Legendary musician Lucius Banda, popularly known as Soldier, was the toast of the moment during the launch of gospel singer Bernadetta Maliro’s debut album launch titled Yahweh at Robin’s Park in Blantyre.
With several events in the heart of Blantyre, Bernadetta’s launch managed to pull an impressive audience.
Soldier, who has attracted comments from some quarters of late criticising him for performing in gospel shows saying he was losing track, jumped on stage soon after Bernadetta’s act and he sent the audience crazy.
The audience slowly turned secular as people, who were coming from a football match involving Bullets FC and Red Lions at Kamuzu Stadium just a few kilometers from the venue, also entered the hall upon hearing that Soldier was performing.
Unlike during his secular outings where he performs with his Zembani Band, this time around he was performing alone backed by Malimba Band and the main headliner Bernadetta and her husband Mlaka, Thocco Katimba and Peter Uyu Mlangeni on backing vocals.
Just after master of ceremonies Aubrey Kusakala announced that Soldier was next, people started chanting Soldier yemweyo kuti wawa! Soldier yemweyo kuti wawa! And finally when he appeared on stage the audience cheered him such that they overshadowed the song.
Soldier, who recently launched his 18th album titled Thank You in which he featured gospel artist Thocco Katimba and has half gospel songs started off the journey with the song ‘Paulendo,’ which people sang along.
He followed ‘Paulendo,’ with ‘Samuel,’ which demanded more of him to show his verve in the vocals and he managed it and there is a part in which he speaks in the song which surprisingly was done by Mlaka, who as a pastor handled it well showing his prowess as a preacher. Mlaka did not simply stick to the lyrics that Soldier did on this part but rather he changed a few, putting in the scriptures which forced some to shout ‘Amen pastor’ in the hall.
The musician, who is also a Member of Parliament, told the audience that he was happy to support the Mlaka family during the launch saying he has lived with them for years.
Soldier was forced to perform one more song during the show after he had already bowed out as people were still longing for more. They chanted Soldier Timalizeni tasala pati! Timalizeni tasala pati!
Soldier had no choice but to continue and went on to offer among others ‘A Yesu Azabwera,’ in which Thocco Katimba also came in to perform together with him.
Having played backing vocals, Mlaka, who used to perform with Soldier in the past years when he was in Zembani before he went solo, went on to play the keyboards during one of the songs.
“I am now getting used to perform in gospel shows and slowly I am going this direction. I have always said that if you hear all our songs you will see its all gospel so I am happy that through my performances gospel and secular musicians are able to share the platform,” he said.
Bernadetta made history by launching her debut album and earlier on, she performed together with her husband in the song ‘Kulibe.’
However, she has a long way to go to hit the top and manage the stage well as a musician.
As a musician, she seemed not to have prepared well for the stage in terms of polishing her voice to stand out during a performance as she ended up losing her voice and in some instances, her voice could not come out clearly as she was overshadowed by the instruments.
Her album recorded by Joseph Tembo has a variety of genres from reggae to traditional and the style resembles that of her husband to some extent. Other songs in the 10 track album in which Bernadetta said she is exalting God for all the things He has done to her life include ‘Chiwanda,’ and ‘Mtima Wako.’
“I am speechless with the turnout today. There were several events in Blantyre today but to have such a big audience I just praise God. I have started the journey and I am not stopping here. I know I am not yet there, there are a lot of things I need to polish up but with the help of my husband I will get there and my target is to be on top and to hold performances even outside the country,” she said.
Bernadetta also made a comment on why she invited Soldier to her launch with some questioning her that this was a gospel show but the singer said:
“The reason I invited Sir Lucius Banda is because we look up to him when we talk about music. We have all learned from him and I am happy that he came to help during the launch,” she said.
The singer first launched the album on Saturday at Gymkhana Club in Zomba before dating Blantyre and this Sunday she will launch it at Sheaffer ICA Marque in Lilongwe on September 27 and then Sunbird Mzuzu Hotel on October 4.
Other artists who spiced up the launch included Steve Wazisomo Muliya, Limbani Simenti, Favoured Martha, Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Sam Maliza and Chicco Mulera.
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