The music event at Winehouse in Namiwawa, Blantyre on Sunday afternoon was dubbed an all-acoustic set with Lilongwe-based musician Lulu as the headline act.
All the acts preceding Lulu’s highly-anticipated appearance on stage made sure they stuck to the script in keeping the music atmosphere strictly acoustic.
Though it was a strictly acoustic set, where people were just expected to sit and listen, Lulu refused to drop one of his loved elements of his act: dancing. The artist ignored the acoustic code and rolled into his full dancing mode. He wiggled his waist much to the delight of the audience.
A few women also joined him in the dancing frenzy.
There was time for one-time Madalitso Band manager Neil Nayar to entertain patrons with a couple of covers from the likes of Stonard Lungu and others.
His performance proved a hit among the patrons as they marvelled at his laboured Chichewa singing. He seemed more at home with his guitar when he dished out a number of songs from global icon Don Williams.
The platform also served to introduce the Ntcheu-based acoustic quartet Ufa Wamtedza Vibrations, whose one-hour stay on stage proved to be a marvel to watch. Their unique compositions provided the humour the sizeable patronage needed on an otherwise chilly afternoon in Blantyre.
If anyone thought veteran guitarist Snowden Ibbu’s music days were over then they were proved wrong on Sunday. He went on stage exuding his usual modesty. Those who did not know him may have been asking questions as to who the man was.
His stay on stage reminded patrons why he remains one of the respected names in acoustic music in Malawi. In his usual soft and measured voice, Ibbu dished out a number of his old favourites such as Abale Anga.
When he walked off stage, he was accorded a resounding applause befitting a man of his artistic stature.
Ibbu’s performance raised the curtain for Lulu. It was a moment to sample sounds from Lilongwe.
He appeared on stage without the company of his Mathumela Band team. Instead, he was accompanied by a four-man supporting act which included experienced drummer Omex Chimpeni.
Though lacking the usual support, Lulu had his biggest weapon: the guitar strapped around his neck. He did not reserve any time for greetings and introductions. He let the strums of his guitar do the talking.
Though his guitar is a dominant feature in his songs, it is not entirely acoustic. So, in this set Lulu and company had the big task of transforming the original songs to new versions altogether. The results were not that bad.
Songs such as Tayima, Pemphero Langa, Ndidzalera proved to be big hits among the patrons. Some could not even resist but join Lulu on stage.
Poet Q Malewezi, who was among the patrons, said: “Few years ago, you would never expect people to come and pay K5 000 for an event like this where they just sit and listen. There is some progress which has been facilitated by people’s change in mindset.”
The event had less than 50 patrons with a good number of them wearing masks while others did not.