Patronage is the fuel of art
In an ideal situation, and in an ideal country, talented artists such as Soldier Lucius Banda are treated as potentates; loved, admired, appreciated and showered with praises at every turn.
At events, such as his and Zembani Band’s show in Zomba over the weekend, patrons would be falling all over themselves, harbouring some sense of deep contentment as reality – the reality of being at a live event at which a big artist is the main item on the menu—hits home and the sound of equipment stirs members of the audience into wakefulness.
After all, it has been said countless times that Malawians have to bid bye to their tendency of appreciating artists when they are both freshly and long gone.
And, yet, when the artists were at their best, their [artists’] reverberations had been ignored, even when their songs and artworks could as well be said to have been at the crescendo of everything artistic.
Unfortunately, Malawians and music lovers in general were at it again in Zomba last weekend, shunning a show at which one of Malawi’s music giants Lucius was on song.
The venue was Matawale’s Club 9, formerly known as The Vibes, where Soldier turned up with his Zembani Band on Saturday night.
But, then, the veteran artist was not impressed with turn-out and, 10 minutes into the show, said: “Malawians; let’s be united. There is power in unity. We provided all the owners of these pubs with posters but, look at the patronage, which means they did not post them in good time despite being advised to do so”.
That notwithstanding, he did his best in the old capital, supported, of course, by the likes of Sam Smack, Nepman and Soldier’s son Johnny, also known as Mr Zembani.
Bursting with unbridled passion and energy, they gave their all.
In Blantyre, on the same weekend, Skeffa The Jamming Machine was on show at Club 24/7, where he strutted his stuff.
Supported by his Real Sounds Band, Skeffa also commented on patronage, saying there was a need for people to be patronising shows, further thanking those that turned up at the Kameza Round-about venue.
Of course, Skeffa referred to the issue of season, when he intimated that months such as January can best be described as lean in musical circles, hence there is a need to be hailing patrons that support shows.
Fine and well but, sometimes, the truth has to be told.
Malawian audiences are among the most unpredictable and unimpressive and there is a need to change that.
As Musicians Association of Malawi General Secretary Khuza Rampi put it the other day, there is a need to support Malawians artists by buying original products and patronising shows.
That time is now. It is now or never.