When Miracle Chinga alongside Patience Namadingo, released a mashup of her mother Grace’s songs, the tongues went wagging. Some said the mashup was a failure and that it seemed like a shouting contest between Patience and Miracle, with her brother Steve Spesho trying to simmer things down.
Others felt the Grace mashup was okay and they had done justice to Uleke, Abisalomu, Wayalula, Akanapanda Yehova, Ndinu Yehova and Bwenzi Langa.
Nothing, however, was mentioned about Miracle’s improvisation, especially when they were doing Bwenzi Langa.
In these times of Covid-19, Miracle improvised that message, typical of an artist knowing a thing or two where a live performance or recording is concerned.
She sings in part:
Ine kungokhala chete
Kuti adani asowa
Kuti maluzi agonja
Kuti korona wagonja”
When the first Covid-19 case was reported in Malawi, the message musicians sent across was one of fear. A diversion to that was only on masking up, hand-washing, social distancing and other preventive measures.
Today, musicians are crafting their messages creatively, and their messages are now filled with hope.
When they released Ndalama, with Namadingo, the Dowa-based choral group Mitengeli proved they mean business on the Malawi music scene. They have solidified that with their latest release, Look Sharp.
In street lingua, ‘look sharp’ means be careful. The main theme in the song is betrayal. It talks of how King David got Uriah killed for his wife; how Delillah betrayed Samson and how Judas betrayed Jesus.
Yet, the song takes a new twist when they sing:
Yemwe wakhala naye
Akhoza kukupatsira matenda, suntha”
Here, the message of social distance is evident. They don’t stop there:
“Lero chikondi chidatha
Lero chanza chidatha
But they come with a message of hope in the face of the pandemic.
Ku milili yachilendoyi
Ndi Yesu yekha
Another artistically woven song in these Covid times is Piksy’s Mzanga. These days, a greeting is worth so much and the artist opens the song with a greeting to a friend in times where waking up to the news of death has become a phenomenon.
In the song, Piksy, for one, remembers DJ Kenny Klipps, who passed on recently.
Piksy is nostalgic about the days before the pandemic:
“I miss those trips to the lake
Zima boat ride uku tikusekelera
Achina DJ Klipps on the decks
Yet, Piksy brings the message of hope that the days will be back.
As reflected in the song, Piksy feels Covid-19 has taken away the bright side of life.
“Well, I feel covid-19 has robbed us the right to chill in groups like we used to. I miss the smiles on our faces that showed that we were very happy with life, we felt alive. It’s all in the past since now everyone has to be in their homes,” he said in an interview.
Piksy said the song is basically giving people the reason to call or greet friends daily.
“We need hope greatly. We need to be checking on each other on a daily basis to keep each other alive,” says Piksy.
Echoing Piksy’s sentiments is Skeffa Chimoto, who brings hope in Zitha.
In the song, he refers the situation as a war against a vice that has stalled the economy, education, entertainment and other sectors of life. Yet, in the gloom, there is hope.
“I feel the responsibility to pass the message of hope even in hard times. Let us not lose hope. We are in this together and God will see us through,” he said.