said he would be performing at Lingadzi Inn Mandimu Gardens for the first time in as many as 16 years. He said the last time they performed at the venue was between 2000 and 2001.

The Balaka-based artist said the show, which will take place between 7pm and 11pm in the evening, will offer him the chance to pour cold water on criticism that he does not perform long enough on stage, thereby leaving his fans in a state of flux.

“I am challenging people that I will perform for four hours non-stop. I will perform between 40 and 50 songs and these songs will be exploring the theme of love. This is a decent show,” Banda said.

Asked if his willingness to play love songs for four hours meant he was ready to start releasing albums based on one theme, Soldier said that option would not be viable.

“Malawi has a lot of issues to be expressed and, so, it [that move] may not be clever. But I am thinking of releasing love, political, gospel compilations later this year,” Banda said.

But, before Banda plays between 40 and 50 songs non-stop in Lilongwe, he will have to face music lovers at Vibes in Zomba on Friday, Riverside Lodge in Salima on Saturday and M1 Centre Point in Lilongwe on Sunday.

“These, too, will be great shows because we are ready to give out our best,” Banda said.

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