They may be old guards in the music industry but certainly not spent forces. At least that is what the veterans showed during the New Year’s Family Fireworks Night in Blantyre.
The names that are slowly being pushed to the peripherals in the music industry such as Charles Sinetre, Paul Subiri, Coss Chiwalo, Paul Banda and Waliko Makhala, on the night of December 31 till the morning of January 1, proved that their musical tanks are yet to run empty.
Pitied alongside upstarts in the industry such as Monk D, Ceelie, Don Tarz, Steve Spesho, 6 Solid Band and the Reggae Warriors, the veterans had their work cut out to impress the audience which was dominated by young people.
Although the gap between generations was evident in terms of appreciating the music, one fact remained constant: the old-guards still have the music muscle to rub shoulders with the best in the business.
The mood along Victoria Avenue in the heart of Blantyre Central Business District (CBD) was electric. Everybody present anxiously looked forward to ushering in the New Year in grand style. And the performances during the night compliment the feeling perfectly.
Entertainers Promotions (EP) and Blantyre City Council (BCC) combined to good effect in creating that street carnival atmosphere. A huge well-lit stage was not only imposing as it lay next to the Old Town Hall, but its beauty added colour to the surroundings.
After the youngsters had taken turns to woo their mates with their performances, the responsibility now lay in the hands of the old-timers to take charge of matters on the stage. After a somewhat long wait, EP Czar Jai Banda announced the arrival of Sir Paul Banda on stage.
The man, hugely known for his modesty, did not want to waste much time with any pep talk. As always, he let his guitar, strapped around his neck, do the talking for him. He led the Alleluyah Band to dish out some of the people’s old favourites with close precision and enthusiasm.
Four songs into his stay on stage, the man from Balaka had to be disrupted to pave the way for other matters that also counted for everything during the night: it was a few minutes before midnight and the countdown which would later culminate in the release of fireworks had to be done.
For a moment, the skies over Victoria Avenue were beautifully canopied by a flurry of fireworks which were released from Delamere Building just adjacent to the venue of the event. The spectacle was simply amazing.
Banda then returned to finish his business of the night before another giant from Balaka, Coss Chiwalo, got on stage to do his part. He performed his one-time top hits such as Afisi Aku Ntcheu and Mukanditule.
The drive back memory lane would not have been complete if reggae ambassador Charles Sinetre did not grace the stage. Though he has seemingly lost the drive when it comes to producing new songs, his stage passion has remained intact over the years.
He reminded the patrons how the Balaka reggae had the music industry under its cuff for a long time as he dished out some of his songs such as Chimangafisi Dollar, Amadikira, Kulota Satumana and Moya among others.
Paul Subiri wrapped up the live music performances before a disco took the revelers into the wee hours of Tuesday.
“For the first time, Blantyre saw the biggest stage in Malawi. The best lighting effects and a powerful sound. We clearly took the event to a higher level and we hope BCC will maintain these standards in future,” said Banda.