NEWS | MUSIC
By Alexander Gombar
It is now undeniable! After years of trials and tribulations, after decades of chuffs and whacky productions, and indeed after years of rejection by the media and the old generation, M-Dubz urban music, is now maturing.
M-Dubz is slowly making its entrance onto our homes, clubs, mobile handsets…you name it. From Chitipa to Nsanje, and from Mchinji to Likoma Island, M-Dubz urban music heatwave has spared no corner.
Who has never danced to the dazzling tunes of the stage master, Lulu? Who has never been inspired by the ever-green gospel kingpin, Gwamba? I mean who has never ever got so motivated by the emphatic Phyzix? The list is endless.
The facts are there for one to see that Malawi Urban music is here to stay. But for all Doubting Thomases, below are some of the irrefutable facts that are supporting this discourse.
- The Presence of Major Record Labels
Gone are the days when a Malawian urban artist was just hearing of the likes of Deathrow Records, Universal Records, Rockefeller Records, and other internationally acclaimed music record labels.
Now, Malawi also boasts some of her own. Though not of the same magnitude as the earlier highlighted music Record Labels, but the likes of Abstract Recordz, HB Records, Nde’feyo Entertainment, and Direct Muzik Group (DMG) among others tell you one thing, and one thing alone; Malawi urban music is on another level. Period!
These record labels have assisted our urban artists as through them (record labels) our artists have been able to win some appetizing music deals. We don’t need to explain how Nde’feyo has uplifted various artists under its wings, the likes of Piksy back then, Maskal et al. The likes of Real Friendz Entertainment which has assisted the likes of Sangie, and Malinga Mafia to reach greater heights.
In short, the influx of mature local music labels has added value to our industry.
- Professional music Studios
Back in the lost days when Malawi was technologically bankrupt, all Jim and Jacks who had computers, and mixers, could open bogus recording studios. With no expertise, every soul, so long as they were conversant with Adobe Audio software could label themselves as producers, save for a selected few in the likes of legendary Dynamike, and the Daredevils, among others.
The music production hiccup caused serious ailment to the-then blossoming urban music. It tainted the quality of the output sound. Such half-baked productions created a serious problem to the quality of music we listened to, for many of the songs could not befit a second taste.
Time. Time finally solved everything. The gods finally smiled. Technological advancements in the country has also blessed our blossoming music industry. We, now boast of professional audio recording studios, too many to mention.
Recording producers are now able to invest in technologically advanced studio equipment, and Malawians can now listen to mature music; real urban music craftily made and produced by Malawian youths.
- The media coverage
Gone are the days when urban music in Malawi could be thrown in the trash bins. Now, every media house is scrambling to grant local urban artists unlimited interviews. Various radio programs are solely dedicated to promoting local urban music. Two FM’s Made on Monday, and Born and Bred are some of the readily available examples.
The television industry too, has not fallen shy of this romance with M-Dubz urban music. Various TV programmes like ZBS’ Fresh, and MBC TV’s Touching Base, are some of the popular programmes that have been uplifting our soldiers week in week out.
The camaraderie has not spared the online media as well. Media platforms such as Entertainment Malawi, and Malawi-music.com have been offering unimaginable space to promote this newly found gold. Local urban artists have never been given such media publicity than is the case currently.
Talking of the print media the song is just the same; the local urban music heat wave has spared nobody. Finally, we have newsmakers in the name of our local youths who are raising the national flag higher.
Now, local urban music is newsworthy. Now, everybody wants to hear what is cooking in the local urban music industry.
- Music festivals and local Performance shows.
There is nothing that gives fans joy than seeing their favorite artist performing live. Lately, local urban musical artists have been headlining major musical events, either as curtain raisers, or as main performers themselves. Remember how Malinga Mafia stole the show in the maiden appearance of Jamaican dancehall reggae icon, Busy Signal’s performance in Malawi? Remember the mammoth crowd that ‘got evangelized’ by Fredokiss’ Ghetto King Kong free shows across the country?
Day in, day out, various urban music artists are performing in various joints countrywide, a feat that cements their dominance on the land. Lucius Banda, and his Zembani Band, and The Black Missionaries aside, the other crowd pullers, musically are urban musicians, be it secular or gospel.
Musical festivals like the Sand Music Festival, Lake of Stars, and the like are another testimony of the supremacy that local urban music has stamped on the land as such shows are always having a considerable representation of our youthful urban artists. This was a rare occurrence back then.
- A rise in internationally recognized local urban artists
Finally, the Warm Heart of Africa is able to have internationally recognized urban artists. Finally, Tay Grin, Geminii Major, Suffix, and company can have music collaborations with the world’s cream. And indeed, finally, Tay Grin, Theo Thomson, Jay Jay Cee, Fredokiss’ music videos are having airplays on such continental media channels as Channel O, and MTV Base; a sign that Malawi urban music is slowly having taste.it is gaining global audience.
These are some of the many positive signs that the once ailing Malawi urban music industry is definitely heading the right way.
At the pace that our urban music is trending, it is clear it is just a matter of time M-Dubz urban music shakes the international waters by producing big names who will echo through time like Michael Jackson, Bob Marley or even Dolly Parton. Oh yeah! Dolly Parton, why not? I believe in local urban music. I dream in colour.