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Wambali Mkandawire offers masterly set in Blantyre concert

After such a long time, legendary musician Mtebeti Wambali Mkandawire finally performed at M-Theatre in Blantyre on Saturday night.

The singer and guitarist proved that he is way up in music and one of the best musicians in the country as he offered a two hour classic set that stunned the not so huge audience.

No wonder when he finished his last track ‘Nkhujipeleka’ in which he requested the audience to play backing vocals for him, people did not want to let him go with some requesting that he dish out a few songs from his previous albums.

But he could not as he had done enough playing for close to two hours non-stop.

The show delayed to start but Wambali and his band featuring Amos Mlolowa on drums, Gresham Mokwena on keyboards, Dan Sibale on saxophone, Daniel Thom better known as DT on percussions, Enerst Ikwanga on lead guitar and Godfrey Mbizi on bass guitar bridged the gap by putting up a scintillating performance.

It was a concert that had the little of dancing as the audience were attentive throughout, nodding their heads and clapping hands in appreciation of Wambali’s music.

During the concert, the audience experienced the power of instruments with every instrumentalist showing his verve as Wambali took people on a jazz session with his latest album titled Calabrash Breath.

In fact he dedicated the title track Calabrash Breath to a boy by the name of Thumbiko Mtumbuka, who he said was a new friend he had met at the concert.

There is no singing in the song but people enjoyed the performance as Wambali and the band brought the M Theatre roof down with the sound with drummer Mlolowa and percussionist DT doing their magic.

On the night Wambali opened the concert with an instrumental session before moving on to play other songs with a voice.

He took time out to introduce all the songs to the audience and share the stories behind the compositions including the track titled in 4B at 4AM in which he tells a story on how he saw death taking his father.

He was admitted in ward 4B and died at 4am.

The singer and guitarist also rekindled memories of the past by dishing out songs from his previous album which had people singing along and they included ‘Nkhondo’ and ‘Bwera Uwone.’

Wambali observed that the other African countries have made strides in coming up with their own jazz but it was difficult for the other countries in Southern Africa including Malawi.

“This is why I decided to come up with the album Calabrash Breath. As Malawi we need to have our own jazz, “said the musician.

He hailed Dikamawoko Arts for organising the concert saying they worked very hard to put it together despite not having enough resources.

Dikamawoko Arts Director Tawonga Nkhonjera said people had watched a mature performance from Wambali and his band.

“This was a top of the class performance from Wambali. As I said he is a great artist and the audience saw this tonight. It was a ming blowing performance and his compositions are on point,” said Nkhonjera.

He said they would have loved to have a bigger audience but they were satisfied with the concert and that this was an introduction that as Dikamawoko they are ready to bring such kind of artists.

There were supposed to be two concerts for Wambali but due to circumstances beyond their control, they cancelled one show yesterday and only went with the one on Saturday.

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