Those who grew up in the early 1990s would attest to the fact that there was the Balaka rhythm, a locally brewed music genre, which was done by some of the biggest music stars in Malawi.
During its prime years it was influential and defined Malawi music as a whole. And the man who created and perfected the art of Balaka reggae, ‘Sir’ Paul Banda, deserves all the credit.
After a stint with Malawi’s oldest band, Alleluya through its infancy, his journey there led him to another musical path; a producer at his Imbirani Yahweh Studios in Balaka.
Several artists who are part of the 1995-2005 golden decade for Malawi drunk from his well as a musician or as a producer.
With the old generation well versed with hits such as Chimwemwe, Malilime, Konzani Moyo and Mudzigona Panyumba all brewed at IY Studio, these are some of the songs on the DVD to be launched at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe tonight.
Under Anthu Ambiri Records, the songs on the DVD, The First and The Best of Sir Paul Banda, have been taken from his 16 albums.
“I had my reasons of not doing a DVD all this while, but after being convinced, I felt it was time. You know, future generations will hear of Paul, what I have done, but will not know how that man looked like. Again, DVDs and television stations came in the country recently, but I used to associate their coming with something only for the youth,” said the legend in an interview.
The legend, who will soon release his 17th album, said he is excited about the launch.
Paul said he involved his younger brother and protégé Lucius at an advisory level since he is tied up with his music as well as his role as a member of Parliament, which is demanding.
“I urge people to come and witness a new chapter in my career as I launch my first ever DVD at Bingu International Conference Centre in Lilongwe. The DVD has got 10 songs which I believe truly represent all the albums I have done,” said the singer and guitarist.
Most musicians, including Lucius, Billy Kaunda, Mlaka Maliro, Coss Chiwalo, Charles Sinetre, Charles Nsaku, Patrick ‘Abigi’ Tung’ande and Joseph Tembo, shot to fame, directly or indirectly, through Alleluya Band and IY Studios.
However, most of them are tied as such only a handful will join the legend on stage, according to Zachariah Jezzman, who has spearheaded the production of the DVD through Anthu Ambiri Records, the launch will be part of celebrating Paul’s journey in music.
“The launch will see Paul sharing the stage with his brother Lucius alongside San B as well as Great Angels Choir. Paul Banda is one of the music legends in Malawi having embarked on the music journey at a very tender age of 15. His story of how he started his music journey is amazing and that is why we embarked on the DVD project,” said Jezzman.
Paul started his musical journey in 1978, when with the help of a Roman Catholic Priest, he established Alleluya Band.
This band, through its music, has evangelised while singing life with joy for close to four decades without a break.
Till date, its best export remains Lucius, as in 1997 he moved out of the nursery to form Zembani Band, a group that has significantly changed the terrain of Malawi music since then. n