Jamaican reggae outfit, Morgan Heritage alongside their promoter for the Malawi show, Born Afrikan, have said they owe no one an apology for the artists’ use of a CD during their Strictly Roots Concert at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday.
Three band members who represented Morgan Heritage during the show—Mojo, Peetah and Gramps— drew an outcry from the audience which complained about the use of the CD even though the group had mentioned it during a press briefing they held soon after their arrival in Malawi on Friday.
The group had apparently mentioned that they would use backtracks, which is the same as saying that they would play over recorded music and they would only do vocals.
However, the trio said they understand patrons’ reaction to their performance, but it ought to be known that they gave the show all they could, considering the circumstances under which they worked, adding playing using a CD is just one of the ways artists do performances.
Said Peetah: “The reality is that in music business artists perform in different levels such as acoustic guitars, acapella or even backtrack which is what we did and the good thing is that we did mention during the [earlier] press conference that we had with the media only that maybe we could have put more emphasis on that.”
The Morgan brothers said the promoter, Born Afrikan, failed to bring the whole 17-member band into the country, a situation which left them with the option of cancelling the show or bringing only a few band members and perform with a backtrack.
The artists also justified their delay to come on stage saying it was because the promoter wanted to accommodate late comers to the show.
Nelson Shaba, popularly known as Born Afrikan, who is the promoter of the show, said it was practically impossible to bring all the 17 members of the band into the country because the budget for doing the job shot up overnight after promoters from the other countries pulled out and left all the bills to him.
According to him, what happened was the best in the interest of his fans as such there was no room for him to apologise, but rather he was ready to offer an explanation, saying: “I am not happy that they performed using a CD, but I am happy that they came. The promoters from Kenya, Senegal, Zimbabwe and Ivory Coast where the trio was scheduled to perform pulled out at the last minute and I was left with the bill of air tickets of about $9 000 [about K5.4 million] to take care of, yet initially we were supposed to share that bill and that was on the higher side for us.”
He also said he believes that the reactions could have been worse if the show was cancelled and that is why he opted to continue with the downgraded version of the show.
Born African further said that the trio insisted on using a CD inspite of his persistence that they could have used the South African band which backed Jamaican artists Fantan Moja and Luciano during the previous shows which he organised, adding: “I respect their decision not to play with any other band, if those are their rules I had to respect them.”
According to Gramps, theirs is not a vocal group which can go play with different types of bands, but rather a band which believes in knowing what sets of talent they are taking on board.
He said it would be easier to live with the fact that people may say Morgan Heritage has failed to impress after using a CD than having people say Morgan Heritage has not performed well when actually the performance was done by a different band altogether. n