“Music is passion! Music is talent! Music comes from the heart!” For those who used to patronise the departed lead guitarists and musician Leonard Dembo’s music shows in Zimbabwe in the 90’s, these were the words that greeted them and signaled that the multi-award winning artist is on stage.
What Dembo meant with these phrases is food for thought, but as he rests in eternity, his definition of what makes one a musician is defining real musicians and driving many into the music career world over.
In Malawi, reading through Never Chatsengera aka Nenkoman’s journey into music, you should remember the Hazvigonwi Kuita Zvaunoda hit-maker. From the corridors of Chipasula Secondary School in Lilongwe, Nenkoman’s expedition into music is enthralling, but rough.
It begun in 2006 while in Form Three and despite aiming to go to the University of Malawi, he would miss classes to compose and practise his songs.
“I would sit behind classes with my notebook and practise without any instrumentation,” he recalls.
The objective of writing the songs, he remembers was vague, but the songs were real stories about what he believes affects many youths. It was from his heart and nothing would stop him even when he knew he could not afford music recording fees.
“I wanted to release the songs to educate and entertain, but as a student, it was a far-fetched dream,” he says.
But still, with long passages and no any musical background, who could take him seriously, especially at a time when anyone can wake up and claim is a musician?
It had to take time and passion to demonstrate that he is not like any other artist you see patronising music recording studios because they can afford.
Like any other young man in adolescence, the 30-year-old rising music star remembers love dominating the list of stories-turned music in his notebook.
He, however, jilts as I ask him if the stories were products of what was happening in his love life.
“Some songs, yes and others no. I had friends and relatives and so I was learning from both ends, says Nenkoman who has grown up in Falls Estate in Lilongwe. However, he admits that his experiences influenced him to preach more about love.
“There are scenarios where you feel to be in love and you want someone who doesn’t understand how much you love him or her to know. This imaginary thought helped me enough to talk to the heart through my music, and I believe this is my strength,” explains Nenkoman.
You might think he is beating his own drum, but after listening to Ndavomera Kukhala Nawe, a romantic hit about a man in serious love, you will fall in love with him. In this song, he features renowned artist Lufeyo Dzombe. The words are weaved artistically to talk to the heart.
Nevertheless, this was not after some releases such as the debut Dziko Ndilozunza recorded in 2008 were ignored. But a star is a star even at infancy. Apart from Lufeyo Dzombe, Nenkoman has been recognised by Lulu to an extent that the unfazed star features in some of his songs.
Worth singling out is the 2011 release, Manes, a song dedicated to his girlfriend by the same name, now Mrs Chatsengera.
Listening to the hit song and others, tells you why the artist should be classed in the groups of the likes of Leonard Dembo and other Malawian devoted artists such as Evison Matafale, Lucius Banda and Skeffa Chimoto.
Nenkoman’s music story remains on the rising graph. His work in 2015 and 2016 has not only contributed the highest number of songs to his credits, but we also appreciate maturity and quality in the tracks. He has also featured crème de la crème of music in his releases, which include Nepman and Peter Sambo.
No wonder, his solo track Chikhwaya now clocks 10 weeks on Makwelero Top 10 on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) Television. It has been on number one for five consecutive weeks.
Producer of the music chart Kondwani Mkandawire says: “If you listen to the song, you will hear a Malawian rhythm and the video was perfectly done. So I think that’s what captured peoples attention.”
The newly-released Sutikesi which features Nepman is enjoying airtime on local radios.
Some of the hits to his credit include Gwedeza Mbuyo and Dziko Ndilozunza where he tackles social issues.
Nenkoman is a last born in a family of three.
“My eyes are on making a name beyond borders,” says the father of one adding that the future, so far, looks bright.
With music switching to a trend of releasing, launching and selling singles, he does not think of releasing an album soon, but more singles, which he says will compete for a space in The Best of Nenkoman.
Nenkoman knows it will not be easy as he is mixing work and music career. He works at Tobacco Control Commission (TCC) Mzuzu office as network technician.
Based in Chibavi Township in Mzuzu, Nenkoman, who has only featured in other artists music shows announces his debut live music performance at Obrigado Leisure Park on December 18 where a band he has co-founded with Ril B of the Mwini Zinthu fame called Cool Sounds will back the performance.