I should start with greetings for the New Year which is just a few hours away. Starting from last week, I took you back on the journey of 2011 where the Pen drummed out a number of issues regarding our industry.
I want us to part with 2011 by continuing to look at a few selected pieces that we talked about in the year.
In the 2011 I asked a question: 'Where are female secular musicians?'
I argued that if you were to point out at a secular lady musician in the country, would you do that at the drop of a hat?
I confessed that I only know Amina Tepatepa, Emma Masauko, Wendy Harawa, Maria Chidzanja-Nkhoma and Beatrice Kamwendo as some of the names that have hogged the limelight and then either disappeared and got stuck in the peripherals.
I questioned why we have not done anything as a country about our womenfolk who have talent in music but cannot blossom due to lack of a conducive environment.
I proposed that the Musician Association of Malawi (MAM) should put in place a deliberate policy that will enable female musicians to stand side by side with the Skeffa Chimotos and Lucius Bandas of this world.
It is so bad that most of the women musicians are dominating the gospel arena where they survive by the faith other than sheer talent and creativity. While worrying about the absence of female musicians in music circles, I was aware of the challenges in the industry as a whole when I also talked about 'Investing in music entertainment'.
At the time I had the opportunity of visiting Kenya where I lost my breath with the spirit of investing in entertainment in general and music in particular.
For some time, the East African Breweries Limited has been running acompetition for musicians in the Eastern African region called Tusker Project Fame – a reality television competition valued at over 1 billion Kenyan shillings (about 1.92 billion Kwacha). All this money invested in music, imagine!
I was wondering why in Malawi it is not the case as it is out there and I challenged the private sector to try investing in music. It is on the same premise that I also asked a question: 'Where is Carlsberg in music?'
I argued that if anything, Carlsberg Breweries Limited should have been the main player in the country's music industry.
Look at how many crates of beer sell if musicians are performing, look at the blaring sound that is a dominant fixture at all beer selling spots.
2011 turned to be so cruel in other aspects. What with when I wrote about how 'Death stabbed music on Mwanyama?'
Towards the end of December 2010, Lovemore Mwanyama was the one that the media quoted when Skeffa Chimoto, the current top selling musician escaped death in a road accident.
Mwanyama is the one who explained to the media that Skeffa and his band Real Sounds were en-route to Lilongwe from Salima when the vehicle they were travelling in had a tyre burst.
Mwanyama was speaking as Skeffa's manager then.
Now, this year, towards the end of September, Skeffa took up the task of informing the media that unlike him, Mwanyama did not survive a road accident and had died at the Kamuzu Central Hospital. A road accident was also the way that made us to 'Shed tears for Ken '7yrs' Siyabu.'
Ken Siyabu was a master in music video productions and his contribution to the industry is so immense that I still run short of words to describe the multi-talented Ken.
In fact, his hands were what made Lucius Banda videos captivating in the last four or so years.
Soon after its release the pen drummed here about "Lucius Banda's Life in 1 Hour 19 minutes".
Going by the overwhelming feedback I got after this article, I realise it is the number one article for 2011 because of how it generated interest from the readers, although given a chance; my pick would have been different.
In that write-up I started with 'One hour and 19 minutes' is the time that it takes one to listen to Lucius Banda's latest album from the first track 'Okondedwa' throughout the other tracks to the last one, which is the title track 'Life' that has awoken the Censorship Board.
Listening to the 15 tracks, one would still be left with the same Lucius Banda aftertaste.
Before I talk about the choice of genre in this aspect, let's look at the other genres in the other tracks 'Wadwalika' which features Moses Makawa, for example. This one as expected is taking after 'Kalata Yachiwiri' which he featured Thomas Chibade.
I said in this track, Lucius' complete departure from what we know of him makes you think the song should be 'Wadwalika' by Moses Makawa featuring Lucius Banda.
I wish you a prosperous 2012 full of musical promises. Watch this space.