A little while back, MacMiye and Henlashi were household names; their music albums were huge market shakers and Chill’s encounter with the duo earlier this week was as surreal as their music back then.
In a rare interview on Tuesday, the talented duo of MacMiyeMdowa and Henderson Mlashi, popularly known by their stage names MacMiye and Henlash, explained how they met in 2003.
Sitting on a lounge terrace facing a smart Nissan X-trail he owns, the calm and collected MacMiye told Chill that his partnership with Henlashi was by sheer chance.
“We met at Andiamo Campus in Balaka where I had gone to record a demo tape with Allelluya Band, which I wanted to bring to Royal Promotions who showed interest in music
“Apparently, Henderson was doing computer studies at the campus and when he heard my music, it just clicked with the type of music that he was also planning to record and we eventually agreed to work together,” he said.
MacMiye explained that their debut 10-track Atisamale Ndani? album had several hits such as Amuna Anga and Mulidziwa Dziko in which a woman is complaining that her husband has abandoned her, settled in Kasungu and does not call or even write her letters:
Mmene munkachoka munandisiya ndili odwala ndipo ndinabereka mwana dzina lake tinamutchula Tchonani/Manyowe, manyowe, manyowe ine chitenje nchimodzi, chomwecho ndivale, ndifunde ndimbelekere mwana… repeated the chorus of the song.
These two hits enjoyed massive airplay on the country’s radio stations and climbed to the zenith of music charts, demonstrating that the album was baked by two top notch producers Sir Paul Banda and the versatile Chuma Soko with Peter Likhomo manning the bass guitar and Reuben Chongwe strumming the lead guitar—completing the talent that laid their expertise on the album back in 2002.
However, the two feel their second project titled Amaona released in 2006 was far more successful.
“The title track Amaona inspired many people as it talked about realities of life…sikuti ukabadwira mbanja losauka udzafa osauka kapena ukabadwira mbanja lolemera udzafa olemera, chifukwa ambuye amaona, the pair song on the track.
Now, drawing from their past success, the resilient duo disclosed to Chill that they are bouncing back; first with a rework of their most popular hits then a full new project will follow.
“It’s been over seven years since we released that album, but we still receive a lot of phone calls and emails from our fans especially in South Africa and Europe requesting our music and we are looking to getting into the studio with Paul Banda to reproduce our music.
“It turns out that many oldies have been redone by artists for royalties, but for us it will be just for our fans. It’s often exciting to see musicians who have been off the radar come back and the unexpected seven-year break has revitalised us and we are ready to swing up again. Our next project will also be a game changer; it won’t just be a musical album, but an idea that will change the business,” stated the soft-spoken Henlashi, who hails from Ndomole Village, T/A Kapichi in Thyolo and now doing social work with Nkhadze Alive Youths Organisation in Balaka, which is headed by veteran musician Charles Sinetre.
Commenting on the status of the music industry needs in the country MacMiye observed that unless serious music distribution and record companies emerge on the scene, musicians will not reap handsomely from their artistic works.
“Lack of these, including piracy forces or confines most musicians to concentrate on the local market.
“This is also why you see a lot of artists organising huge album launches so they can make quick and big money before their work is pirated,” said MacMiye, who is now into second hand car sells and he also co-owns a civil engineering company in Lilongwe.