At exactly 11:12 pm, Malawi’s veteran musician Giddes Chalamanda turned 81 on January 15.
And on Saturday, he was presented with a cake and a champagne bottle as Davis Njovu of acoustic duo Edgar ndi Davis and the audience chorused happy birthday.
By 8pm, the venue, Chameleons Bar in Malawi’s capital, Lilongwe, was fully packed, even the beaming of the African Cup of Nations games did not deter patrons from enjoying music.
A slow intro of Tayimbanawo a Giddes, a genuinely infectious arrival on stage by Davis, started the party and captivated the crowd within seconds of his presence.
“Happy birthday Giddes! Tayimbanawo Ife a Giddesi,” said Davis as he embraced the legendary musician.
The energy of the show and the crowd was beyond beautiful, you could feel the love floating around and bouncing off the tranquility of Four Seasons where Chameleons Bar is located. With eyes closed and heads tilted back, the crowd let the music guide them.
The absence of Edgar, currently outside Malawi, did not in any way spoil the show as Davis kept the momentum up until 2:30 am with brief appearances of the birthday boy himself.
“We have to recognise talent and pay homage accordingly. Giddes is a great musician and a very humble guy and for him to reach this age and still be active is a living example of prudent life. I feel blessed to work with him,” said Davis.
The night was Giddes’ as he delivered hits from his huge collection of music. The women couldn’t get enough of the 81-year-old legend who started by performing the 2009 Zikubwera Mochedwa collaboration and also some hits such as Linny.
“I enjoy working with Edgar and Davis. They are good people and good musicians. We have been working together for a long time and it has always been a pleasure,” said the octogenarian from Chiradzulu.
“Giddes is real talent and his music is lasting, I have enjoyed the show greatly tonight. It was worthwhile to be here,” said Area 10 resident Lucy Kameza.
The show coincided with the launch of Edgar ndi Davis’ new album Energy Saver.