The song Zowala Za Mwana Wangu [My Child’s Wedding] is one of 2016’s most played tracks in parties and clubs, besides enjoying airplay on most radio stations in the country.
However, little is known about the lyrical content of this hit done by Machuluka, born Andrew Mphande.
Sang in Tonga, Zowala Za Mwana Wangu tells a story of a parent on cloud nine over a child’s wedding.
Released at a time when most artists in the country are losing their heads to foreign musical touch, Machuluka searches deep into his Tonga traditions and develops a musical touch that is distinct and unique.
The song fuses aspects of Tonga traditional dances such as Honala and Malipenga—and the product is purely fresh and adorning.
Such that it has, already, received a warm reception from a well-established author and academician, Dr Levi Zeleza Manda.
In his Weekend Nation weekly column Bottom Up, Manda argued that the song has shown that there is a strong living affection in artistic expressions which are done in a preferably excellent local touch.
He further said that the song has brought joy and comfort among Malawians of diverse backgrounds.
Music critic Mervin Mwale says the power of Zowala Za Mwana Wangu is mostly in the careful fuse of the beats.
“You may not understand the contents of its lyrics, however, the harmony in the beat is refreshing. It takes you to a village, to your people and that is the power of music. It goes across cultures,” he said.
The 29-year-old musician has also done many other Tonga numbers. They include Mwakambanga Boza, Ndituza Muoli Wangu, Liwozga la Nyifwa and Ndakusowa Kumudzi.
Inspired by gospel singer Lawi, Machuluka says he is currently working on his first album set for release early 2017.
Machuluka ventured into serious and professional musical production in 2015, besides having started playing a guitar in 1995 while in primary school.
He further said doing songs in Tonga works to his advantage because it is a language he understands, loves and cherishes the most.
He feels optimistic with his musical journey owing to the warm reception of Zowala Za Mwana Wangu.
Commenting on traditional music trends, Machuluka says it is interesting that most artists in the country are fusing traditional elements in their songs.
“As a country, we are progressing well in traditional music. However, we still need to be unique and avoid direct copying from what our fellow artists have already produced besides avoiding usage of instrumentals done by Nigerian artists,” he said.
However, Machuluka is worried with copyright woes in the music industry, adding that his two tracks, Zowala Za Mwana Wangu and Mwakambanga Bodza hit the streets before their official release. n