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Night, dawn to remember

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Nothing prepares one for the moment a good music performance comes to an end.

Indeed, when an energetic, engaging and costume-dictated live performance comes to an end, the wall of excitement tumbles into an unquenchable longing for more, as home turns into a mantrap nobody wants to get into first.

That aptly describes the prevailing feeling Saturday morning when Lucky Dube’s band gave out a perfect performance that left revelers asking for more. But, like all good things, Lucky Dube’s band, led by the slain reggae artist’s son, TK, had to put a full stop to their performance at Chez Ntemba International Club in Blantyre. They had done their part. They had lived up to the hype.

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The band had another performance in Lilongwe within 30 hours before another performance in Mzuzu 30 hours after their Lilongwe performance.

For some of Lucky Dube’s band members, this was a second music-oriented visit to Malawi in 30 years. The legendary reggae and mbaqanga maestro (Lucky) came to Malawi for a performance 30 years ago, and his Kamuzu Stadium performance remains embedded in the memory of Malawians.

However, TK was only four years old then—which made his Malawi trip, as he put it in an interview later, “memorable” because it is the first time he has performed in the country.

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When his father died, in an attempted car hijacking in Johannesburg, TK was 21 years old. In fact, it is only six years ago that TK gathered enough courage to start singing and, even after these six years, he finds his father’s shoes too big to fill.

Lucky Dube was known all over Africa, and such tracks as It’s Not Easy, House of Exile, Together as One, Different Colours, One People, Back To My Roots, I’ve Got You Babe, Kiss No Frog, Slave, Irie, Reggae Strong, Oh My Son, Prisoner made him a darling to many people.

And it is understandable that TK says his father’s shoes are too big to be filled.

“His [Lucky’s] shoes are difficult to fill. We are just doing our best but [we] are not trying to be like him [Lucky Dube],” TK said.

To say the truth, TK is an Information Technology expert whose only ‘crime’ is to be as good on stage as his father. So, people pull him by the neck to sing in various places. And, over time, he has embraced the call.

He even incorporates his own style by, for example, rapping.

He and Lucky Dube’s band have been to so many places, most notably the United Kingdom. In 2015, they visited Namibia where they performed at a tribute concert celebrating the life of Lucky.

A singer and musician in his own right, TK is set to come back to Malawi.

“I enjoyed the performance and I would definitely like to perform in Malawi again,” TK said in an interview.

In a way, it can be said that performances that took place from Friday evening to Saturday morning were not just about Lucky Dube’s band and his son TK. They were more of a group than individual endeavour because Malawians to spiced up the show were equally competent.

In this regard, the performances of Thutukani Cele, TK Dube, and others from South Africa— 14 in total, according to Lucius Banda— were encased by Malawi’s own crop of renowned musicians.

The music train was full of artists such as Coss Chiwalo, Paul Subiri, Lucius, Nep Man, Lambani Dube, Sir Paul Banda, with Deejay ISO filling the gap with music whenever a new performer was working on the instruments.

Coss Chiwalo took patrons down memory lane when he performed Amakonda Aliyense, Afisi AkuNtcheu, and three other songs who take his tally of performed songs to five.

Subiri dished out several songs including Anali ndi Cholinga, Ndigwire Mtengo Wanji? before leaving the stage to Paul Banda, who performed Malilime, Ndidzatamanda Ambuye, Zonse Nzabwino, Tiyime Pamodzi, among others.

“Twenty-sixteen has been a difficult year for everyone but we must thank God” were Paul’s opening words.

His last words were ‘Thank you”, accompanied by a weak, longing wave— he wished he could continue performing to the receptive audience.

After Paul, Limbani Dube took over, and performed tracks like Yankho Likadzafika, Chisoni Nkumatenga, among others.

Sam Smack, too, did not disappoint, jumping on stage with Bebna, and other tracks.

Soldier performed two songs before leaving the stage to Lucky Dube’s band on a night when the stars were so visible and bright in the sky that rainfall never was a challenge.

And all these artists performed to the apparent satisfaction of the revelers, who made no attempts at grumbling, and who seemed to marvel at the sense of relaxed plenitude that was echoed by all artists.

Lucius said in an interview later that he was happy that all went well.

“I am so excited that Lucky Dube’s band has performed. I am excited that they have put up a good performance and that we [as Impakt Events] have delivered on our promise. There is more coming in 2017, starting with Valentine’s Day,” Lucius said.

Zembani Band leader, Smack, was equally ecstatic.

“For me, performing on the same stage with Luck Dube’s band is an achievement. It is a good feeling. It is as if Lucky Dube has resurrected and is here with us.

“On a personal note, Malawians should expect a lot from me in 2017. They can look forward to a number of singles,” Smack said.

Surely, Malawian artists and their South African counterparts were not deeply unlike.

Steeped in the spirit of music, there was something about the local and foreign artists that made their life conventional, practical, collective and feeling, as Lucky sings in one of his songs, Together as One.

And it can be said that TK was, like his father, easy-going, as if there is no physical remoteness from his father who, through the immortal power of music, lives on.

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