Musicians Association of Malawi (MAM) president, the Reverend Chimwemwe Mhango, believes the influx of foreign artists in Malawi could be a signal of a favourable market Malawians lack elsewhere.
The MAM leader was reacting to the coming of South Africaâ€™s hitmakers Professor and Mark Hazel, Botswanaâ€™s Makhirikhiri, Zimbabweâ€™s Banyana Bafana, Maliâ€™s Salif Keita, Zambiaâ€™s Mampi and other artists who toured Malawi in the past month.
Â â€œInternational artists research on their popularity in various countries. With more and more Malawians falling in love with foreign music, they are assured of making good money out of their fame,â€ said Mhango in interview.
But trends show most visiting artists headline shows organised by locals. Entertainers Promotion president Jai Banda confirmed that nearly all of them come on invitation.
Mhango said MAM chair is negotiating with government to put strict measures on foreign artists coming into the country â€œbecause our laws are looser than in other countriesâ€ and proposes thorough probes into the motives behind their shows.
Â â€œThe artists and promoters are businesspeople. They cannot just come and go without paying anything. Government has mandated MAM to collect a fee from incoming artists, but it becomes a problem for the promoters to pay us,â€ he argued.
The clergy-cum-artist blamed the shortage of Malawian artists travelling outside the country on lack of exposure and reliable record labels.
He said this calls for increased investment from government, individuals and organisations.
Â â€œOur artists are not inferior, but the record labels available are not of international repute to promote our artists beyond the borders. With internationally certified recording firms, our musicians can easily break through,â€ he said.
He bemoaned that businesspersons are mainly investing in distribution companies which â€œcash in on musicians rather than promote themâ€.
Jai Banda Banda concurred that Malawian music is exportable but it is not marketed internationally.
Â â€œWe have recording companies which concentrate purely on recording the artistsâ€™ songs and not marketing them. At OR Tambo International Airport in South Africa, Wambali Mkandawire is the only Malawian artist who displays his music alongside albums from the rest of the continent,â€ said Mr Entertainer in an interview.