Malawi’s most popular reggae band, Black Missionaries on New Year’s Day made a short trip from their base in Chileka, Blantyre to Machinjiri where they performed at Ozone Refreshment Centre.
The start of the performance was delayed by a heavy downpour but as soon as the skies cleared up, the group reorganised itself on stage and the sound went up. Intermittent showers dogged the performances throughout but a large section of the patronage wasn’t moved. They danced through the rain till midnight.
On a day which the Chileka-based group brought all its prized assets in the names of Moda Fumulani, Khonzie Masimbe, Anthony Makondetsa, Chizondi and Anjiru Fumulani, it was 19-year-old Mirriam Kuboma who set tongues wagging.
The Standard Six dropout was first invited on stage by Moda Fumulani as he did a rendition of his elder brother Gift Fumulani’s composition Tiye Kwathu. The teenager was tasked with the duty of doing the female voice in the song.
Mirriam surprised the patrons as she did the lines with utter precision as if the sound came from a CD. For a moment, the highly elated fun-seekers, who paid little attention to the drizzles, stopped to listen to the new voice on stage.
Her second chance to impress the patrons came when Masimbe took to the stage. Midway through the performance of his song Mafunso Anga, Masimbe once again invited Mirriam to the stage.
Yet again the young girl mesmerised the patrons with another impressive cameo. Her last lap on stage was when Anthony Makondetsa did his song Mbumba Za Abraham. During her performance she continually signalled to keyboardist Chizondi Fumulani, giving him instructions to adjust the tempo of the beat according to how she wanted the flow to go. At one point, Makondetsa was prompted to say: “Amadalira Chizonditu mwanayu.”
Despite the apparent synergy between her and the Black Missionaries Band, Mirriam said she had never practised with the group but known the songs by heart.
In an interview, the budding star, who has also shared the stage with Favoured Martha, Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Limbani Simenti, Skeffa Chimoto and the late Grace Chinga, said her plan is to release a gospel album.
“I do not enjoy being out there. I just do it because I want to get something to keep myself going as I do not have any parental support at the moment,” she said.
The group’s leader Anjiru Fumulani said their first contact with Mirriam was about four years ago when she joined their performance at Trade Fair Grounds in Blantyre. He said since then, the girl has attended most of their performances held within Blantyre.
Fumulani said: “She is a unique talent. She does almost each and every of our songs which is amazing given her age. What we want is just to give her a platform to get a little something given her condition and background.”
He said they will try to mobilise resources to make her dream of releasing her own album become a reality adding: “We want to identify people who can understand her style so they can work with her without any problems.”
Elsewhere, celebration marking the New Year also took centre-stage. In Blantyre at Scenic Events Centre, Phyzix and Dan Lu gave out a good performance, ushering patrons into the New Year.
However, Dan Lu complained of how local fans promote and embrace foreign artists, ignoring local talent.
He was reacting to the low turnout that marred the event. Some of the songs that the two performed included Part of Life, Akumva Pain, Cholapitsa and Ghetto Simasunga Kape.
The two artists shared the stage to perform a song they did together titled Noni Noni.