Chibuku Road to Fame Music Competition is as big as the brand it represents. The competition which has been running since 2010 has names such as Alleluya II, Lusekero Band and Mzuzu-based Kula Band to its portfolio.
With K15 million (US$36 496.4) to the billing of the competition, and a K1 million (US$2 433.1) promise coated with a recording deal in one of the best studios in the country and a trip to Botswana for the winner, the competition is arguably the biggest music competition in Malawi.
The Chibuku Road to Fame Music Competition has returned this year. But the prize money, the recording deal and the Botswana trip is just a tip of the iceberg.
Representing a Chibuku brand that is in 13 African countries including Nigeria in North Africa, the competition is only imitating the growth from a local competition to international with participation from winning bands from Mozambique, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi.
In an interview, Chibuku Products Limited (CPL) marketing manager Timothy Sukali said they started sponsoring the competition because their brand is associated with people from the grassroots hence music will reach to them.
“There was a time we sponsored Chibuku Cup, but we felt football is only enjoyed by people from urban and those that are near stadiums unlike music which can penetrate the grassroots,” said Sukali.
He added when they were starting the competition they decided to encourage traditional compositions to help bring an identity to Malawian music but also to complement the Chibuku brand which is associated with tradition.
While expressing excitement over constant growth of the competition each season, Sukali said the audience is giving positive feedback on the competition.
“The standards are escalating each season. Remember last year we had a choir contesting in the competition. It is very unfortunate that an all female band, Daughters Band which was contesting failed to pursue with the competition, but that is a sign that there is confidence in the competition,” said Sukali.
He said that just like their Chibuku Beer, the competition brings and promotes togetherness and cultural cohesiveness.
“Malawi being a society with cultural plurality, the competition brings together all these cultures and share the cultural experience,” said Sukali.
After battling in the North Central and Southern Region, 12 finalists from the three regions will battle it out at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday 5 July.
Supporting the competition will be Katelele Ching’oma, Moses Makawa, Skeffa Chimoto and the Real Sounds.