Sinetre back, explains why he quit Alleluya

Musician Charles Sinetre (SC) is one great artist that has contributed a lot to the growth of Malawi’s music industry. Nyasa Times (NT) talks to the man who was once at the helm of Balaka based Alleluya Band, one of the oldest bands in the country. After eight years of silence, he comes out of the shell and announces he is releasing a new solo album. In this interview, he talks about his new era in music and why he quit Alleluya Band.

NT: First, tell us about this solo album you’re about to release

CS: The album is called ‘Malawi Googler’ and is a 12-track that has been released after eight years of silence.

NT: Malawi Googler? Tell us more about the title.

CS: Am calling all patriotic Malawians to browse the possible ways of developing Malawi with the natural resources we have, like land, the lake, wildlife, minerals…as my argument is, all other countries who are doing fine is because of the same resources.

Sinetra: Back with Malawi googler

NT: Is it the same Charles Sinetre we know when he’s with Alleluya Band or you have taken a different approach?

CS: My music is whatever people will like, dance, feel, live and bring joy to them, so genre does not matter to me. Let alone, professionally we will start looking at genre as growing in music.

NT: So it’s a variety? Because people know Charles Sinetre as a ‘reggae artist’

CS: I love it and that is my real stuff, but I enjoy all genres of music, and knowing I have many fans with different tastes in music, I try to satisfy them all…check the Googler [and] you will see this.

NT: Any tracks in particular that people should lookout on the album?

CS: My messages are very special this time around [in] all tracks…[there are songs such as ‘Ena Akuseka’, ‘Ndaonera Mommo’, ‘Gunya Sasenda’, ‘Malawi Googler’ and ‘Timadziwana’ feat. Dan Lu’.

NT: Now, talking about your eight-year break from recording, why did you have that break?

CS: I went for studies in London, then I helped to establish a music school.

NT: What were you studying in London and which music school is this that you helped establish?

CS: I went to study music at the Thames Valley University and I was the Principal of Andiamo Music School when I came [back], that’s the school I facilitated

NT: And you’re no longer principal of the music school?


NT: What else are you doing now, apart from music?

CS: Am the director for a Youth NGO in Balaka called Nkhadze Alive Youth Organization.

NT: What exactly does this NGO do? Briefly.

CS: We do Youth empowerment in knowledge and skills, in HIV, Early child hood Development (ECD) and many others. Vocational skills for young people.

NT: Great stuff…all the best in everything you’re doing at Nkhadze. Now, back to Malawi Googler, when are you releasing the album?

CS: I am currently doing pre-launch [shows] and was at Zembani Lodge [over the weekend]. Am planning to tour Lilongwe, but the album may hit the market sooner than December.

NT: Are you going to tour Lilongwe only? I’m sure your fans across the country would love to feel your music before you release it.

CS: On the menu coming is Salima, KU [Kasungu], Mzuzu, Mangochi [and] Blantyre.

NT: The fans must really be looking forward to those shows. Now, with this your solo album coming out soon, there have been reports that Charles Sinetre quit Alleluya Band, what’s your say on this?

CS: Am not in Alleluya Band anymore but I can play with them if I want to, and my shows are backed by different artists across the country, those I feel like doing with…this time I have session artists like Peter Likhomo on bass, McDonald [Chimkango] on drums, Martin Chisomo on keyboards and Ralph Ching’amba.

NT: When and why did you leave Alleluya Band? Any plans to form your own group?

CS: I quit Alleluya Band in 2009 and there were no big reasons. I wanted to explore more on my career as a musician, like what am doing now, playing with different musicians so I can grow and nothing has come to my mind to form my own group when I want to enjoy performing with a lot of artists. So far I have done [performances] with Mafilika Band, Dan Lu and now am with a combination of wild and amazing musicians that I mentioned.

NT: A combination of wild and amazing musicians yes they are; talking of Ralph Ching’amba and Peter Likhomo. Now as we approach the end of this interview, just take us through the life of Charles Sinetre the musician, from the beginning to date. Briefly.

CS: I always remember people who helped me to come to who I am today, the likes of Italian Catholic Fathers, like Father Angelo Assolari, Rev. Fr. Mario Pacifici, the founder of Alleluya Band Paul Banda. I can still remember when I did my first composition ‘Takulandirani Apapa’, during the Pope John Paul II visit [to Malawi] in 1989 [and] my first show was at the Kamuzu Stadium [in Blantyre] on 4th May. I feel that era ends now when I start a new one with Malawi Googler. I always remember my fellow friends who we grew up [together] musically with the likes of Lucius Banda, the late Paul Chaphuka, Ken Kantazi, Noel Makadali, though he was a bit order. I remember when I cut my debut album Dalitsani Dziko. I do not forget Foster Chimangafisi. I also recall having recruited other young musicians, the likes of Charles Nsaku, Rod [Valamanja] and Paul Subiri, Adam Douglas and some more who are at large.

NT: How many albums did you release with Alleluya? Malawi Googler is your second album as Charles Sinetre?

CS: There are a lot of albums I have done with Alleluya but my solo albums are six: ‘Dalitsani Dziko’ with [the song] ‘Kulota Satumana’, ‘Umasiye’, ‘Timasilira’, ‘Chidiso Muntolo’, ‘Saulo’ and then ‘Malawi Googler’… I have done songs like ‘Chimangafisi Dollar’ and others in collaboration with other musicians.

NT: How would you describe the current music situation in Malawi, with this new crop of artists, the likes of Dan Lu, Lulu, Skeffa Chimoto, Maskal and others?

CS: Very competitive and musicians have to work hard. It’s good we should be having a lot with quality music like those you mentioned.

NT: And finally, anything you’d like to say?

CS: The ‘Malawi Googler’ is the album of my life and is the beginning of a new era for me….new approach to my music career. Watch out from O.G Issa and many other distributors, support the Googler.

NT: It’s been wonderful talking to you Charles, all the best with Malawi Googler and your new era in music.

CS: Thank you for taking the opportunity to talk me.

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