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Safeguarding reggae – The youth man’s way

ToshCHARTING OWN COURSE — The up-and-coming reggae stars


By Jones Gadama:

“People are beginning to recognise reggae music, and know it’s a very powerful music, and researchers have been researching and coming up with reports that it’s a great music, a healing music” Peter Tosh

True to these words, reggae music has conquered the world and one just has to admire the precision with which those who are pursuing the art the art deliver important messages through their lyrics.

Even the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) designated reggae music as an “intangible cultural heritage of humanity” on November 2018.

Malawi has not been left out as there is a litany of artists that have cemented their mark through reggae music, including the likes of late Evison Matafale, Lambanie Dube, Black Missionaries, Haxi Momba, Lucius Banda, Queen Fire, just to mention a few.

Two weeks ago, some young up-and-coming artists in Blantyre galvanised themselves to stage a concert they branded ‘New Reggae Era’. What they delivered on that unforgettable night was more than their little-known names. The concert was a marvel to watch as the young reggae artists proved to the patrons with their compositions that there is a lot of hidden talent in the country that only needs nurturing and promotion.

Girls were also in on the act as one after another, they took to the microphone, dishing out reggae vibes.

“We are in the new reggae era where people must appreciate what reggae is capable of doing in the society. It has the power to change people from going astray,” screamed one of them on stage as she warmed up to do her set.

Some of the artists that impressed on the day included Christopher Mussa Banda aka Khizzo B, John Chibayira (JC), Moses Mozze, Yasinta Chitekwe, Roda Classic, Sweet Man, Edo Bills, Patrick Simba and Crestless Rock.

Contrary to the long-held tradition of having reggae artists grow dreadlocks, this bunch of young artists had their hair trimmed smartly.

The audience had a chance to sample compositions done in English Chichewa and French.

Khizzo B, who was leading his fellow upcoming reggae artists, has this rare skill and voice and his commanding presence on stage forced patrons to start throwing banknotes in appreciation of the music.

His educative songs compelled men in suits to temporarily abandon their jackets and make their way to the dancefloor.

Khizzo B traces his roots from Mibawa Band from where he later moved to Nep sounds band.

His six tracks titled Carry your heart; C`est moi encore, which is a French piece meaning it’s me again, missing you, my family controls my life, winter love and stay mesmerised the audience.

“There is really maturity in this young man as his songs have potential of staying long even the next generation, he reminds me of the songs of late international reggae king Bob Marley that are still standing out today,” Jesca Zamayawo, who was among the audience, said.

C`est moi according to Khizzo is a song that talks much about a young man who was not listening to his parents and later found himself in big trouble. Thereafter, the prodigal son returned to the parents.

“My album, once ready, will really disturb the already established reggae artists because I am taking my time and the final product will undoubtedly break the international jinks.

“I am not only targeting Malawi but international market…I am grateful for the feedback I received from the audience, which is so encouraging,” he said.

Renowned radio personality Geoffrey Kazembe, whose association with reggae music goes way back, hailed the up and coming artists for their talent and putting what he termed a gallant performance.

“I am happy, I have to admit and the lads have made my night more entertaining,” he said.

He added, “At first I thought I would see them wearing dreadlocks but to my surprise, they were in their smart hair well-trimmed and so attractive not that there is anything wrong with the dreadlocks but I just cherished the way they presented themselves.”

Some of the artists who displayed their talent are expected to sit for this year`s MSCE and while the others are pursuing their tertiary education in various institutions of higher learning.

Black Missionaries Band lead vocalist Anjiru Fumulani was equally impressed with what he had seen from the youthful artists.

“If there should be reggae of high quality, we need to invest and have stiff competition so that what we give out should be something that would be appreciated by the audience,” he said.

On the other hand Anjiru lamented the proliferation of ‘burning’ centres where music is illegally reproduced, saying this is talent as the producers of the work do not benefit from their production.

He then advised the up-and-coming reggae artists that performed on the night to assert their mark in music industry though some unscrupulous individuals might end up will benefitting more from their talent than they would.

As night was getting into dawn, the show had reached its climax and almost everyone was wriggling his or her body while Khizzo B and friends sang their hearts out.

Every artist respected his or her natural voice as there was no copying or imitating of voice from well-known reggae artists, as is common during other shows. Indeed, the future of reggae music looks promising.

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