Chris Kele, a music producer, jazz musician, guitarist, producer and founder of Mavume Gurus Live operating from Johannesburg, South Africa, is returning home in two months’ time to contribute to the growth of music in Malawi. HOWARD MLOZI caught up with Kele to understand why he left Malawi and the reasons for his return.
Q: Remind Malawians, who is Chris Kele?
: I am Malawian artist currently based in South Africa doing music. I have been in the music industry for about 12 years and through these years I have performed with different groups including Acacias Band. I once formed a group in Malawi called The Jazz Image Band. In South Africa, I also formed a group in Johannesburg called Chris Kele and The Mavume Gurus Live. This is a group that I am running now.
: Why are you found in Malawi this time around?
: Well, I have come home to record the music of the new Malawian music group called Find Codi which is run by Nyimbo Music Company [NMC] here at HHI Music Development Centre in Blantyre. I was hired by the management of NMC to record their artists and I will be returning to my main studio in South Africa to do the final mixing of the group’s album.
On the other hand, I have come to explore the possibilities of re-entering the music business in Malawi. And I am convinced that there is a market when compared to thepast years when the industry was just starting. It seems this time around, the music industry is growing and creating room for employment of some sort.
Q: Looking at market possibilities? Are you intending to come home?
: Of course, I am coming home for good that there is now a market that I can operate in. In fact, I want to contribute to my home industry because I feel I have acquired so much music knowledge and experience in South Africa; hence, the need to contribute to my home industry. I will be coming home in three or four months’ time.
: When and why did you move to South Africa?
: I moved to South Africa in 2010. I went there to explore music with the intention of gaining expertise in music-both theory and management. I really wanted to have some deep knowledge of music not basic things that we all. But when I moved to South Africa I was able to study music theory and management. I moved to South Africa because it was hard to acquire such knowledge here.
: What is it that people should expect from you?
: Let the work of my hands speak for me when I finally come home and set up my business. I am not that type of person who likes bragging about my work. But Malawi should really expect something great from me because I left for South Africa with a mission and that the mission has been accomplished, here I come to contribute to my country.
: You have been in South Africa for some time. What have you achieved in terms of music?
: That’s a good question. There are numerous activities that I have undertaken in while in South Africa. But first and foremost, I am proud of my group called Chris Kele and The Mavume Gurus Live, which has made significant strides in South African entertainment industry. When it was starting, the feeling was that it would not excel because it is a brain child of a Malawian. But I can I challenge you that innovation and originality is key to success everywhere, even in the United States of America (US). People out there are looking forward to original concepts that can bring a difference. Hence Chris Kele and Mavume Gurus Live had a wonderful time in South Africa.
For example, the group has performed at the State Theatre, Sun City, Ditsong museum – pretoria, Bass line, Orange Farm Anual music Festival -Chris Hani Stadium, Shikisha, Pata pata, Kaldi’s cafe, Kwa Malitane Lodge, Bruma market, Afrocentric cafe and other places.
In fact, this was just a continuation of what I was doing in Malawi because I had once performed at high profile venues such as British High Commission, American Embassy, Capital Hotel, Lilongwe hotel, Crossroads Hotel, Comesa Hall, French Cultural Centre, Chameleon Cafe and more places.
Basically, Chris Kele and the Mavume Gurus Live is a band capable of performing at different festivals, corporate functions, parties, weddings, special advertisements, special events etc. And we perform different styles such as jazz and we are not limited to other genres such as pop, blues, ballads, reggae, rock or rhumba.
Among other notable artists, I have composed and arranged instrumentation for Ringo Madlingozi, a popular South African musician. n