They are the same old and popular songs that we know, sing along and dance to during many gospel live shows. But what Joseph Tembo and his Groove Magic Band did to those songs last Sunday at Robin’s Park in Blantyre is absolutely apt for a standard live show that leaves every fan yearning for more.
There are two main reasons why people patronise live performances; to enjoy the live presence and performance of artists and to be entertained by their talent. And it is the duty of artists to quench the entertainment thirst of people who part ways with their hard-earned cash on the door. Indeed, K1 000 is a lot of money for a fan to be treated to some mediocrity.
And during last Sunday’s gospel show at Robin’s Park, fans did not only enjoy the live performances by many artists but also appreciate the thrilling and never-ending talent of Joseph Tembo and his Groove Magic Band which backed the artists fabulously.
This was during the album launch of Naotcha CCAP Main Choir which attracted a considerable audience.
As the main band, Groove Magic backed all artists, including Ethel Kamwendo-Banda, Kamuzu Barracks Gospel Singers (KBGS), Great Angels Choir, Ndirande Anglican Voices, Favoured Martha, Limbani Simenti and Gloria Manong’a.
The Groove Magic Band’s spell begun with the performance of Gloria Manong’a’s powerful hit Chilengedwe, whose live instruments, especially the enchanting and leading chords of piano connected well with fans. The band kept every note and bridge tight so much that Chilengedwe reverberated like an original CD.
The only problem with the live performance of Chilengedwe was a young woman, donning a greenish dress, whose dancing to the music of Manong’a appeared a bit rebellious than normal. On several occasions, she could be seen in conflicting dance moves with the live instruments, attracting a ‘my foot!’ interest even from the members of the band.
The Groove Magic Band’s approach to Limbani Simenti’s praise and worship Ndikuoneni brought about solemn atmosphere just like that of the church, which leads faithful into profound prayers or lamentation. But it is high time Limbani Simenti did a proper homework on his stage dress cord as sometimes he dresses as if he is going for some cheap walk in town where he could meet few people who do not mind about his form as a public figure.
In the world of creativity, live music performance is not about sticking to the blueprint of original songs recorded on the CD, tape or DVD but being flexible and able to connecting well with the audience, both physically and emotionally. This is exactly what Joseph Tembo and his Groove magic did to help the artists produce and deliver professional sound. However, it was up to the musicians to either goof or impress.
Most of the songs performed by the artists were delivered with a unique surplus of sounds ranging from well-crafted drums to extended scales of lead and bass guitars. This was necessary to suite the environment.
There was a proper coordination among the Groove Magic Band’s members, which comprised leader Tembo (on the keyboard), Collen Ali (lead guitarist), bassist Chambota Chirwa, just to mention a few.
Tembo could not help it but showed his in-depth talent on keyboard, which produced mesmerising sounds. His skill was much appreciated on the Great Angels Choir’s new flavour Tadikira, which entails some gently sloping lines of bass accompanied by the charming rolling of the entire beat.
Tadikira is rich in kwasa-kwasa whose instruments seem too complex to be played live. But Joseph Tembo and his Groove magic band just did it, proving its supremacy on live performances.
There is no doubt that Tembo, the former parliamentarian, was born a gifted artist because he has simply bounced back on stage to continue from where he stopped.