When videographer Limbani Saidi decided to share part of a new video that he had shot Thursday evening on March 25, no one would have predicted what was about to happen.
The videographer had just finished editing a music video for a song Ambuye Ali Liki Liki by Chiyanyano Women’s Choir of the Pentecostal Church in Area 25, in Lilongwe when he shared a clip of the new hit on his WhattsApp status to whet the appetite of music lovers.
He also shared the same with the choir members, including lead singer Ann Sululu-Mwale and choir mistress Colletta Master. The two also shared the video clips on their WhatsApp statuses.
By Friday morning, Ambuye Ali Liki Liki was trending on social media. From Facebook, Instagram to Twitter, the song was being shared and played. But the question on everyone’s lips was: who is the rap star in the video?
“I am a married woman, a mother, a prayer warrior and a working woman. I love singing and I have been a member of the choir since 2013 when it was first formed,” Sululu-Mwale tells Society.
She said she got to rap in the song by default: “The song was first recorded in 2013. It was part of our debut album. But this year, our leader Colleta Master said we should consider redoing it.
“So we decided to add some rap and the producer bought the idea. But the question was who is going to rap?”
Sululu-Mwale said the producer [Saidi] suggested that they hire someone from outside and the group would pay the artist K10 000.
“We could not part with money, so we decided to look for alternatives. We approached my son Stewart, who agreed to rap, but when we told our producer, he advised us to look for a female rapper since this is an all-female choir,” she says.
After running out of options, Sululu-Mwale decided to take up the challenge.
“I used to rap at Dzenza Secondary School when I was a teenager. So I took up the challenge,” she says, smiling.
Now that the song is popular and trending on social media, what is her life like?
“My life has changed and I am struggling to work freely at Kanengo Puma Filling station where I am a fuel attendant.
“Fans want to have a phoro taken with me. It is so overwhelming,” Sululu-Mwale says.
The gospel artist says some fans have reached out to her through the mobile phone.
“My phone has ringing nonstop, but I count it all joy because at the end of the day, the message in the song has reached many people,” she says.
Sululu-Mwale says the aim of the choir is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
“We couldn’t be happier with that. Of course, not everyone is being positive. We have also had a number of mean and hurtful comments, but we ignore those comments and concentrate on the positives,” she said.
The song Ambuye Ali Liki Liki was produced by Ziwe Chibwana and talks about being saved and asks Christians and believers if their names are ‘in the Lamb’s book of life and that when you hear the gospel, you will believe in Jesus Christ.’
The choir leader, Colletta Master, said they decided to fuse in the rap element to attract and accommodate the youth.
“The song has given us mileage in as far as promotion of the upcoming album is concerned. And we are finalising the shooting the music videos,” she says, adding they never expected such overwhelming reception from Malawians.
“We are a women choir, yes, but we also follow current trends. So we noticed that the youth in the country don’t really pay attention to choral music. We decided to add the rap element to get their attention and it seems it really worked magic,” says Master.
The song has attracted the attention of high profile people, including Speaker of Parliament Catherine Gotani-Hara and Minister of Information Gospel Kazako.
Kazako wrote on Twitter: “Ambuye Ali Liki Liki by Chiyanjano Women’s Choir, [is] a manifestation that art is still alive. [It is] a revelation that certain music genres are spreading across generations. A confirmation [that] art always find space to claim. Refreshing.”
Gotani-Hara also wrote on Facebook: “I have listened to the full song, Ambuye Ali Liki Liki by Chiyanjano Women’s Choir. I can’t wait for an album.”
Chiyanjano Women’s Choir started in 2012 but released their first album in 2013. Their second album is titled Pa Msasa and the third is Ambuye Ali Liki Liki Volume 2.
The new album has been recorded and mastered at CL Touch Production studio in Lilongwe. n