This phenomenon isn’t really new. Other famous bands like The Beatles, Supremes, Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, Third disbanded because some members wanted to go solo.
Spice Girls disbanded with the exit of Geri Halliwell who chose to launch her own solo career and some industry observers on the international scene say obviously when the other remaining members witnessed the success of Geri as a solo artist, they probably wanted to duplicate that success and expand their artistic horizons.
Locally, the story is the same. Many music groups and bands in the Malawian music industry that start with pomp hardly stay together for long when someone leaves.
Perhaps the old adage explains it best: all things come to an end. Regardless, that they leave an indelible mark on the memory of those who loved them as a group.
We have the likes of Kapirintiya, Nyasa Gurus, Atumwi, Favoured Sisters, Chitheka Family and many others whose entrance in the career was promising but along the way they disbanded, with maybe the other pursuing a solo career.
However, in the midst of groups that started with pomp, there are also those that have stayed together for so long.
The Black Missionaries, a Chileka-based reggae band, is one of such groups and it traces its origins to a family lineage.
In an interview with the band’s manager, Ras Ray Harawa, said what has kept the band, which started somewhere between 1999 and 2000 is basically love the members have for one another and the Almighty.
“The band has been an exception because of the strong love that flows in the group and its members. As a group, there is a need for tolerance, understanding and patience from the individual members and luckily there is that in the members of Black Missionaries Band,” said Harawa.
He said the other reason the band has stuck together for so long might be the fact that it is more like a family group as members of the band trace their roots to the same origin. Such that as a family, they are always serving as the brother’s keeper.
Black Jack of the Nyasa Gurus said the group is still in existence because it is a family thing. More like an in-house band but people who are growing they have different personal issues and official duties to look into, hence they have been silent for some time.
He said the only reason he has decided to go solo is not to let his talent die because his groupmates are engaged with other businesses in the meantime.
“Two of the group mates are out of the country and this created a gap and because I want to keep up with what is going on in the music industry so that the time the group decides to come back we will match with the standards of the moment,” said Black Jack.
It has been said that Favoured Sisters, a duo, separated because one member wanted to continue with her education. Friends Nicodemo and Evance Zangazanga (Piksy) commonly known as Atumwi split when Piksy wanted to run on his own. Piksy launched his solo album last year.
Montfort Manyozo, a music analyst, said there are a few reasons why music groups hardly stay together in the despite starting on a promising note.
He said the issue of money is one of the reasons.
“Experience shows that the attitude the group members have that the leader is stealing from them causes groups to disband and each one goes his own way, maybe to launch a solo career or trying something new apart from music altogether,” said Manyozo.
He said the other reason has to do with who gets the most spotlight. When artists in a group feel they are being sidelined, they chose out and launch their solo careers where it will be all about them.
“When members of a group see they are not being featured a lot, they feel cheated and they opt to be on their own. Talk for example about Zembani Band, there are so many that left the band not known to the public but since each one launched their solo career, they have gotten unshared spotlight from the public,” he said.
He, however, said it is difficult for all members of a band to get equal focus as their roles in the group differ as there should be someone to lead vocals and someone to back vocals and the two cannot probably get the same focus from the public.