Dikamawoko Arts, the organisers of Wambali Mkandawire’s concert at M-Theater in Blantyre last Saturday night, have hinted that services of Malawian artists such as musicians deserve more support to improve their lives and the industry at large.
Dikamawoko Arts director Tawonga Nkhonjera was commenting on the K20 000 ($27) gate fees for Mkandawire’s concert, which was deemed expensive and may have resulted in low turn-out.
“The country’s artists deserve improved income through booking and gate fees due to the high cost of living.
“If we afford to pay thousands of kwacha to foreign artists, why should we fail to do the same to our own people? Let us learn to pay more for local artists or contribute to the death of their industries because of negative perceptions,” said Nkhonjera.
He argued that Malawian artists continue to live in poverty partly due to Malawians’ negative perception towards their services.
Currently, most live shows in Malawi attract gate fees between K1 000 and K2 000 ($3), which Nkhonjera described as deplorable.
Commenting on the development, Ephraim Zonda, director of the Great Angels Choir, said gate charges for gospel shows remain on the lower side, but it is high time people started supporting artists.
“Today, gate charges of gospel shows remain low, yet fans have a wide variety of performers. But this negatively affects the quality of services rendered because to put up a professional performance requires sound capital and resources such as equipment.
“So, with the low gate charges it becomes impossible for artists to recover the money which we use to hire equipment and supporting artists,” said Zonda.
Few artists from Malawi organise concerts as individual acts. So far, it is Wambali, Peter Mawanga, Agoroso, Ben Mankhamba and Lawi who have dared the industry.
A music fan said it is the quality of artists that determines the support they get.
“It is to do with the standard of performance coupled with talent and maturity. You cannot pay a lot of money to watch a substandard performance. So, artists need to pull up their socks if they are to win people’s hearts and support,” said Eddie Masongola, a music fan from Blantyre.
Music tutor Wyndham Chechamba tipped the country’s artists to invest in training which could help to turn them into sought-after performers.
“It is only compelling talent, coupled with skills, that attracts support from fans who always associate themselves with good things. So, artists should start investing in training and talent that will eventually turn them into sought-after items. After all, who will complain to pay K5 000 ($9) or K10 000 ($14) for a quality performance from a skilled musician?” said Chechamba.