Nyago in ancestral gait
Lilongwe-based musician Nyago on Thursday debuted at Sounds of Malawi Acoustic Session at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre and showed her deep-rootedness in traditional sound.
The last time Nyago starred at JCC was when she briefly warmed up for another versatile artist from the capital city, Peter Mawanga, but, this time around, she was the starlet.
Nyago’s respect for culture has even stretched to her dressing, which was appreciated by the impressive audience during her one-hour set before a question-and-answer session that accorded the artist a chance to interact with the people.
Her entrance during the Sounds of Malawi, which this coming Thursday hosts Alleluya Band from Balaka, saw her come in a long Chitenje dress which, she indicated, represented royalty “because I come from a royal family”.
After performing three songs, Nyago, who designs her outfits, left the stage for a change and came back in different attire which, she said, represented Africa.
Backed by a three-man band that included percussionist Anthony Supriano, Nyago dished out a number of songs, opening her set with ‘Mizimu Yalira’, where she journeys with people observing that there is an obsession with town life these days.
“We have abandoned the village and left it to children and the elderly. Who is going to be the king? Ancestors are crying because we have lost our ways; we think we know it all but we don’t. We need to listen to our souls,” she said.
As if taking a swipe at people who indulge in corruption and other ills that have robbed the country of its bread and butter and left the vulnerable in poverty, Nyago talks about consciousness, saying it will lead us to where we are supposed to be.
“Consciousness without righteousness is useless in the eyes of the Most High,” she said.
Other songs she offered included ‘Chikuwawe’, a popular wedding track, ‘Nyasa’ and ‘Mwana Akamalira’ before finishing off with ‘Mdoko’, which she performed twice due to public demand. The song denounces arranged and child marriages.
Formerly Triza Titus, Nyago describes music for her as a calling and that she did not choose to be fusing her sound with the healing dance – vimbuza.
Vimbuza is a healing dance popular in the Northern Region and is an important manifestation of the ng’oma, a healing tradition found throughout Bantu-speaking Africa.
When Nyago, real name Lucy Gondwe, is performing, she gets deep-rooted into vimbuza and she did just that during the concert and it was as if she was possessed.
“I feel like the ancestors trust me for the mission; I am on a mission,” she said.
Jacaranda Cultural Centre Director Luc Deschamps said Nyago is a big artist in Malawi.
“She is one of the most interesting artists and when she is performing, it is a whole atmosphere that comes on stage; she is a singer and performer,” Deschamps said.
One of the people who patronised the concert Tawina Gunda said she was enthralled with Nyago’s performance especially her singing in Tumbuka language.