Prior to his long-awaited appearance at Jacaranda Cultural Centre (JCC) in Blantyre, acoustic artist Peter Mawanga said he wanted to use the platform to share stories about the path his life has taken recently.
“I cannot recall precisely when I last performed in Blantyre. It has been a long time. I was a boy then and now I am a man. A lot has happened since. This will be a catch-up moment between me and my fans,” he said.
And when the moment came on Saturday evening, Mawanga stayed true to his word. He meticulously gave his musical performance and during the one hour-long set, he shared stories about his art and his life.
His appearance at JCC on Saturday was after a 10-year-long invitation, he said. He was, therefore, happy to have finally honoured the patience of the directors of the place, including the curator of the JCC’s Sounds of Malawi acoustic sessions Code Sangala.
Mawanga went on to credit Code as one the first individuals to appreciate and support his talent when he was a DJ at FM 101 Power when he released his first single Amakhala Ku Blantyre.
The artist also talked about the struggles he went through to get an opportunity to have his first studio session.
“I have seen David Kalilani in this hall. David and I come a long way. I remember that time the long trips we used to take on foot trying to have an opportunity to record a song. By then we only had two studios in Malawi,” he said.
But some unlikely opportunity arose when one day he was invited to perform as stop-gap provider to one Lilongwe-based studio owner. Out of the many songs Mawanga played, the Amakhala Ku Blantyre tune stuck with the studio owner.
The next day Mawanga was invited back to the studio. This was the first time for him to set his feet in the recording booth. That opportunity gave birth to the artist which was to be called Peter Pine who rode on the popularity of his maiden beat Amakhala Ku Blantyre.
On Saturday evening, Mawanga stood on the stage which had been warmed up by Afro-spiritual artist Nyago. The two-hour concert was split between the two artists with each allocated one hour to show their mettle.
Mawanga came on stage at exactly 8pm and he greeted the fans with a rendition of his song Palije which was plucked off his 2018 album Nyanja Vibes. From then on, Mawanga never faltered. Enjoying the support of guitarist Alfred Sitolo Nkhoma and drummer Omex Chimpeni, Mawanga stood majestically.
If anyone wondered who the artist in front was, a reminder was soon delivered. The vastly travelled artist performed one of his most loved hits Tsoka, a song he said was composed by poet Q Malewezi from his album Zanga Zozama.
He had a moment to aim a dig at Chimpeni when he performed his song Ngwalu, which means a man who is not married. He told the patrons that there was one Ngwalu on stage and urged the ladies to try their luck.
After the concert, Mawanga was full of delight: “It was a wonderful moment. The response showed the hunger that people had in my music. I think now what is required is to keep the momentum going.”