There is one common element about musicians now. Many are using live bands on stage as opposed to the use of CDs.
Not long ago, the fad was use of CDs, but on Malawi’s music scene today, live bands are in aggressive competition for space and loyalty with solo stars. What is more encouraging is that a number of young artists are accepting this live band trend, offering the fan maximum exposure of the music.
The birth of entertainment outfits like Nde’feyo rendered the CD absolete as they made it a point to anchor all their artists with Maziko Band.
Maskal, Lulu, Piksy, Armstrong and Dan Lu just to mention a few, have all perfectly earned themselves space in the Malawi music revolution.
But what does this suggest of the country’s music?
Waliko Makhala, one of the country’s renowned music analysts and experts, says the development shows that Malawi music is adapting to changes globally, predicting a great future for the country’s music.
“Live bands give life to music. They relate the artist to music, the music to the artist. And when this is connected to the audience, it becomes interesting. The sound is more solid and professionalism is coming in,” he says.
“The global trend nowadays is that musicians now perform with live bands. Few use international programmable facilities which operate with instruments like guitars. Audiences are so much in love with live music as it is real other than miming,” added Makhala.
Makhala also expressed contentment that the country is grooming young artists who are mastering the use of live equipment.
Abel Kumwenda, of Phindu Promotions, said the rise in live music acts is a reflection of the long growing interest in live acts by people.
“For a long time, Malawians have been wanting to attend real live shows, musicians will sing as opposed to miming, will perform as opposed to acting. As a music promoter, I make sure all my shows are live just to give people what they really want and deserve. The development is both beneficial to musicians and the fans,” said Kumwenda.
One of the young musicians whose stage work mystery continues to woo fans Armstrong Sopani Kalua says the development is a revolution of Malawian music.
“Live musical performances give an artist as well as patrons an original feel of music. At the same time, people are able to appreciate talent. It is, therefore, very important for Malawian artists to master live performances. It benefits more people as artists can prolong their time on stage and the industry continues to grow, through the experiences gained while performing,” said Armstrong.
However, some people would opt for a performance without a live band as it is cheaper to hire than a whole band. But is it worth the savings if you cannot have the communication and vitality that a live performance brings?