Jah people, musician Limbani Banda-Dube, who once called Malawian music TRASH is not your conventional mind.
When he made a cameo on MBC TV’s Music Splash on Saturday, it would have been easy for the self-styled Malawi’s Peter Tosh to join presenter Geoffrey Kapusa in ‘splashing on’ and praising the chaff the award-winning programme has been offering lately.
Instead, he run the rule over the station for the nation and its workforce, aptly finding them wanting. Actually, Dube-Banda rebuked the station for stifling sparkling local talent by over-replaying trash at the expense of great compositions.
Congratulations Limbani for realising that not all Malawian music is trash! Singling out award-winning jazz star Wambali Mkandawire and gospel group Chitheka Family among the very best, Limbani must also be commended for squarely pointing out what keeps the very best in the wings of the very worst—the unimaginative noisemakers.
Putting together a list of songs from an industry constipated with misfits of all kinds will always get a media institution under scrutiny, especially in Malawi where you have more musicians than the country is credited for.
But you will only come to agree with Dube-Banda when you see a 30-minute programme playingNyamuka Uzipita week in, week out. This also applies for shoddily done videos by women guilds and urban artists which have become a common sight.
Yet this is just a tip of the problem rocking the electronic media, the gate-keepers which use to occupy the coveted and praiseworthy role of separating good music from trash.
When noises that could be perfected into music dominate the airwaves with excessive superlatives from broadcasters and great works hardly get airplay, some of us wonder what happened to media’s insistence on quality, nothing but quality, unquestionable quality. As expected, the replays of blameworthy songs have left some accusing the gate-keepers of getting kickbacks to promote abysmal productions.
Like South Africa-based Aemo Eface said, pay-for-play only nurtures mediocrity while killing star productions.
And this is the prayer of any art-loving Malawian: Give us everyday the best of local music and save us from your beloved mediocrity. Splash on!