Local music great Lucius Banda has been to many countries, performing in various high-profile venues but the turn to perform on the United States soil eluded him till now.
On Friday night, the artist, popularly known as Soldier, made his first appearance in the US when he gave out an impressive performance in Southbend, Indiana. This was the first show on his US tour under the American-African Cultural Forum.
The crowd was pregnant with expectation, the atmosphere was ecstatic and to cap it all, the performance was spirited and mature.
Supported by a full band consisting of Apatsa Kwilimbe on bass, Jay Stranger on keyboards, Twali Ngosi on the drums and Esther Kamdwinda on backing vocals, Banda gave the patrons a memorable night.
Soldier, who appeared for a concert that lasted nearly three hours, performed 15 songs much to the satisfaction of the audience.
One of the patrons, Phallys Ngalauka, who travelled from New York for the show, had this to say: “I can’t believe I am watching Soldier live in the USA. I have been a huge fan since I was a kid.”
He started his set with his hit song Nthawi then Tina, Kennedy, as well as other songs from his albums Son of a Poor Man and Down Babylon.
Another patron Roland Chinthunzi said he loves the song Nthawi for it resonates with most Malawians’ real life stories.
“This Nthawi song is going to go down as one of the most iconic songs to ever come out of Malawi. It gives real life stories while providing full dose of entertainment at the same time. I love this song,” he said.
After his performance Banda said he was glad to have finally performed in the USA.
“There has been an outcry from Malawians based in the USA for over 20 years for me to perform here because I have done so many shows in the United Kingdom, South Africa and across the globe but not in the US. I guess time had come,” he said.
One of the organisers of the show, Alex Chanthunya, said the it was very successful.
“We are going to Texas and then we will finalise in Washington DC. We are doing this under the African American Intercultural Exchange Forum. We have many Malawian children who were born here in America and they have little knowledge of our culture back home. We are here to fill that gap; hence, our decision to engage Lucius Banda because of his rich cultural depth and music,” he said.
After the show patrons had a chance to interact and take selfies with Banda.