Ellias Missi known in showbiz cycles as Atoht Manje is one self made artiste. I first saw him as an opening act in the Warge produced Itchoke itchoke medley riddim video which also features the late Mafunyeta’s Ndikanakhala Nyerere.
Well, honestly I just dismissed him as one of the confused youths that had just crammed the entertainment spaces and at the same time mentioned in the same breath as Binge, Tikka, Malinga Mafia, Bingolingo, Big Ta, Chizzy, Blaze, Matia Killa, and Khekhe or is it Khekhi Matia?
Such a musical din, seemingly seen as experimental with the Mabiringanya Empire, also had its contribution from Namasina, Gibo Lantos, Dawn Damage, Roy View, Teddy Muva, Kapadocia Futali, Ceaser, Benjie, Azizi, Phada-Man, Khacoolbah, Bwi-Man, Tamnyata, Trata Dmus, P-Star, Ababa, Tony C, King Gebuza, Senior Gz, Blasnet and Chaddy D among plenty of them. They would all vocalise over one long riddim.
While a few above names can now be counted as having musically excelled, not many really considered Atoht as one to make a mark amongst them until he started dropping tracks like Majelasi, Lululu, Tizipepese, and et-cetera.
Atoht is endowed with a crackly voice which is suitable for dancehall or ragga genre. The tracks like Majelasi and Lululu really came riding this genre until Tizipepese, which his fans call Mabvuto came in. It’s fast pace borders on something that can best be equalled to a Congo beat or merely a local hurried up beat like fast paced Manganje as he would love to call it.
Then his songs go with a signature tune of gun blazing sound which he produces with his voice other than computerised programmed sound.
When one listens to Atoht’s productions with a trained ear, you would easily notice that his lyrical structure is messed up. He literally follows his heart, the result of which is a general appeal to his fans but an immediate shock to music teachers.
Every time there is national commemoration during Mother’s Day his track Lululu controls the airwaves. On release Majelasi was also the tune of the moment for radio stations as well as entertainment spots which favour Tizipepese more because of its prowess to force all listening to it to take to a jive.
His music videos have its unique mark that is built around his personal figure but this does not mean in any way that it has to be turned into anything academically acceptable.
Apparently Atoht is also not into music full time as he is into motor vehicle mechanics, meaning he cares less whether or not his music will bring him fame and dough. It’s like he just loves making music, right from back there in 1999 when his uncle and brother took him down the art of playing a guitar.
What is strikingly noticeable is that he is self taught in the aspect of producing tunes that have come to be liked by music lovers. He adds drama to his videos while his lyrics have lines that can best be suited in a Winiko play script as they border on jocular jibes.
Perhaps when all these are rolled into one they make Atoht stand out from the din of noise emerging from the ghettoes and makes one to listen attentively.
It’s not a subject for debate on whether Atoht is talented or not. What I find in the young man is raw talent that needs not only to be guided but nurtured as well.
Therefore, I await the day that this ‘mechanic musician’ will meet a serious music manager who can take care of this talent and move it to another serious level.
You cannot rule out the fact that Atoht is contented that he is making good money out of his music but I dare say that such money even by South African standards are just crumbs.
He needs to conquer all even without jumping the borders and earn his place.