In recent years, Malawian musicians have had footprints in neighbouring Zambia where they have almost established themselves.
Legend tells stories of how music of the likes of the late Ned Mapira, Lucius Banda, the late Paul Chaphuka and Mlaka Maliro has been embraced across the border. In recent years, other Malawian artists such as Thomas Chibade and Skeffa Chimoto have also made inroads into the Zambian music market.
And now the new generation of artists appears to be falling for the allure of the Zambian copper with a number of artists have found themselves under the trappings of the Zambian music charm.
In 2018, musician Patience Namadingo signed under a Zambian record label and management Elation Entertainment owned by corporate guru Sokwani Peter Chilembo. The entertainment stable has seen the rise of Namadingo’s music brand in that part of the region.
Namadingo said: “My name is a household name in Zambia. And slowly I am becoming visible in the whole Southern Africa Development Community [Sadc] region. The quality of my audio and video products can attest to that.”
In an interview, the artist said it is impossible to ignore the strides that the Zambian music industry has made especially in handling the business side.
“The establishment of record labels that have seriously invested in the music business is huge that side. Labels such as Elation, Nexus and Kalandanya have invested in the multi-million kwacha industry. But slowly we will catch up here in Malawi,” said Namadingo.
The latest to board the Zambian ship courtesy of Elation Entertainment is rapper Tay Grin, who during press time was in Zambia.
During the trip, the Nyau King made appearances in a number of talk shows on Hot FM, QFM, Phoenix FM and Joy FM and television interviews such as Diamond TV, ZNBC TV1. The artist has described his excursion as historic.
“Our song with Patience was played on Born and Bred, which as you hear from the name ,is strictly for indigenous Zambian music. We were featured there and from now they will be featuring other Malawian music.
“We featured on Hot FM which is reserved for politicians and influential people, but we managed to make it there,” he said.
Tay Grin has revealed that he has struck an agreement with Elation Entertainment who will be managing his brand in Zambia as he seeks to expand his reach in that part of the region.
He said: “Zambia has endless opportunities. Just being here has showed me that endorsement deals are plenty, artists are making good money and record labels are well-structured. There are a lot of things we can learn from our brothers and apply them back home.”
The Chipapapa creator said if Malawi is to build and expand its music industry it needs everyone to come on board to fight and push for things as one block.
“Malawi has a small industry and we need to grow our territory, we need to be able to do business in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and we need to expand as Malawian artists if we want to grow our careers and the music,” he said.
Another artist who has been looking at events happening beyond the Mchinji border is Afro-pop star Dan Lu. The singer recently announced four different collaborations with Zambian artists.
Dan Lu has worked with Macky 2 on the song I am Feeling You, T Sean on the song Everyone General Kanene and Daliso in Elube and Usabise which he has featured The Organised Family.
Dan Lu said: “I have had ties with Zambia since 2005. I have performed there several times. Most of the guys there are my friends and I take it as an opportunity to expand my career.”
The artist said the opportunities in Zambia are endless as it allows Malawian artists to hold shows and sale their music. He has indicated that he will release his four songs in the coming month.