NEWS | MUSIC
By Franco P Mwachande Jnr (Correspondent)
Music is supposed to be unique. For one to make a name, they need to sing, act, and sound differently. In short, there is a thick line between music and real music.
Average music is one of those compositions that upon hitting your eardrum, it’s voila!! A dejavu! You always ask yourself where you might have heard a similar kind of genre or song before. In addition, average music is that kind of composition that has no direction, and is deficient in substance.
Pure music on the other hand is unique. It has its own touch. Pure music is captivating and leaves a listener or a viewer leaving whatever they were doing so as to pay unlimited attention to the composition.
One of such pure artists who has rocked Malawi with their Midas touch is non other than Frank Chawinga, who is popularly known by his stage name, Che Wikise.
Through his songs, he has brought a 21st century gospel music outlook. His, are songs that are not only plump with entertainment, but are also rich in information about social issues mostly related to gospel.
Unlike the likes of Lloyd Phiris, the Gwambas, and the Ethel Kamwendos of this world, Che Wikise’s songs, and their accompanying music videos are semi-comic but laden with gospel messages. His, are songs that have real life issues that his audience literary relate to as the issues he addresses are real life encounters of the said audiences.
Remember his popular music video, Shabarakatari?
Just like many musical artists, Abusa Che Wikise realized his talent at tender age.
“I started composing songs when I was at Mulodza Primary School in Area 23, Lilongwe. I learnt it from various artists such as Mlaka Maliro. I grew up listening to their songs and they impressed me. From a young age, I just felt that l could sing. It was later on that l started composing songs,” he said.
The modern day Che Wikise came into the limelight after dropping the single “Ndiwe Wanga” in 2005 with his childhood friend, Nitrix Changaya. The song was produced at Nyasaland Studios in Lilongwe, Area 23 by Nitrix himself.
“Year in, year out, I kept on going to the studio to record songs. I had faith of a breakthrough. Then I met a friend who encouraged me in my pursuits. He gave me total belief in myself and I was ready to take on the challenge,”he revealed.
From then, Wikise decided to make good connections realizing that talent and hard work alone were not enough. He started looking for people to push him to the top while continuing his usual efforts. The Area 23 based artist says it was a step by step journey.
His next song was “Khama” in 2010. It was not that famous although it repeatedly featured on Malawi Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) Makwelero 20 music chart. The song preached hard work. For everything to be achieved, it needs effort, it went. Somehow, Wikise was telling this to himself as he was still in his maiden music steps.
“I believe in hard work. As an artist, I need to give it all my effort, sacrificing all I can to make sure I realize my dreams. I can be intelligent, for example, but without hard work, it will yield to nothing,” he explains the song.
A versatile artist knows when to switch genres so as to remain relevant on the market. So too was Wikise. Having noted that dance music was the order of the day, he shifted to the said genre with a song, Nkwatira” in the same year.
He then followed it up with “Mwamuna Alirenji” a few months later. The song was a man praising his woman. The latter, according to the song, had all the dictates of a Malawian version of a ‘house’ wife.
The ordination of Abusa Che Wikise
It was after “Mwamuna alirenji” that Wikise detonated the bomb, “Shabarakatari” in 2017. This was (is) a spiritual deliverance song that enjoyed massive airplay and ended up being the final piece to the puzzle. The song criticizes the killings of people born with albinism and homosexuals. It called upon the Most High to deliver evil doers in our societies.
The song raised his profile as an artist and made him an overnight celebrity. “Shabarakatari” was the beginning of a series of his signature comical spiri-tunes.
Famed for his signature over-sized brown jacket and a Ministerial collar in his videos, listening to Wikise’s songs, one would wonder if at all what he does is gospel music as he has brought in a rather unorthodox way of gospel delivery.
“I am neither a secular nor a gospel artist. I sing what comes out of my mind. I believe music is about what’s in one’s mind, and I do just that,”he says.
Asked on why he always acts like a Pastor, the talented artist said: “I deliberately marry comedy to music. My aim is to entertain the audience. Again, I want to be unique in my music delivery. As we know, every artist has their own signature. I assume the role of a Pastor so that people should easily identify with my art.”
To those who may not have captured his aim, they would think Wikise is a gospel artist who has just come with a unique message of spreading the Good News. But the release of a love song “Love Ya Mkatikati” is evidence enough that he is not glued to neither gospel nor secular music.
Asked on his motivation, Wikise reveals that monetary gains is out of the list.
I do not do music because of money. It is my talent, a blessing that God gave me and something I dearly love,” he said.
Apart from being in music, the 25- year-old artist is a business man who frequently travels outside the country to import assorted merchandise.
Minus his crazy character musically, life as Frank Chawinga is totally different. He is his own guardian.
“My parents got divorced soon after my birth. I grew up with my mother and never knew my father. The only time I saw him was during the burial of my mother. He never cared about me as his son. I just pretend that he is dead as I raise myself as my own man,” he concluded.
Currently the artist is working on an EP which is slated to be released later this year. Included in the project is the trending song, “Muli Nzi Nga?” The song has proved to be Wikise’s career highlight. He has maintained his comics and appearance, making Malawi to fall in love with his style again.
The future promises a lot for the tall and slender Lilongwe based star. With endless efforts in the past finally paying off, Malawi should look forward to an artist who will continue mesmerizing the country. Just as from the first day, it is one step at a time for him. A trail of determination behind him says it all: The man is on a music journey.