Whereas the reggae combination of Skeffa Chimoto and Black Missionaries could not fill Blue Diamond in Blantyre on Saturday night, the Great Angels Choir and Thocco Katimba had the luxury of turning away fans who had endured chilling downpours to get to their respective gig grounds.
“It appears Malawians have fallen in love with gospel music. At the two launches of our Ndiyende Bwanji album, we have had crowds queuing outside and peeping through the windows because the venues could not take anymore,” said Great Angels Choir music director Ephraim Zonda, whose show at Katoto Secondary School Hall earned about K400 000â€”-meaning they sold 800 tickets.
The news from Mzuzu comes after the Great Angels pooled 2050 at Sheaffer Marquee in Lilongwe. The crowd was described as the largest in recent times by the venue’s equipment controller Sam Mjura Mkandawire.
Still, Zonda hopes they will replicate the feat on Sunday when they re-launch their third album at Comesa Hall in Blantyre. Among others, The show will feature Mlaka, George Mkandawire, Peter Mlangeni and Grace Chinga.
However, the Angels face the uphill task to equal or surpass the feat achieved by Katimba.
Last weekend, concert-goers in the commercial city queued in the rain to witness the unveiling of Katimba’s Ndidzaimbabe at Robins Park last week.
Katimba, who heads to Lilongwe on Sunday, would have raked more than K1 million had the impatient throngs not forced their way into the magnificent hall.
Katimba will relaunch his new release at Sheaffer Marquee in Lilongwe on Sunday.
But as gospel enthusiasts were on the long wait for the gigs, Skeffa and Blacks were at the Warehouse Cultural Centreâ€”dragging the audience in the mud and coming to terms with the low turnout that greeted them the previous night.
The contrast could be a signal of power shifts in the local beat, but it might as well be a call for improvement in terms of venue choice, timing, promotion and songs on playlist.
In any case, gospel seems to be on the move.