A new arts outfit calling itself No Kidding System has set its objective in ensuring that Malawian musicians are able to read music in order to speak the same language with the global music space.
One of the outfit’s managers Congo Zebron Kapatika says they have collaborated with some of the renowned Russian arts experts to achieve their goal.
Already, they have formed a band as one form of the establishment known as No Kidding Band, which will act as a classroom where different artists will learn the art of music.
“We established a firm to improve and promote art and craft. Besides the formation of the band, we are also going to form a drum performing outfit as well as teach the youth different forms of art, including making artefacts using clay,” he said.
Currently, the outfit is promoting four reggae and dancehalls artists, including General Mark real name Mark Kumpoto, Kongo Gabriel (Gibson Matewere), Timoteo (Timoteo Kadango) and Black Star.
As part of offering the artists, exposure, Kapatika said they have organised a performance for them at the Edgar’s Lodge in Mulanje on August 30.
“We are then going across the border to Mozambique to perform in Villa Milanje and Quelimane. We also plan to perform in Zambia, Maputo and Cape Town,” said Kapatika.
He said they have also set their eyes on a European tour where they want to utilise the West’s advanced stage to expose the local artists.
“We are of the strongest view that our artists need more schooling and interaction,” he said.
For the Cape Town show, he said they are working with an entertainment firm in the metropol African Linking owned by his two brothers Moses and Harry Kapatika. Kapatika once collaborated with Born Afrikan to bring Luciano and Lutan Fya to Malawi and South Africa.
He also said the artists are set to record some singles locally which will be used for promotional purposes. After that they will also take them to record in foreign recording studios.
“That’s why we are trying to promote the young artists so that we put them on a global stage where real deals happen,” said Kapatika.
“Of course, we will still make use of the trusted hands of the star-studded producer Jay Jay Munthali who is also the consulting music director for the firm,” he added.
Munthali said he is only rendering a service to the initiative as he also plans to identify and train musical instrumentalists who will form part of a band that he has in mind.
He says he also strongly believes that it is high time to start discouraging the notion that there is Malawian music because music is universal.
“This kind of thinking has discouraged our musicians from going back to school in order to learn to read music,” said Munthali.
Kapatika, who is co-managing the outfit with two Russian nationals Vitaly Goncharov and Daniel Basner, disclosed that in December they plan to hold a musical festival in Malawi where they will bring in top Jamaican dancehall icons Sizzla and Capleton.
“We set our standards high. We do not only view the business side of music but we strive to achieve quality of what we take to the table for business negotiations,” he said.
In the band that is rehearsing with the artists, Basner is playing lead guitar, Munthali, the bass while Dave Nkhoswe and George Namate are playing keyboards and drums respectively.
In an interview during the break at the rehearsing platform in Chirimba, General Mark, who is a dancehall artist, said there has been a huge change in his musical approach as he has learnt many lessons related to musical theories.
“I have learnt about notes and arrangement with respect to music production,” said General Mark who has recorded nine tracks before but says he could now do a much better job if he were to go back into the studio.
Kongo Gabriel says the opportunity under the outfit is going to help him achieve special musical skills because “within the period that he has practised with the outfit it has been a special learning session for me”.
He says this is despite the fact that he has an album called Too Much which has a track called Umandipangitsa which is enjoying massive airplay on most of the local television stations.
“I am not new because I once was a member of the Chosen Few Band which was famous for the track Noah Wapenga,” he said. Timoteo, who has three albums to his name; Bonongwe (2006), Kulima Mtauni (2008) and Babylon System (2018), says the exposure he is getting is helping him to grow artistically because of the guidelines they are getting within the band.