This week as I took a walk around Motel Paradise I couldn’t help it but notice the numerous posters advertising live performances by Malawi artists. They ranged from secular to gospel artists promising scintillating performances in various venues around Blantyre.
I will say again that my home is a stone throw away from Motel Paradise which is one haven of live performances by artists and this gives me a front row seat to witness just how often Malawian artists do hold live shows.
As a music critic I sometimes wonder if the repeated and numerous performances that our artists give are as a result of passion or a quest to earn a living bearing in mind that music distribution is a challenge with the closure of OG Issa music centre.
I find it pleasing that Malawians can choose to attend music shows of their favourite artists week-in week-out in the major parts of the country. But as the trend is recommendable one can’t help but notice that it is the same artists who have the privilege of holding such shows albeit at the same venues.
If one asks around, the reasons why certain artists can’t hold shows, the answers range from lack of funds to poor patronage. Yet every week we see posters, newspaper adverts of say Mablacks holding shows or The Great Angels Choir having a series of shows where people patronize such shows.
This trend has two faces; one is that it gives Malawians that much needed entertainment. The other face is that the artists of bands which have resources are monopolising stage performances so much so that frequent patrons have gone to the extent of memorising how certain artists handle themselves on stage. Sentences like “Timangopita chifukwa tinazolowela” are common. In other words the ‘wow’ factor is long gone.
But is there a limit as to how often artists can hold live shows? The answer is no. However in order to sustain the interest of music lovers it is important for those artists who hold live performances frequently to make sure that they put in a lot when preparing for such shows.
This includes dressing, choreography and the singing itself. When one put in mind the frequency, one wonders as to whether some of these artists do have time to properly rehearse or they just jump on stage, a microphone in hand and sing their lungs out.