Veteran musicians Hendrix Kalaya and Symon Matipwiri reminded Malawians that old wine tastes better when they took the audience down memory lane during the re-launch of Mkokomo Band at Mibawa Café in Blantyre on Friday.
Kalaya is not a new face on the Malawi music scene. He is a founding member of Uhuru Band, and has performed with Exodus Band as well as the late Bright Livewire Nkhata.
Matipwiri, on the other hand, has been into music long enough to know tastes that last and those that don’t.
First to take to the stage was Kalaya who, backed by his brother Dwale, Howard Sokera and Modo and Agorosso (not the other acoustic guitar wizard) played old-time songs such as ‘Bambo a Tereza’ by The Roots and Robert Fumulani’s ‘Bwenzi Langa.’
He also dished out old and new songs originally done by late Stonard Lungu, Rasta Waza, Charles Nsaku, Lucius Banda and The Black Missionaries.
When his turn came, Matipwiri did not kill the mood, but started the new chapter in Mkokomo Band’s history by belting out songs of the golden days such as ‘Tamukwera Illala’ before delving into reggae, country music, among other genres.
Kalaya said after his performance that Mkokomo Band wanted to give Malawians a sense of renewal in music.
“We are here to stay. Our goal is to blend the two aspects of being a band with experienced people with the attribute that we are a modern band. The best way to survive in today’s music market is to remain relevant and that’s the goal we have set our eyes on,” said Kalaya.
He added that the band was preparing for its next music project and that music lovers should expect mature productions.
He, however, bemoaned piracy levels in the country, saying it was high time the Copyright Association of Malawi took stern action against the practice.
On the band’s relationship with Nd’efeyo Entertainment, Kalaya said they had agreed on a number of issues and that the two parties were satisfied with the arrangement.
He said the band would do its best to live up to Nd’efeyo’s expectations as a Mibawa Café resident band.
On his part, Band Leader Matipwiri reiterated Kalaya’s sentiments that the band would use its experience to stay afloat in a competitive market.
“Some of us have been doing music for a long time and we know what to expect. We will make sure that we avoid committing the mistakes that lead to disbandment. We are happy that we will be using equipment that has been provided by Mibawa [Café],” said Matipwiri.
However, one of the patrons, Patricia Zimtambira bemoaned the lack of female members in the band.
“I wish they had at least one woman to give it [the band] a sense of gender balance,” said Zimtambira.
But Matipwiri said it is not by design that the band has no female members, saying it was open to women and urged those interested in performing with it to avail themselves.
According to Nd’efeyo Entertainment operations manager, Wisdom Phanga, Mkokomo had been performing at Mibawa Café unofficially, and it was time to formalise the relationship by turning it into a resident band.
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