Urban Music People (UMP) Awards has named veteran music promoter and founder of Entertainers Promotions, Jai ‘Mr. Entertainer’ Banda, as this year’s recipient of UMP Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was introduced to recognise people who have made significant contributions to the local music industry.
UMP director Ken Zizwa said the 2019 UMP Lifetime Achievement Award will be given to Banda for his contribution to Malawi’s cultural identity through music.
Said Zizwa: “Jai Banda is the shining example in the music industry in Malawi. His influence and promotion of local music spans decades and transcends genres. He deserves to be recognised for generations to come and it’s a pleasure for us to honour him with this award now.”
Commenting on the development, Banda said he feels honoured and happy to have been recognised during his lifetime.
He said: “This is very good indeed. People who contribute enormously to the nation should always be accorded the respect while they are still alive. I am indebted to UMP for recognising the contribution I have done to the music industry.”
Entertainers Promotions was registered in 1989 and has been active for three decades.
According to Banda, the company was started with the aim of encouraging Malawian artists to be original and have an own identity on Malawian beat.
“That was the reason we introduced the Reggae by Foot festivals and then Pungwes to give a platform to Malawian artists to showcase their talent,” he said.
Commenting on the current music scene, Banda said it is a pity that up to now Malawi still has not come up with music which can truly be described as Malawian the way Zambians, Zimbabweans and South Africans have done.
“Our music should be such that once one gets to listen he will know that it is from Malawi. That’s what we have to work on. Our own identity so that we can also produce international stars.”
Entertainers Promotions has worked with Bright Nkhata and Makasu Band, Evison Matafale and Black Missionaries Band, Skeffa Chimoto, Ethel Kamwendo Banda, Gwamba and Piksy, among others.
Last year, the UMP Lifetime Achievement Award went to veteran musician Lucius Banda.
Previous recipients include producer Tapps Bandawe, FM 101 Power owner Oscar Thompson, the late reggae dancehall artists Mafunyeta, Vic Marley, entertainment outfit Black Life Entertainment and producer/rapper Dynamike.
The 2019 UMP Awards will be held on Saturday night, December 14 at Crossroads Hotel in Blantyre.