Sound and Light: The Malawi music fest that rekindled passion for local artists

The show was fantastic,  remarked  John Phiri music lover from Kasungu district , “it wasn’t as if it was organized by Malawians with an all Malawian artists line up. Everything was proffession, with international standard.”

A fair crowd thronged the beaches of Sunbird Livingstonia Beach Hotel to attend the Sound and Light Concert which proved to be a satisfying entertainment package for the patrons  from the September 29 to 30 in Salima.

That was how fans felt when the left Livingstonia Beach Hotel after a two day Sound and Light Concert organized by Entertainers Promotions over the weekend, from September 29-30.

Debate was rife before the show on whether it will be a success because it comprized of local musicians, the same musicians music lovers patronize every weekend in our cities.

Questions were asked as to why someone could travel to Salima to watch the same artists who will be near home the following week, let alone pay much more charge at the door.

“I just felt like going there to have a feel of what local artists can offer on their own. To me, it all about having some fun along our beautiful lake, but I was wrong. It was more than what I expected, it was massive,” said Phiri.

True to his word, the concert lived to its billing the first day, on Friday and time the stage was opened with the performance of an upcoming  reggae dancehall artists Queen B.

With a perfect performance of the famous Ndadutsa Pompa and a couple of songs, music lovers were served with soup of a main course yet to come.

The setting was great, the stage very massive and sound quality was just marvelous that the onus was on the musicians themselves to prove their worth to Malawians.

This was summed up by the performances of the Police Orchestra Band, Billy Kaunda, Charles Nsaku, Skeffa Chimoto and … Who performed till dawn.

These and other performances of Sir Paul Banda, Alleluya Band and Lulu brought about excitement amongst the fans.

The wonderful performances on the first day left untold stories to fans as they swim and cherish in the beauty of the lake on Saturday morning.

The second and final was not a disaster either save for some performances of upcoming musicians who showed little skill on stage work.

Performances by Beanca, Don Tarz and Ishan Capital showed some seriousness and willingness of growth in the industry.

It was until when Ethel Kamwendo stepped on stage that people started feeling the touch of real live music.

Queen Fyah, Tay Grin, Patience Namadingo, Edgar and Davis, Giddes Chalamanda had the fans on their feet until in the morning hour when the show reached the peak with Soldier Lucius Banda and Zembani Band perfoming before reggae giants the Black Missioneries summed it all till around 6am on Sunday.

Recent shows organized by Entertainers Promotions have been poorly patronized, with Tutsi Tuluka Gospel Festival in Blantyre as a recent example.

“There were concern that we may have a few people taking into consideration that this was a concert for local artists only,” said Duffy Chikakuda, Public Relations Manager for Entertainers Promotion.

He added that despite having local artists, they had confidence of a larger turn out because “the show organized professionally” with an aim to give the fans a feel of international standards when organizing local concert.

“At the end of the day, we proved all the doubting Thomases wrong. We were very overwhelmed with the turn out and how the show was run. Instead of the fans complaining, they were coming to us with compliments and words of encouragement,” he said.

Veterans vs upcoming musicians
Sound and light concert was held under the theme “Expose Talent to the World.”

“This is a show that is aimed at nurturing and promoting local talent. This is why there is a combination of both gospel and secular artists, veterans and upcoming artists,”  said Entertainers Promotions Director Tonderai Jai Banda earlier on.

True to his words, there was a good number of upcoming artists who were given a chance to perfom.

“There are some promising upcoming artists who, if given a chance and enough time they will have a bright future. There is potential in some of them. However, there are some of them who still have a long way to go. They went on stage as if they had no time to practice. They really failed to impress,” said Gift Chirwa who travelled all the way from Mzuzu.

According to Chikakuda, artists such as Don Tarz, Beanca, Queen B and Ishan Capital scored better marks with their performances.

“We are impressed with their performance. They have shown that they know what they want to achieve and with our support they will do it,” he said.

In an interview, both Tarz and Cyapital agreed that the challenge was tough.

“It wasn’t easy but I think there is potential in us as upcoming musicians. All we need is enough time on stage and the much needed support to break the barriers. We wish there were many promoters like Entertainers Promotions who are ready to give us that space,” said Tarz.

All in all, Chikakuda reiterated the desire to help upcoming musicians in realizing their goals.

“As team entertainers, we are here to stay and we are geared in promoting young artists. Sound and Light Concert will be there until our goal of exporting talent is achieved,” he said.

Perhaps, the concert has shown that Malawians are still hungry for more festivals by local artists but with good and professional organization.

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