The Real Sounds band leader plans to release a new album in Lilongwe next month, but what’s new? JAMES CHAVULA gives a low-down on the forthcoming release.
A Lmost a decade ago, a poor boy, fresh from Mwansambo Community Day Secondary School in Nkhotakota, raised a voice to his family to take him away to a land where his steaming dream to become a hitmaker could perhaps come true.
The young man had excelled in a church choir and impressed in schoolboy groups. He was tired of singing for fun, attracting deserved handclaps and ululations from hearers. Not many people in his birthplace and surrounding villages were in doubt he was destined for greatness.
Fortunately, his flight from the rural locality took off in earnest—with some turbulence though—when his father accepted to walk away from the maize-growing shoreline district to the capital Lilongwe to give the boy a shot at a new challenge.
Such was the humble beginnings of Skeffa Chimoto that his father makes no secret about his excitement as the singer keeps scaling new heights song after song.
Now, it seems there is no turning back for Skeffa Chimoto whose touchdown in the capital was somewhat more turbulent when a mix of poverty and joblessness reduced the newcomers to a hand-to-mouth livelihood.
Love of music
In fact, the humble dreamer, who could not wait to record his music from the village endured months of cleaning up the surroundings of a music studio, where he hanged out with versatile guitar wizard Lulu and keyboardist Bleek, to earn a living and learn new ways of making music.
Those were the hard times that slumped to even deeper
Frustrations with the release of his maiden album, Wekha, which flopped both on the shelves and on air in 2003.
Now, Skeffa is a musician to be reckoned with both locally and beyond the northwestern borders where Zambians rank him the finest produce of Malawi’s whining-and-wailing music sector.
This is a new exhilarating tune–a song of triumph over adversities–for the youthful singer who has gone up the rungs of the slippery stepladder to become a perpetual topseller in Malawi and Zambia where he commands a loyal customer base.
The newest good news from the Real Sounds, his home studio in Lilongwe’s Area 25 where a band of the same name perfects its skills, is that Skeffa is counting down to the release of a new album, Masomphenya, next month.
The forthcoming album, whose launch is slated for October 5 at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe, marks his return five years after the release of Chikondi in summer 2013.
It is also a litmus test asserting or downgrading his standing on a music terrain where singers of urban music genres have been deepening their influence while he was away.
This is the sixth album since he debuted with the lukewarm Wekha four years before he shredded the bad start with the astonishing bestseller, Nabola Moyo, in 2007.
The forthcoming release is a call to hard work and foresight from a man whose way up the charts is never short of both virtues in action.
Some perceive his rise as a sign that miracles still happen while doubters cook up sinister stories to downplay his potential.
To whoever it may concern, Masomphenya could be an explosive musical answer that offers many lessons on everything not to do when you want to breakaway from poverty.
In an interview, he said: “On the cover track, I urge people to work hard until their dreams come true. They need to set ambitious goals and toil instead of waiting for miracles to happen.
“Have foresight, work without giving up and stay focussed. Strive to achieve your goals instead of waiting for the days signposts will flip and what is mine will become yours. That day may not come anyway.”
But the man who wallowed in seemingly inescapable poverty in his boyhood has not taken it upon himself to rewrite the how-to-get-rich script.
He is only sharing lessons in his life, the other side of his experience–that time-honoured teacher– for he is a celebrity who lifted himself from zero to hero when getting a hand at the stars appeared most unlikely.
Love of truth
On the forthcoming album, Skeffa praises God for all the wonders he does even to those who question His existence and use their mighty hands to kill and rob.
This is the theme of