He has all what it takes to be called a mature artist and a force to reckon with in the country’s industry. But there is a need for mindset change among the audience for him to command a sound audience that would give him support befitting his caliber.”
This was Beverly Chitekwe, a fan of Sangwani Munthali’s music during the launch of the musician’s CD Ndipulumutseni and DVD Themba held on Saturday night at Robin’s Park in Blantyre.
Afro gospel musician Sangwani performed in Blantyre, a night after staging a similar show at Bingu International Conference Centre (Bicc) in Lilongwe where he delivered an epic performance.
Staying true to his talent and stage prowess, Sangwani equally put up a scintillating performance in Blantyre, to a total satisfaction of the few people that turned up for the event.
Unlike in Blantyre, where the audience shunned Sangwani’s launch, the Lilongwe one had a sizable turn up. But both shows had one thing in common: epic stage work delivered by Sangwani alongside his band.
The tickets were sold in advance to help patrons book their seats with much ease.
The organising committee for the launch deserved a pat on the back for devising a good plan for the launch both in Blantyre and Lilongwe.
The adverts and pre-shows started three months prior to the grand launch, creating a bigger room for homework.
Indeed, they must have prepared well for the launch despite the last minute disappointment by fans.
Sangwani, who features as a guest artist in gospel shows, admitted that he did not anticipate the low turn up of people for his album launch.
In Blantyre, his launch suffered a setback the same night Dan Lu pulled a large audience for his Sweet Banana pre-album launch at Blue Elephant.
The two artists targeted different audiences.A fan at Sangwani’s show noted that today’s entertainment industry heavily relies on the youth support in the country; hence, the need for artists to target and familiarise themselves with this market.
“Young people have become the driver of entertainment industry as far as their unwavering support is concerned. The youth are the number one consumers of both secular and gospel music and they have time to spare for entertainment activities. That is to say, if event organisers fail to tailor around young people’s interests, it’s a big loss,” observed Daniel Mwapasa, a music fan from Blantyre.
Sangwani is not new because he has been around in the music industry over a decade now. He released his debut album Mahomwa Ghafumu in 2000 and second album Themba in 2012. Fans have also equated Munthali’s music to the popular sound of legendary Mte Wambali Mkandawire, which is regarded a classic of some sort that targets a specific audience.
But the million kwacha question is that: what are the reasons for Sangwani to attract such poor audience despite his well-groomed talent and classic performance?
In Lilongwe, gold and silver tickets were going at K10 000 and K5 000 respectively, whereas, in Blantyre gold tickets went at K6 000 with silver at K3 000.
Could this pricing of the event be a cause for the poor turn up, may be?
“We did not expect a large turnout considering that Sangwani had been out of the music scene for a long time. Also, because we were aware that most Malawians are going through economic challenges,” said Sangwani’s manager Harry Chima.
He added that they are trying to established and tap into the niche that enjoys Sangwani’s type of music.
Chima said: “Our direction will, therefore, be towards targeting that niche. We have been well informed through the tours and we believe that Sangwani’s music will make a mark and that is why we did not compromise on the standard of the set and delivery of the music.”
On his part, Sangwani’s sponsor Vitumbiko Mumba said they launched a good media plan despite the poor patronage of Sangwani’s launch.
“Sangwani is not known to many people. As such, the low turnout was somehow anticipated at this tour of three cities. We believe as time goes, his music will be liked by people and many will come to appreciate him,” said Mumba.
He added that despite the low turnout of fans, their records indicate that they sold many CDs at the two event