At 85, legendary musician Giddes Chalamanda is still holding it up against the best in the industry.
Just last week, he performed alongside Edgar ndi Davis at E-Wallet competition at Chichiri Shopping Centre’s M-Theatre.
Looking energetic and cheerful, Chalamanda overpoweringly took the audience through memory late when he dished out his popular renditions, including Zubwela Mochedwa, which features Edgar ndi Davis.
Chalamanda told the audience that he defied old age to come all the way from his Chiradzulu home to Blantyre just to entertain them. And he was expected to return home the following morning.
However, in the midst of Chalamanda’s witty performance, Davis Njobvu, one half of of Edgar ndi Davis, hailed the audience for supporting the legendary musician. But he pointed out that Chalamanda is one of the country’s living legends who deserved to be honoured.
Said Njobvu: “Because Malawi has no Hall of Fame where people can access and celebrate the life and achievement of legendary artists such as Chalamanda, let us support him. We perform together with him so that he earns a living and becomes part and parcel of you. So, feel free to interact with him.”
He said it is relevant for Malawi to create a platform where the country can preserve the history and achievements of legendary artists, both dead and living, as a way of celebrating their lives.
Said Njobvu: “We should not honour people when they are dead because this is time to show our appreciation to their immense talents and contributions to our society. We should not wait for people to die first before we praise them, that is unfair.”
Felix Njawala, the chairperson of E-Wallet singing competition concurred with Njobvu, adding that the country’s artists should have comprehensive biographies that people can easily access in a particular Hall of Fame space.
Njawala said: “It is embarrassing for people, including tourists, to struggle when they want to read about both living and late legendary artists from Malawi due to lack of Hall of Fame or passion for writers to explore this filed. We need Malawi who can have a rich Hall of Fame where everyone can access, celebrate and appreciate the talent and achievements of local artists.”
Malawi is home to worth talents artists both living and dead such as Stonard Lungu, Robert Fumulani, Evison Matafale, Lucky Stars, Wyndham Chechamba, Allan Namoko, Chalamanda, Robert Gwirani of Tsoka Liyenda fame, Ned Mapila and Ndiche Mwale.
However, only a few have their stories and contributions recorded.
Most of them have music profiles found in few existing structures such as Cosoma and Musicians Union of Malawi (MUM), including shelves of music researchers such Dr Moya Malamusi and Waliko Makhala.
As a result, this makes it hard for people to people, researchers even tourists to access and celebrate the life and achievements of Malawi’s artists.
Musician Lloyd Phiri bemoaned lack of appreciation and preservation culture of local talent by individual Malalawians and relevant authorities as the main contributing factor to lack of Hall of Fame in Malawi.
Phiri said: “The major problem that we have in Malawi is lack of appreciation of local talent which limits our thinking in terms of innovation. We always wait for the government to do things for us yet we can initiate projects. I always admire people like Dr Moya Malamusi who are passionate about music and doing great work to preserve Malawi’s music history.”
On his part, MUM president Chiwemwe Mhango said they are working on something related to a Hall of Fame.
He said: “Basically we are looking at having a special day where we could be celebrating the life of music legends who have died and those who are alive. Consultations are currently under way to hear views from musicians.”