He has seen it all and once, he had plans. Today, he affirms those plans have turned into nothing.
“There was a time I had plans. But those plans have been frustrated. Today, my plans are turned to wishes but I know some day, they will materialise,” said 35-year-old Agorosso.
Agorosso, real name Lloyd Phaundi, is in a league of his own. He is the first Malawian to earn African recognition for his musical exploits where movie soundtracks are concerned. He beat 671 other soundtracks at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) recently held in Nigeria.
In view of his winning the soundtrack category, renowned Malawi musician Ben Mankhamba, who brushed shoulders with Agorosso since the artist won the acoustic category of the Kuche Kuche Music Awards at the turn of the millennium, said all the artist needs is a good studio, producer and his entry onto the international market is a done deal.
“He is a good musician, let down by the lack of the Malawian appreciation of good music. We have a problem in Malawi. Even if you look at football, you will find that our stars are looked down upon and they are not valued the way they should. That is the sad Malawi situation,” said Mankhamba.
The songs that earned him the award demonstrate the might of his power as a musician. In The Last Fishing Boat, Shemu Joyah’s second film, Agorosso brings to life the actors in the movie.
In Abiti Anefa, a song in the movie which personifies the character worn by Flora Suya (the Joyah ace who was a leading act in the film maker’s Season’s of a Life), Agorosso brings to the heart of viewers the beauty in this lakeshore queen, who manages to win the heart of a European tourist, but ignores his romantic advances.
As if that is not enough, in the movie, Agorosso brings another song criticising Abiti Anefa for quitting school to become a second wife to a fisherman, Che Yusuf.
The musician does not stop there. He dishes another tune in the film to criticise Che Yusuf, a Makawa Village fisherman in Mangochi, who marries Abiti Anefa, in spite of hard times that lead him into dire economic tides. The song, wonders why jealousy engulfs Che Yusuf.
You can’t ignore Agorosso, if you follow Malawi music. He was back, in the movie. This time, it was Kunyanja, a song that brings out the hustles of the fishing business in Mangochi. It is the very crux of the film, for Che Yusuf owed everybody something: The government (who wanted fishing tax), Abiti Anefa, who owed him love, Che Yusuf, his son who needed respect and so much more.
Yet, the greatest of Agorosso’s compositions in the film root from his roots in Nsanje. That is Sayambo Madoda.
As you watch the movie, and when the song is playing, you see the fishermen pulling the nets on the beach, getting their catch onto baskets on the shores of the lake.
Agorosso says the inspiration for the song is from the banks of the Shire River where fishers ply their trade.
“It is a fishing song. It is part of my Sena culture. For all the songs in the film, I pay respect to Mr Joyah because he is the one who perfected everything. He fine-tuned my songs,” says Agorosso.
But, how did his journey begin? Where does he root his music?
Obviously, if you listen to his music, it will strike you to the spine. It is linked to the Nsanje jive. Agorosso says apart from Bob Marley, his greatest musical influence is from Nsanje.
“I come from Bangula. I grew up in Bangwe, Blantyre. At my home I was in the church choir just like I was in Bangwe. My interest in music grew when I was in Nsanje and I had a guitar, which I used to play in the bush,” says Agorosso, who is currently not married.
He grew up in Bangwe, but trekked close to his home in Nsanje, at Nsanje Secondary School where he was lead vocalist in the Scom school choir. But all this time, he used to shun the guitar.
That three stringed guitar led him to play music, which he says is an emotional way to bring out what he sees in society.
This is the very essence of his being a musician. To play songs that puts his heart, mind and soul at peace.
These are the songs that have earned a name for Malawi arts followers. Songs such as Fole, Kulowa Kufa, Marongero, Mafafanga and Nalila Jiko Wanga. The last is a touching rendition of the Malawi national anthem, which he accompanies with acoustic guitar beats and percussions from Anthony Supriano, formerly of Lucky Stars.
On why he has not recorded any album, Agorosso says his efforts have not borne any fruits, as he has tried that with so many individuals and companies.
“I have tried it so many times, only to end up on the waiting and losing end. I am withholding the release of my album to a time when I will record live and not digital as so many people would want it. Perfection, as personified by Wambali Mkandawire is what we must all seek to achieve,” said the artist.
His exploits have not been confined to Malawi. He has curtain-raised such acts as Zimbwabwe mbira king, whose music is synonymous with Sena tunes; Oliver Mtukudzi, South African group; Freshly Grounds and Malian Salif Keita.
“When Oliver saw me perform at a dinner in his honour, he was impressed. He gave me a cap for my guitar. He wanted me to record with him, but due to other problems, that deal has not materialised. For that, my dreams and plans are just wishes,” he said.
Obviously, he had lessons from his Nigerian affair two weeks ago.
“There, the corporate world is involved in the promotion of the arts. Banks that have branches here such as Ecobank were involved. Unless the corporate world here does more for our sake, we will continue having wishes,” said the musician.