Drums and the bass guitar, more drums thudding, more bass guitar strumming. That is probable the best depiction of the music trends in the year 2015.
Naturally, for a reggae song to be successful, it needs both a skillful drummer and bass player. The drums have to be perfectly timed, and the bass has to move the people. The bass works off the drums, which in turn, makes the people dance.
From March this year, the enchanted drums of reggae gripped multitudes of fans, both the young and the old, far and wide they travelled to Silver stadium for a life time treat with one of celebrated Jamaican artists, Luciano.
Malawi has proved to be one a great supporter of reggae music. That was evident throughout the year as the major reggae events were hugely patronised.
Luciano, alias the Jah Messenger, was the first to set the wheels of reggae in motion, as he shook the capital city with one of the best gigs in the country.
Born Jepther McClymont, the artist, one of the most revered reggae stars across the globe, turned Lilongwe upside down with the Silver Stadium football pitch metamorphosed into an arena of a massive reggae groove.
The show proved why Luciano is the star that he is known for the past two decades.
Red, gold and green regalia, in form of caps, t-shirts, jackets and trousers flooded the venue. It was a riot of colours and Rastafarian iconography which in part, the shades reflect hues associated with both the Jamaican flag and Marcus Garvey, a publisher and orator who is considered a prophet by Rastas.
There were sharp chants true to the Nyahbingi movement with a collage of posters, photographs of Haile Sellassie and Marcus Garvey and colourful Rastafarian flags with the symbolic lion of Judah, almost at every corner.
The show ended on a high note, unquestionably full of fond memories in fans’ hearts, comfortably reserving itself a special place in Malawi’s music history like the indelible mark left by slain South African reggae maestro, Lucky Dube in 1990 at Kamuzu Stadium.
Initially, reggae was developed as a voice of the downtrodden, also misinterpreted as the music of the Rastafarian movement only, usually in praise of Jah. But current global trends, Malawi inclusive, have proved otherwise—reggae is now a music genre like any other and it is, if not the only hottest kind of music appreciated by all outgoing Malawians.
Historically, reggae has been one of the most universal and politicised genres. It is huge in the African continent and has been for many years and will continue to be so. Reggae artists regularly perform in many of the African countries. The influence of Jamaican reggae has been such that many countries have their home grown version of reggae, Malawi inclusive.
Locally, the Black Missionaries continued with Evison Matafale’s reggae mission, returning after a two year break, the Kuimba ship docked in Lilongwe for the launch of the 10th episode of the Kuimba series.
Soon after it was released, it got mixed reactions with some music followers dismissing if not writing it off completely. But the first launch at the Lilongwe Golf Club in August got a resounding applause from fans.
The collection of the Black Missionaries albums from Kuimba 1 to 10 is a journey and surely, the journey continues as the reggae band is still on top of it. Even the members are optimistic of the future as hits like Tizingocheza, Sindingakwanitse, Sikwathu and Musaweruze continue to enjoy massive airplay.
Jamaica was back on the menu in October, this time dancehall reggae artist Busy Signal was the new catch for Malawi music lovers.
That the Sand Music Festival weekend in Salima was going to be a busy one for entertainment lovers in Malawi was an undisputable. But a few had envisioned how a night out with Jamaican would be.
Everybody got busy. There was no idle moment, no dull scenes; just people getting busy. The signal could be detected from all angles of the venue as the sands reverberated with the sounds of music booming from different sides, in rhythm with the fans dance moves.
A record high 7 000 fans attended the festival on the day Busy Signal gave out performance that sparkled with a great deal of vivacity.
As the year drew to a close, the countdown underway, another big reggae show happened at Silver Stadium. It was billed to be a party to shut down Malawi and the year 2015 in style.
But top Jamaican reggae band Morgan Heritage disappointed after they gave out a CD performance instead of the standard full band performance, leaving reggae revellers feeling short-changed. n