A group of local musicians calling themselves Concerned Active Musicians on Tuesday announced their decision to resume live music shows after a two-month break in compliance with precautionary measures for coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, especially social distancing.
Addressing the media in Lilongwe, the group, led by Wendy Harawa said the move comes after noticing that political parties have defied the ban on gatherings of more than 100 people as a precautionary measure against Covid-19.
Over the weekend both DPP/UDF alliance and Tonse Alliance held rallies and whistle stop tours across the country where thousands of people gathered without observing social distancing guidelines.
One of the musicians Lucius Banda said they have taken the action by politicians to mean that public gathering ban is no longer necessary.
He said: “We complied with the ban on public gatherings and stopped all live performances. But we have seen actions by those who announced the ban that it is no longer necessary.
“Markets are open, political rallies are happening where we seen thousands gather. We depend on live performances to earn a living and our stopping of holding live performances has taken a toll on the economy of band members.”
Banda, himself a politician as executive member of UTM party, said unlike political rallies, musicians have agreed to follow Covid-19 prevention guidelines like wearing of masks, social distancing, hand washing and the use of hand sanitisers.
Harawa said they will start with shows in all the three regions.
“We have lined up shows comprising top musicians in both gospel and secular, including ‘Soldier’ Lucius Banda, Black Missionaries, Skeffa Chimoto, Lulu, Ethel Kamwendo-Banda, Thocco Katimba and the Great Angels Choir,” she said.
Harawa said revenue will be used to give relief packages to musicians so that they can take care of their families.
In his remarks, Katimba said for a musician, two months without performances is like a total lockdown.
“We can safely say we managed to complete a lockdown of two months. We complied with government’s directive. But it is obvious that Covid-19 is here to stay and we have to live with it,” he said.
Ephraim Zonda, representing the Great Angels Choir, said there is nothing political about resuming shows.
“Music is our livelihood. If we don’t perform we will die with hunger,” he said.
The musicians present at the presser included Banda, Lulu, Thocco Katimba, the Great Angels Choir, Marvelous Deeds, Peter Mulangeni and Vita Chirwa.
But government spokesperson Mark Botomani told The Nation that government’s position on gatherings of more than 100 people still stands. “We know some politicians are not observing social distancing rules. We are equally worried. But this does not change the fact that gatherings of more 100 people are discouraged,” he said