Reggae/dancehall is a music genre that is popular around the world, but is yet to make tangible inroads in Malawi. One local reggae/dancehall artist, who owns an entertainment stable Baobab Entertainment, has embarked on a project to promote the genre across Africa. His name is Tanthwe Madalitso Jelemani, popularly known as TJ Bless. Our arts editor EDITH GONDWE sat down with Baobab Entertainment administration director Burnet Mulungu to learn more about the project. Exceprts:
First, what is the revolutionary project?
Revolution Volume 1 is a reggae/dancehall music album compiled by several artists correctly called Reggae-Dancehall Army Africa. It was recorded here in Malawi and South Africa and got mastered in Germany at Planet Earth Studios by Ganjaman. The project was introduced and initiated by Malawian reggae artist and actor TJ Bless who is based in Germany, real name Madalitso Jelemani, under his entertainment company called Baobab Entertainment.
What inspired the founder to come up with this project?
The founder, who is also an artist and an actor, was inspired by his personal experience in the music industry. He observed that Malawi as a country has great talent and potential when it comes to arts and music, but there’s not much done to uplift that. And also, his previous experience that many artistic works are not properly given a global audience made him decide to come up with a long-standing solution.
All this drove him to assemble a team of artists that can take the music to global platforms and get recognised. Despite the project starting in Malawi, the target is always Africa and the whole world.
Why reggae dancehall?
The founder of the Reggae-Dancehall Army Africa and Baobab Entertainment is a reggae/dancehall artist and starting off with reggae music was ideal as it is a field that he [TJ Bless] has more knowledge and experience in. And also reggae music is one of the music genres in Malawi and Africa that is not given that much attention except for the already established big names in the game. Baobab Entertainment took a different approach by uniting all the up-and-coming artists in the country on a revolutionary journey. Reggae and dancehall project is just the beginning of projects that are put in place at Baobab Entertainment [i.e. a hip-hop project is being prepared]. Baobab Entertainment recognises all forms of art and related artistic elements [projects that have impact on art and music].
So far in Malawi, who are the artists that you are working with?
Reggae/dancehall Army Africa comprises artists like Mwiza Sambo, Mandizo, Viddiex Fyah, Massa Xross Fyah, Queen Fyah, Trumel, Sibunyenyana, Sean Morgan, Dada Sato, Chycoon Njuchi King, Divine Rythms , Oneness Crew [Nesnes, Donald, Deward, Atcheya, Shadow B], T Kells , Tamia, Daniel Psalms, Theophilus, Family Roots , Rudebway Dewa, St33n and many others.
How are you promoting the project and how do you plan to move on from this step?
We have launched a digital campaign for the album where we are promoting digital copies of the album available on all digital platforms worldwide distributed by Baobab Entertainment itself. We have had interviews on both radio and television to promote the album plus publications, magazines and blogs.
We are planning to have an album launch show in one of the cities soon. The album is also available for sale on www.baobabentertainment.com. Baobab Entertainment also offers music distribution services on over 100 digital platforms worldwide, including tidal, deezer, iTunes and Amazon, among others.