Good people, the ending April is no fool’s joke.
Read the news and you will be stunned how death keeps haunting the music sector, especially the greats that have entertained us for years.
Remember Percy Sledge, the US soulful singer who died at 74 in the interiors of his home on April 14?
Remember Prince Nelson, the singer and superstar, who died at 57 having attained global stardom in 1980?
Coming closer home, remember Papa Wemba, the king of Rhumba who died on Sunday after collapsing on stage in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
The world will forever remember When a Man Loves A Woman star Sledge and Purple Rain influential hitmaker Prince.
However, Congolese star Papa Wemba left behind a lot of lessons for local artists.
First things first.
I was at Chikale Beach counting down to Soldier Lucius Banda’s show when news was still trickling in about how the Yolele and Wake Up giant slumped on the floor as the dancers and players of instruments continued to perform, unaware of what was happening.
What a metaphoric ending to a larger-than-life star whose performance was always full of life through he was 66 years old.
The slump may have been a public confirmation of the inevitability of death, but the continued sounds and acts on stage surely gave a glimpse of the certainty that his music will continue past the sell-by date of his mortal life.
That is how cruel creative mortals can be: they always leave a mark or two to remind us they were here and we will never have enough time to enjoy their all.
This is why it was not surprising when Lucius Banda took a minute off his late-night show to pay homage to the fallen Three.
“We are passing through a difficult time,” the self-styled ‘Soldier of the Poor’ said.
“Two weeks ago it was Sledge. A few days ago, it was Prince.
“Now, I am getting the news that Papa Wemba is no more having succumbed
to an unknown condition while doing what he loved most—singing. What a pool of great talent the world has lost this month.”
The ‘Soldier’ had all the reasons to cry for himself and his band because his first show at Chikale in seven years was poorly patronised.
But Lucius chose not to cry for the disappointment that pushed him to declare himself a pacifier of the two major venue owners at Chikale, saying: “I will mediate, for both of them are my friends and they are safer working hand in hand with each other for fun-seekers’ sake.”
His only cry was for the fallen greats!
In the three, the world had terrific talent and you don’t find such personalities in the showbusiness very often.
Even for the rare breed, the road to the top will never be easy.
It takes a large amount of dedication and originality, a devotion to distinguish themselves from the rest.
Take Papa Wemba for example.
It was very easy for the man who rose to fame in his 20s to mimic any of the firebrand rhumba names of his time.
Instead, he chose the uncharted route of fusing rhumba and rock.
It is against this scintillating marriage of cultures that he came to be known as the King of Rhumba Rock on the global and francophone stage.
Originality, and originality alone, sets creative minds aside from the fish and tadpoles in the pond. n