Jah people, I am overjoyed by the second coming of the Standard Bank’s Joy of Jazz on September 21.
With words like devaluation, floatation and austerity in the air, banks have earned disrepute for impoverishing interest rates, minimal reach to unreached populations and long queues to idle teller’s cubicles.
But the return of the jazzy gala shows there is something to smile about and Standard Bank has done it in style—bringing US jazz maestro Earl Klugh together with local star Peter Mawanga.
For years, we, the jazz-loving community, have been wondering why we keep banking with financial institutions that seem to misconceive art as nothing more than a lazy bones’ thing. Many are times suit-wearing bankers have positioned themselves as serious-minded capitalists only happy to profit on counting, keeping, reinvesting and lending the hard-earned savings, including those from the barefooted artists they religiously ignore.
However, the dance moves, applauses, sing-alongs and sips at last year’s Joy of Jazz—featuring South Africa’s Zahara and our own Mtebeti Wambali Mkandawire—confirmed that inside the executive garbs are human beings craving for entertainment like anybody else. The moment of Zaharamania also testified to how such lighter moments help bring maximum security banks closer to their customers.
One may wonder why Standard Bank is not giving Malawians a fledged festival the size South Africans get annually, but the upcoming encounter with undeterred Klugh and underrated Mawanga offers loads of reasons to shelve the question for another day. Congratulations Standard Bank for not settling for anything less. That’s moving forward!
Talking about festivals, National Bank of Malawi last year unveiled a lofty vision to invest in music as a way of boosting tourism and the country’s ailing economy. With Sand Festival returning to the beaches of Lake Malawi on October 6, I cannot wait for the ‘Bank of the nation’ to reassure the entertainment-savvy masses that the dream is still living.
Despite the financial downturn which is bombarding us with high-sounding monetary diction, it is pleasing to see the hand that taketh giving back to the art-loving clients often underrated.