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Ndiyamika Cultural Interaction: Zam Suya’s second landing

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SUYA—I will also perform three songs

Maybe it is his curiosity to get to the bottom of a new sensation that prompted him to turn his focus from fine art to music before settling for both.

Or, maybe, now armed with the ability to study his every act, he responded to the call of time to embrace both fine art and music.

Whatever the case, when he had thought about music long enough not to be the dupe of unnecessary excitement, Zam Suya decided that the year 1998 was the right time to make a foray into music, his newfound territory.

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As such, he recorded his first song titled Maziko, fully determined to endure all pains associated with the then commonplace adventure that was music.

He went into it [music] with both legs; of course, he could not help feeling astonished that the talent of many a Malawian musician had not placed the artists on a higher level, money-wise.

It was as if there were not enough admirers of music of that time to save talented Malawian musicians from the pangs of resource-constraints or ridicule.

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Still, Suya had a good reason for following the path of music: He felt that Malawians’ tendency of being unappreciative of true genius could not stop the world from appreciating that Malawi had talented individuals.

Safe in that knowledge, Suya did not launch his music career by speaking, through the persona in the song’s lyrics, with melancholy to reflect the spirit of the times.

Far from it, for, as an experienced observer— someone who was harbouring the ambition to venture into music after trying a hand at fine arts— he knew well in advance that, in the long run, there is hope for improved fortunes for Malawian musicians.

He also wanted to bring variety to the music scene in Malawi, and help dispel the notion that music is a narrow, inflexible sphere that has no room for new things.

Indeed, Suya was convinced that music, and musicians, can come in multiple forms, a multiplicity that cannot be rapidly exhausted.

However, Suya could not start from nowhere; which is why he recorded his first song, ‘Maziko’ in 1998 on the list of his brother Gideon Suya’s album Kuyeretsa Mayendedwe.

The next year— that is, in 2,000— he produced an all-percussions cultural song album Bwenzi Zikoma, whose contemporary songs enjoyed air play on Trans World Radio.

From the album, he contributed a song tilted ‘Polowa mu Yelusalemu’ to the interdenominational choir called Blantyre Joint Choir, the choir that stands as an example of serious approach to gospel music in Malawi, under a programme called ‘Sing Malawian Gospel Concerts’.

“Being a member of this great choir, I learned a lot about how important this approach is to our land and abroad,” Suya said of that experience.

From moments like those, Suya got inspiration to tread on with his music and, in 2017, released the album Ndiyamika.

The album focuses on good things that people do for one another as well as praising Almighty God for his divine mercies.

And, in continuing with his music mission, Suya will, on Sunday, November 14 this year, hold ‘Ndiyamika Cultural Interaction’ from 1:30pm at Jacaranda Cultural Centre in Blantyre City.

“The name Ndiyamika is about praising the Almighty God and, at the same time, interacting with those who like my art so that I can raise funds for Art Training Programmes for the youth. This idea of training the youth is part of addressing some of the problem youths face. I feel the pain of not doing enough to solve some of the problems that youths face. I will start implementing the programme in January 2022.

“With the need for ideas in the country, which is the talk of the day, I have decided to start implementing this vision without hesitation. Those who have been looking forward to learning art skills from me should get ready for the art lessons, which will include fine art, graphic designing and cultural music and dance,” he said.

He said he would also perform live songs from his Ndiyamika Album while some of his paintings will be on display and for sale.

“I will also perform three songs from Ngoni folklore music. There will be other artists as well who will also showcase their music talents and skills in Malawian/African cultural styles,” he said.

Some of the renowned instrumentalists to grace the occasion are King Tchauya, Ketecia Mwenefumbo and George Mkalemwa.

It could be that, after venturing into music in 1998, Suya is reinventing his game for another landing.

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