The last two weeks have been unique in as far as the discourse on this space is concerned.
Probably for the first time, we run opposite editorials on the state of theatre in Malawi. Allow me to extend a special thank you to the two contributors Stanley Onjezani Kenani who provided the entry placement and theatre practitioner Taonga Taddja Nkhonjera for his response.
For once I assumed the role of a reader alongside all of you and I am sure you enjoyed the insightful and compelling cases that the two made. Even in a pool of diverse ideas, there will always be a progressive common line somewhere along the way.
Both entries portrayed two men with deep passion for theatre and Kenani and Nkhonjera both want a sustainable take off for the art. The ideas they threw in the pan are crucial to how the theatre path in Malawi shapes up.
For those who are still very much part of the theatre cog, let them learn a thing or two and see how best we can define our theatre story. It is a take it or leave it jackpot!
About a month ago, news broke out that two of the country’s uniquely gifted traditional music artists Gibo Pearson and Joseph Nkasa were working on a joint music project. Here was a marriage that many times people yearn for, but seldom comes to reality.
Gibo Pearson and Nkasa, on the same beat, provided the perfect musical reading that even the artistic angels in heaven would feel jealousy of. Give either of them a microphone, you will get a music buffet complete with deep and thoughtful lines that one can’t consume in a single day.
Since the news of their duet broke, their followers were kept salivating on what the upcoming music bomb would be like. Tick, tick, tick the day to unveil the Gibo Pearson and Nkasa collabo finally arrived on Sunday evening.
Malawians were served with both the video and audio versions of the song, Go Konko. That was the moment we realised that the Gibo Pearson and Nkasa we were waiting for was not the versions that we’ve been accustomed to.
Go Konko unveiled the duo adorned in Amapiano robes. I must confess I am among those who were not only surprised by their offering, but also disappointed at the same time. Given their pedigree I had hoped the two will give us some smashing hit.
Arguments have been advanced on the need for artists to keep evolving creatively in their quest to move with the times and remain relevant. Yes! That is not a bad idea and that is one secret many artists have used to achieve longevity in the trade.
But, as an artist, one thing that you need to do is always to take an honest assessment of yourself and appreciate where your strength and weaknesses lie. This way you know how much you can stretch yourself to fit in a particular terrain.
Gibo Pearson and Nkasa forcing some rap bars on an Amapiano tune does not sound cool on any day. The message in the song is typical of the Gibo Pearson and Nkasa compositions. It is what their fans have grown up knowing the two for. Imagine if that message was accompanied by their known Lhomwe/ Yao belt influenced music genre?
Music is meant to be a wholesome package where every element of the tune is speaking to each other in harmony. Apart from the Amapiano rhythm that our ears have become accustomed to of late, the disjointed noise in Go Konko is not inspiring.
We will listen to Go Konko for two or three weeks and we will quickly shelve it on the last spot of our playing list. But Gibo Pearson and Nkasa are certainly better than that. Nothing is lost yet. For what they are, let them collaborate again and give us the local touch we love them for.