usician Lucius Banda has released a new single titled Palibe. Though over the years the musician made his name as a ‘soldier’ of the poor by condemning social and political issues in his music, this time the musician has stayed away from his trademark.
His compositions for the better part of his career have led the push in fighting oppression, upholding human rights and denouncing any sort of political heavyhandedness.
Before the release of Palibe, there were growing calls from a section of his fans for him to drop a song reflecting the current socio-economic and political situation in the country.
Time and again, on his social media handles, he has been bombarded with such requests. But if his new single is anything to go by, those fans will have to wait a little longer as the artist has tactfully avoided tackling the suggested themes.
Instead, the Balaka-based musician has gone to address the general human-centred issues which are more spiritual than political.
In the song, Lucius is denouncing the tendency of rushing in passing judgement on other people’s behaviour while holding ourselves in high esteem.
In an interview yesterday, ‘Soldier’ said the subjects he tackles are informed by his own research and understanding of issues and, therefore, will not be forced by anyone to sing what they want.
“I am not an artist who can be told what to sing. Singing about politics is my prerogative. The moment an artist is fed what to sing, it means he has lost his relevance. If I can sing politics now according to how I understand issues and what they want, they won’t like it,” he said.
The artist said if people can reflect on some of his older compositions, they will find that some of the issues that people are complaining of today were addressed on those compositions. He insisted that he remains the voice of the poor as he always tells them the truth without using them to hold government at ransom for his own gains.
But one thing which is clear in the song is his return to his traditional Balaka reggae he was known for.
The collaboration with Coss Chiwalo, who he worked with during the early days of his career at Alleluyah Band till the formation of Zembani Band, underlines that fact better.
He said: “We have been doing all sorts of music, which has been good going by the response we have received. But we still have that section of old fans who still wants to listen to the Mabala type of music during our shows. We needed to freshen our playlist.”
Music enthusiast Martin Chiphwanya says the song has brought back the old Lucius who was known for the Balaka music touch while resting the strength of the song on a blend of spiritual and real life situations.
“It is a great tune with a powerful message. Some of his songs address political issues, spiritual and other contemporary issues. It would be unfair to say he has deviated from his path based on one song. Maybe, let’s wait till he releases a full album,” he said.