He is known for Ras Amadya Nzimbe. He went into oblivion. Now, he is on his route back. That is Sally Nyundo.
On the other hand, Malawi music followers know the exploits of Chris Kelle. The Acacias Band. You cannot mention that band which also featured Ben Michael (Mankhamba) and Erik Paliani without remembering his guitar antics.
Today, the two artists, from their different backgrounds share one vision: To take Malawi music to another level, internationally.
The gods are smiling, must be smiling, for in the crucible in Egoli, South Africa, are two albums that promise to bring some light.
Sally, who is currently in the Rainbow country studying music management, says he will release an album in July.
“I envisage an album with 11 songs which will be recorded at Chris Kele’s Blue Arts studio. I have already finalised recording seven and hope to be done by then. Coincidentally, I will be done with my studies then,” he explains.
The artist says the album, The Journey, will be packed in the reggae vibes he feels. It brings to life, he adds, his musical expedition. “It is about my journey in life. Even after this break, I hope to make a comeback and get new fans,” he says.
According to him, his studies have broadened his musical scope. His being in South Africa has enabled him to realise the real value of music.
He says: “I have learned a lot on the importance of managing the brand that we musicians are. Further, I have also learned a lot in sound engineering. This means it will not be difficult for me to have a set according to my specifications. That will add value even where I am performing at international festivals.”
To keep up the spirit, Sally has been performing in Johannesburg, especially at venues mostly patronised by Malawians, like Tijuca.
“I want to go beyond performing for Malawian audiences only,” he says.
Chris looks forward to launch his gospel jazz album, Movements in April. Currently, his Africulture Band has artists from South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh.
With South Africans Phazimane Mangeshe on bass guitar, Thulanie Ngondo on on piano and synthesizer, Lulu Mlungisi on drums, Mosoeu Katlele on percussions; Nigerian Baptist Gabriel on alto saxophone; Malawian Nickson Mtiyesanji on tenor saxophone and Zimbabwean Thandoe as backing vocalist, the music in the nine track album sets a tempo.
One of the songs in the upcoming album which we have sampled, Phindu Khulume brings to the fore the jazz in gospel that defines Chris’ music. Phindu Khulume means repeat what you are saying.
“Actually, in the song I am saying, Holy Spirit repeat what you are saying to me,” he observes.
Other songs in the album are Alpha and Omega, You are Here, Falling in Love Again, Zamoyo, Mwana wa Chauta, I’m not Alone and Holy Spirit Come.
But is the shift not really marked for an artist who has been known in arts cycles from his exploits at Acacias Band and forming the Jazz Image Band? Has it not been difficult to make the trek from the Sena jive Dengadenga which was in his Ulendo album to gospel jazz music?
“Most of my songs have been about God but now I am going a step further in worship,” says Chris.
Like Sally, the one-time Zigzaggers Band member has a launch in Malawi on the cards.
“After the launch at the DFC Church Auditorium in South Africa on April 6, Malawi will be next,” he says.
Chris feels working with Malawian artists brings joy to his soul.
Apart from Sally, he said, he is also working on an album for Limbani Banda alias Lambanie Dube.