The Black Missionaries’ Kuimba 10, set for a launch on Friday, appears to be an about-turn for the Chileka group. For the first time, the album has female backing vocalists, keyboardist Chizondi Fumulani is leading two songs, while bassist Peter Amidu introduces one song.
The band will launch the album on Friday at Blantyre’s Robin’s Park, before taking it to Lilongwe Golf Club on Sunday.
Band leader Anjiru Fumulani on Wednesday said dancehall artist Annie Matumbi is featured in one song, Wekha. This comes after some fans urged the band to add more variety to their set, following the release of four promo songs Tizingocheza, Sindingakwanitse, Sikwathu and Musaweruze in May.
“As a band we had to take it so that our fans can have a feel of the talent in the band. We thank them for the support and how they have received the promo songs,” said Anjiru.
Apart from changing their traditional producers Ralph Ching’amba, Anjiru said all the 11 songs in the album were produced by Amos Mlolowa at his Active A Records in Ndirande.
According to him, the band has roped in Sweet Melody Sisters and Mac Chimkango as backing vocalists for the album.
Chizondi, who has often sang in some live renditions of the band’s songs, including Legalise It, said his inclusion in Mr Bossman and High Grade shows the trust the band has in him.
“I thank God for the talent that He gave us. I also thank the band because it is a show of their trust and confidence in me. I thought I was only an instrumentalist until I had to seek within me the singing talent,” said Chizondi.
According to him, the reception the promotional songs have got on radio, homes, public entertainment joints and even cars shows people are getting in love.
“We got a cold welcome. But it has shown us that people have taken their time to appreciate the music,” observed Chizondi.
For Amidu, his inclusion in vocals is just a continuation of ‘the mission’. “In this mission, anything can happen. One day, you can find Anjiru playing the lead guitar,” said Amidu.
On comments from some quarters that the band is no longer playing the hard core reggae it was known for before, Amidu said: “Times change and people’s appreciation of music changes as well. Hard core reggae is there and it will never die. We have just explored different feels. In fact, when we were starting out, some saw reggae as for wayward people.”
On his part, Matumbi said being featured in the album feels great, as it cements his long-standing relationship with the band.
“I brought the Blacks into my Chidzukulu album. I have performed with them for so long and when I needed to copy Dalo songwords for my song, they had no qualms. In fact, I have even been emceeing at some of their shows. It dates back from the Musamude days,” said Matumbi.
Lawrence Chakakala-Chaziya, who has followed the band’s performance since the Matafale days, said the fusion in the album shows maturity.
“Listening to the music you get the impression that they are maturing. The coming in of the female backing vocalists remind you of the I-Threes who performed with Bob Marley,” said Chaziya.
The album also spots The Other Side, Ndidzaimbabe, Moyo Wanga and One and Only (Eli). It tackles various issues. For instance, Tizingocheza is about a love lost, Mr Bossman tells of a rich inconsiderate man, Sikwathu is a tribute to fallen fellow musicians Evison Matafale, Musamude and Gift Fumulani while High Grade adds to the debate on whether to legalise marijuana or not.
On the Friday launch, Anjiru said they have been rehearsing hard, day and night to perfect it. He said on the line up is Lucius Banda, whom they supported when he launched Thank You at the same venue last Friday, Skeffa Chimoto, Nepman and the rest of the Blacks supporting acts Anthony Makondetsa, Khonzie Matsimbe, Moda Fumulani, Yanjanani Chumbu and Toza Matafale.
Last Wednesday, the band had a pre-launch affair at Mkango Lodge in Blantyre.