NEWS | MUSIC
By Franco Mwachande Jnr
For over 20 years, the family of late music maestro Allan Namoko is yet to receive outstanding royalties for its departed relation, despite his songs enjoying massive airplays in various local radio stations.
The sad revelation was unearthed during a visit by another modern day music legend, Lucius Banda to the departed musician’s family in Thyolo last weekend.
On his Facebook post, Lucius expressed dismay at the sad development.
“As l was waiting for the show at Kameza, I took a drive to Allan Namoko’s village along the Goliati Road in Thyolo. However, on a sad note I learnt that since 1999. His family has not received any royalties.”
In an interview, Lucius, better known as “soldier of the poor” said he was shocked and saddened with the claims by Namoko’s elder sister considering that his songs are amongst some of the most played local tracks on radio.
“It was very unfortunate to hear from his elder sister Falesi Namoko who welcomed me during the visit; So, naturally, one would expect that his family would be benefiting from his music,” he wonders.
From his observation, Copyright Society of Malawi, COSOMA, has given the Namoko family a raw deal for not honoring Namoko’s dues.
“For us musicians, royalties are like pension aimed at ensuring our families’ sustainability when we’re gone. So if it’s indeed true that Cosoma has not paid Namoko’s royalties in 20 years, definitely it is disappointing and disheartening. It is like killing the artist twice.” he says.
Lucius then called upon all relevant stakeholders to look into this issue.
As we went to press, Cosoma’s Senior Licensing Officier Rosario Kamanga could not respond to our questionnaire.
Recently tax payer-funded Malawi Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) paid about K18 million out of the K153 million it owes artists in royalties to be disbursed proportional to artists’ work.
Namoko had an in erasable space in the history of local music, mostly built his career around airing grievances. And he became an influential figure in Malawi’s music scene in the 1970s and 1980s. In later years, he toured around the world with the Chimvu River Jazz band.
He was a blind blues and jazz musician who played banjo and sang in Lomwe, Chewa and Nyanja languages.
Namoko has popular hits such as Lameki, A Chilenga, A Namoko Akulira, Achilekwa, Ana Osiidwa, Gitala Kulira Ngati Chitsulo, Kakhiwa Miyene, Mwalimba Mtima and Mwandilanga.
He died in November 1995.