Playing drums is one of the important skills, particularly during live music performances. It adds an aromatic ingredient to music.
Most often, drummers are part of the band and their identity comes as a package with the band.
One of the experienced local drummers of our time is Omex Chimpeni. He is not only a drummer, but also a former member of the gospel group Prophets of Vision alias Mighty POV. He is a gifted and committed artist who has dedicated his life and skills to drumming.
Chimpeni describes the drum as one important music element which defines one’s music identity and one’s future in music.
“A drum signifies one’s identity when it comes to music. It is important for artists to pay attention to the drumming beat of their music,” he says.
Chimpeni adds that a drummer’s skills are full of entertainment and creativity, which helps artists to maintain their musical identity and at the same time popularity.
He plays with Annemarie Quin from UK and Faith Mussa alongside the Mdidi Band, among other notable artists.
He has also played percussions and drums for musicians Peter Mawanga, Sam Shaba, Patience Namadingo, Erick Paliani and Lulu.
He also played percussions on one of Code Sangala’s albums and Keturah’s collabo with the legendary Giddes Chalamanda titled Khalidwe.
Apart from local artists, Chimpeni, as a drummer and percussionist, has also shared the stage with international gospel giants such as Don Moen, Benjamin Dube, Israel Houghton, Joyous Celebration, Amanda Black, Freshly Grounds and Third World.
He reached the pinnacle of his music career when he toured America for three consecutive years in 2015, 2016 and 2017 with Peter Mawanga’s Amaravi Movement Band.
“This was the highest moment of my music career as a drummer and percussionist. My lowest moment was when I discovered that a bag which contained my music instruments didn’t get to US during one of the trips. But we managed to outsource them to deliver a lovely show as planned,” recalls Chimpeni.
It did not just happen for Chimpeni to become a skilled drummer.
He started playing in the church after drawing his inspirations from veteran drummers Macdonald Muwawa and Amos Mlolowa.
“I was inspired by these two guys to become a drummer. Then later on I met Faith Mussa who introduced me to his family band, Mussa Family. Then years later, when he was playing the guitar in Peter Mawanga’s band, we formed Mdidi Band. Until today, we are still together,” says Chimpeni.
He also salutes music producer-cum-pianist Gresham Mokwena for the musical inspiration.
He says his father comes from Mwanza while his mother comes from Monkey Bay in Mangochi, a development which has helped him to learn different cultures, including traditional music.
In a separate interview, Faith Mussa, who works with Chimpeni in Mdidi Band, said the drummer is professional and gifted.
“He is the backbone of our sound. He is very talented and makes the Mdidi Band shine. His contribution to the success of the band is appreciated,” he said.
Mussa said just like himself, Chimpeni believes in team work.
“If truth be told, Omex is one of the greatest drummers I have ever worked with. And our journey as Mdidi Band has been exciting with him around,” he said.
Mussa added that the future of his music career looks promising with the services of drummer Omex.
“With the big project of the music academy, together with Omex we are destined for a great future. We want to take Malawi music to the next level,” Mussa.
Veteran drummer Mlolowa said he was happy to see the mushrooming of young talented drummers like Omex.
“We need growth of the music industry from both angles, including drummers. And I am happy to see up-and-coming drummers taking up the space. This is encouraging,” he said.