Friday, June 29 was the day Black Missionaries set to launch their Kuimba 11 album, but the moment turned out to be a celebration of the unity among local musicians.
What was in essence supposed to be a dominantly Black Missionaries moment was transformed into a musical feast. The supporting acts on the night showed as much ownership with performances that were full of energy.
Dan Lu, The Great Angels Choir, Anthony Makondetsa, Khonzie Matsimbe and Skeffa Chimoto stood by their brothers from Chileka on the night they unveiled Kuimba 11. In the end, it was music which won.
The organiser of the event, Jai Banda, said: “We want the music industry to grow and be united. What more can we do than to bring the best in gospel, the best in reggae and others at one event? Our idea is to cultivate a culture of oneness among these musicians.”
The musicians themselves realised the importance of coming together in such moments. They ultimately enjoyed the moment with the patrons.
Gospel outfit The Great Angels Choir was one act which was regarded as a misfit as such all eyes were glued on them. Everybody waited to see how the Lilongwe-based choir would excel or fail in the new environment.
But what they brought on the night showed that they have what it takes to adapt when the need arises. From the first moment, they made sure the patronage quickly identified with them. They purposely infused reggae elements in their songs.
The rendition of their hit, Kwacha Opanda Dipo took a totally different tempo on the night. The reggae beat was well complemented with carefully worked dancing steps. It was with little wonder that the patronage, which was dominantly laced in the Rastafarian yellow, green and red strips immediately fell for the bait.
“Some of you may be surprised by our presence here tonight, but this is a brotherly affair. We could not let the opportunity pass to be here with the Black Missionaries as they are launching their album.
“And besides that, we are not musicians, but we are messengers of God’s words. As part of that mission, we make sure we reach out to as many people as possible and we do not limit ourselves as to where we perform,” said Ephraim Zonda, leader of the choir.
Dan Lu used his new song Akumva Pain to emphasise the need for both musicians and Malawians to support each other.
He reworked the lyrics of his song: “Amadana ndima Blacks kumakonda Busy Signal. Amadana ndi Soldier kumakonda Jah Prayhz. Mumamuda Lulu komakonda Diamond. Mumadana ndi Skeffa kumakonda Davido…”
His rallying call for Malawians to support each other was met with roars of approval from the packed dance floor.
Skeffa Chimoto thanked the Black Missionaries and Entertainers Promotion for bringing the artists together.
He said: “If the organisers of the show did not have much love for music then some of us would have not been here tonight. But it pleased them to take us on board. And here we are as part of this memorable moment for the Blacks.”
Anthony Makondetsa indicated that he will wait until the Blacks officially release their album on the market before he brings out his own. On Friday, he announced August 31 as the official launch date of his forthcoming album Ndagwira Mbendera.
“On August 31 we are coming back here for another wonderful night like this. That will be the day when I will be releasing my new album. The first show will be here in Blantyre then we will head to Lilongwe for a similar event the following Sunday,” he said.
Black Missionaries frontman Anjiru Fumulani said they have been impressed with the reception to their new album .
He said: “The first week after we released the promotion songs we received mixed feedback. But we had trust in what we had produced and we knew it was only a matter of time before the music grows on them.
“What has happened tonight is a testimony of how they have received the music. They kept demanding us to replay the four teaser songs. They are loving the music.”
Tili ndi chikhulupiliro chosatha lero, tili ndi umboni ochuluka… The Robin’s Park hall echoed when the lines came through.