Like the devastating Cyclone Ana, he stormed the country’s music arena; grappled it with the confidence of an artist who seemingly had been around since time immemorial.
Except that he wasn’t.
Martin Nkhata, stage name Martse, was relatively new to the industry. His life story is of a man who had always been on a mission.
In fact, his artistry in music, his lyrics and even his character kept dividing opinion since he was inducted to the scene.
Yet before we could all embrace his identity, the man had come, saw, conquered and now gone…leaving the ghetto gutted.
Just like that, a blossoming career gone; so futile.
“If I were to write an epitaph on Martse’s grave, if at all I would still have the energy left in me, I would have gone philosophical with it, befitting the deceased,” said journalist and arts enthusiast Fatsani Gunya.
“The inscription would read: ‘New baby shoes for sale; not worn’. This is because for all we know, Martse’ life- like a foetus in a miscarriage- was not lived to its fullest potential. In short, Martse didn’t happen. He’s gone faster than he came,” he wrote on his Twitter account.
Friday Chill, though in no usual chilling manner, got in touch with some artists for immediate reaction when news spread on their departed colleague. The move proved to be a masterstroke as emotions were captured as they came amongst many artists contacted.
Marcus Pasanje, alias DJ Mbuzi of the Dare Devils duo, was all emotional in his tribute:
“I dont remember life without Martse as he has been my friend since I can remember. He was the friendliest guy who just loved life and friends,” said the artist, his sobbing punctuating the tribute every now and then.
“Despite us being close we never worked on many projects. The first one was when I did a beat for him and Fredokiss on their first collaboration titled Zikomo. [breaks down again]
“I honestly feel empty.”
Dan Lu mentioned that he and Martse were in the studio for some project.
“It’s just a few weeks ago. We were working on a song…I don’t even have the right words now, excuse me.”
Multi-talented Lilongwe-based sensation Lulu still remembered young Martse’s first impression when the pair first worked together.
“I worked with him five years ago. This [his death] is too painful,” he said.
Just to ensure we are all on the same page, we are talking of the urban music artist who coined the famous phrase Lero tigona panja.
The phrase originated from his song Mkatimo, featuring Hyphen and Barry Uno.
One may not be in Malawi, let alone claim to be alive, if they insist they are yet to hear the phrase to date.
Martse was a lyrical genius; a great composer who expertly mastered his audience. His rhymes and stage antics were just top notch too.
Mwano, featuring Kell Kay, is arguably his famous song that instantly turned into a hit.
He was a definition of the Ghetto talent.