Malawi’s three types of reggae music

232

What is the most performed kind of music in Malawi? It should be reggae music. Malawi can safely be called ‘The Mainland Jamaica’ as far as the dominance of reggae music is concerned. For close to three decades now, reggae music has been performed by a whole generation of artists.

Paul Banda

Paul Banda

When one tries to follow the route, for example from the time Kalimba Band produced their ground-breaking album three decades ago, ‘Make Friends With The World’, it can be observed that the genre kept on being re-worked on and has tremendously changed. But as of today, there are three types of reggae music in Malawi, all named after their places of origin.

The first is Balaka reggae. It originated from Balaka district in Southern Malawi. Paul Banda created that sound through the band he founded in 1977, Alleluya Band. Through it, he created an open reggae sound. He maintained the signature keyboard reggae tempo sound, but added a heavy sound of lead and rhythm guitars and percussions. This kind of music dominated Malawi from the early 1990s to around 2005.

It has produced big names in the Malawi music industry. Despite most of them no longer active, their presence on the scene is still widely being felt. The genre carried a social message, dominantly, the calling of people to proper ways of life and a take on politics, especially by the man who is responsible for popularizing the beat, Lucius Banda, Paul’s younger brother.

The second type of reggae music in Malawi is Chileka reggae. It originates from Chileka, Blantyre, Malawi’s commercial city in the Southern region. Just like any other reggae beat, it also has the signature keyboard tempo sound. But unlike the Balaka reggae, which has a medium tempo, Chileka’s sound of this instrument is a bit slower. This is the closest reggae beat to the Jamaican one.

Evison Matafale

Matafale

The area has produced legends, as far as music in Malawi is concerned. Dr. Daniel Kachamba was from that area, the man who mesmerized the whole world with his Kwela music, before the South Africans took it as their own kind of music. Besides him, there were also the Fumulani brothers, Arnold, Robert and Sailesi, with their Likhubula Band. These fathered another Fumulani generation who would later dominate reggae music in Malawi; Gift, Anjiru, Chizondi, Musamude, Moda and Chizondi.

But the founder of the modern Chileka reggae sound is Evison Matafale. He died on November 27, 2001 while in Police custody. In 1999 he released his first reggae album, Kuimba One, with his cousins, the Wailing Brothers. He broke up with them two years later and formed the Black Missionaries Band with his other cousins, the Fumulani brothers.

He left the band in its infancy. But with the leadership of Musamude, and later on Anjiru, it survived and still dominates the whole reggae sound in Malawi. Its message is dominantly social-justice, the Jamaican view of the world.

The last reggae type is Mayaka. It originates from Mayaka area, in Zomba district, the old capital city of Malawi, in the Southern region. Unlike the other two types of reggae music in Malawi, which have clear place of origin and the founder behind it, Mayaka reggae is disputable. The signature keyboard tempo sound of reggae music is faster than the two.

There is no much presence of the guitars as like in Balaka reggae and the percussions have a limited influence on the sound. Its message is much on the advisory role. It is realistic in nature and tries to tackle the world as it is compared to the Balaka message which is dominantly idealistic. The earliest mainstream presence of such kind of music can be traced back to 1998.

Joseph Nkasa

Nkasa

Two artists, Enort Mbandambanda and Anthony Makondetsa, in their maiden albums, ‘Kuchimwa Kulibe Mwini’ and ‘Tisatengeke’, respectively, recorded in Balaka, sounded Mayaka. Later on in his career, Makondetsa, who is from Blantyre, Chileka, adopted his home’s reggae and would turn to be the music that defined him to his audience.

But the coming in of Joseph Nkasa in 2002 with his album, ‘Wayenda Wapenga’ seemed to have shifted the debate to himself as the man behind Mayaka reggae. His following album in 2003, ‘Tigwirane Manja’ remains one of the most popular albums in Malawi. It was Mayaka.

Himself being from Mayaka area, he owned the sound as his own, and the genre was named after his home. Even the music having the advisory message was his creation since he came on the scene as a counsellor, hence his nickname, ‘Phungu’ (Counselor).

His success, however, with this type of music attracted a host of artist who would later build their names using the beat and the message. Artists like Thomas Chibade, from Zomba as well, Moses Makawa and John Malunga are examples of people who performed and popularized Mayaka reggae.

But this did not go well with Joseph Nkasa as later on in his career, in a song titled ‘Pin Code’, he sung of other musicians trying to copy his style of music so as to keep him down.

*Wonderful Mkhutche is a speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript developer and editor.

Share.

232 Comments

  1. Matafale is favoured to be, including the Black Missionaries Band.
    Paul Banda plays both tunes. But Paul Banda is Great.

  2. Mphwayi ndi soka,,ulesi ndi minyama,,nguluwe idalira msampha utaning’a,,,,,,,we play international music,,,,coz we know who we’re,

  3. There is nothing to blame Muluzi government, nthawi yake yakufa inakwana, time mark New York time mark Matafale even anjiru sung tidikile yesu anene yekha.

  4. Lucius amatha reggae it’s just that he doesn’t restrict all his songs to reggae in his albums, but he does reggae, He started even b4 matafale did

  5. when we talk about raggae we should respect and put our hands together to ”kalimba/makasu band” u will never found the songs like kalimba produced by any1 in malawi. and big up to evison matafale he also did his part he was getting there. others are just copying from others there’s no international reggae music in malawi

  6. Amalawi, zathu tipanga liti? Raggae chamba cha ku Jamaica kwa America , kodi makolo athu analibe magule? Basi tizingolimbana zinthu za eni ake aku maiko ena. Chonde tiyeni tisapote chamba chathu, mwachisanzo tili ndi mbenjere, gwaladi , tili ndi Mfumu wambale nkandawire amayimba nyimbo za chi Malawi osati enawo. Let us put Malawi on the map with our traditional songs not those tunes from overseas. WAKE UP MALAWI WAKE UP

  7. Panopa athu akuimba Raggie music,ndikakhalapansi ndikuunika bwino,ndimaona kuti matafale ankayesesa ngakhale athu omusatila matafale omwe akuimbabe pano(black missionaries)sifika paiye,koma pano kuli athu omwe akuimba ndithu try POSTIV YUT if uknow raggie u wii not ask again

  8. #matafale ndkawawa up to now his music keep him alive even in my 4n i gotta alot of him..sindkudziwa kuti akadafikira pano ndkukhulupilira kut Malawi-Reg bwez ili pa Map abwino…not nowadayz Mablacks afika pa #shit si Regea yeniyen akuimba #secular

  9. #matafale ndkawawa up to now his music keep him alive even in my 4n i gotta alot of him..sindkudziwa kuti akadafikira pano ndkukhulupilira kut Malawi-Reg bwez ili pa Map abwino…not nowadayz Mablacks afika pa #shit si Regea yeniyen akuimba #secular

  10. hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh………………better poul banda koma mpaka mkasa reggae nde ndisiya reggae………….salutation to EVISON MATAFALE

  11. King of raggae matafale, not forgtng gift fumulan, nanga musamude bwa analinso wachabe pankhan yomanza sound, zinazo mwanama

  12. King of raggae matafale, not forgtng gift fumulan, nanga musamude bwa analinso wachabe pankhan yomanza sound, zinazo mwanama

  13. Frankly speaking, Matafale is the best…not forgetting the Malawi’s leading reggae group; The Black Missionaries’…enawo sitikuwadziwa ife

  14. Frankly speaking, Matafale is the best…not forgetting the Malawi’s leading reggae group; The Black Missionaries’…enawo sitikuwadziwa ife

  15. We malawians are miles away from reggae music.Malawi ikanafikapo ndithu Had it been that Evison Matafale is still alive…..

  16. We malawians are miles away from reggae music.Malawi ikanafikapo ndithu Had it been that Evison Matafale is still alive…..

  17. I swear no body will be like #Evison_Matafale he was a great reggae musician. I loved him, i love him and i will never ever stop loving him!! May God do something with all those who plotted to kill him, zianthu zoipa mitima zisatana!!! Mmxiiimm!!!!

  18. I swear no body will be like #Evison_Matafale he was a great reggae musician. I loved him, i love him and i will never ever stop loving him!! May God do something with all those who plotted to kill him, zianthu zoipa mitima zisatana!!! Mmxiiimm!!!!

  19. If I n I come with a new #design.. I don’t mean to make u #resign..if I were u I wud just #join coz 2gether we mek things #fine…. #somewhere or #nowhere..am not #scared coz I don’t #care…. The guy was Real….

  20. If I n I come with a new #design.. I don’t mean to make u #resign..if I were u I wud just #join coz 2gether we mek things #fine…. #somewhere or #nowhere..am not #scared coz I don’t #care…. The guy was Real….

  21. “Mlw’s 3types of Reggae Music” ar u tlkng abt the 3types of reggae music or the 3types of reggae music singers? Be serious on wht u put on public domen please eish!

  22. “Mlw’s 3types of Reggae Music” ar u tlkng abt the 3types of reggae music or the 3types of reggae music singers? Be serious on wht u put on public domen please eish!

  23. I would rather put it this way…The fathers of reggie are…Evison himself,Frank kalonde of fighting our bones, young generation ,Jupiters,Raster waza,prince martin etc…

  24. Take nkasa out put Kalimba/makasu band,i hope none will forget their song#sometimes I wonder,but these days let alone Matafale be de king of malawian reggae

  25. Take nkasa out put Kalimba/makasu band,i hope none will forget their song#sometimes I wonder,but these days let alone Matafale be de king of malawian reggae

  26. His fist album son of a poor man Lucius Banda is the best. Him is the father of reggae. Matafale is the son of reggae while the rest are cousins of reggae musik

  27. in Mw we sing Khunju reggae not international ai,komano among the list pali awiri okha omwe amazitsata za khunjuzo komano bg wawo nde ndi ganjaman thafale,koma vuto list yanuyo mwaganiza mwa ganja cz paul lucias & nkasa samaimba reggae ayi.

  28. in Mw we sing Khunju reggae not international ai,komano among the list pali awiri okha omwe amazitsata za khunjuzo komano bg wawo nde ndi ganjaman thafale,koma vuto list yanuyo mwaganiza mwa ganja cz paul lucias & nkasa samaimba reggae ayi.

  29. Enawa mukusonyeza kuti ayi? Koma akazamwalila ndiye sikuayamikila kwake, vuto la ife amalawi ndilimenelo. Tikamuyamikila munthu ali moyo mumati timpasa matama yerrrrrere.

  30. Enawa mukusonyeza kuti ayi? Koma akazamwalila ndiye sikuayamikila kwake, vuto la ife amalawi ndilimenelo. Tikamuyamikila munthu ali moyo mumati timpasa matama yerrrrrere.

  31. Wonderful article Wonder! I man wants to encourage upcoming artists to come up with poetic regae laka of Linton Kwesi,Mutabaruka just to mention few!

  32. Akuti nthawi ya Bingu,Nkasa anasintha dzina amatchulidwa kuti Joseph Bingu Nkasa,Nthawi ya Joice Banda,anali Joseph Joice Banda Nkasa,pano wasintha akuti ndi Joseph Bushiri Nkasa, ndie ena amafusa akuti cholinga cheni cheni chimene amasinthira maina ndi chani?

  33. Kodi phungu amayimbaso Reggae kapena nthano tinenepo pamenepo enawa tisamawalowese mu reggae guys mwina tinene kuti ndimulangizi chabe monga mwa dzina lake.

  34. when we taiking about reggae we talking the msge in the song,sunachite kutuma munthu wina iwe kuti ndikanati anandinamiza,ndipakamwa pako unanena wenkha kuti umandikonda nanga lero bwanji zaka zonsezi ine ndimagoti zanga ndi iwe dats the msge of kng matafale bigger up man

  35. Si funso loyenera. Wa reggae munthu mmodzi pamenepo mufananiza bwanji zinthu zosiyana.Timati ndi funso la chodziwadziwa kale.

  36. I want to give a testimony on how I get cured from HIV/AIDS. As I was browsing through the internet on how to get cured, I saw a lady testimony praising DR Williams I never believe it before until I tried it and it really work for me am very happy right now may God bless him. this is an opportunity for you to get cured contact him via [email protected]….. and also you can contact on whatsapp number +2348143143878 THESE ARE THE DISEASE Dr.DR WILLIAMS CAN CURED. HERPES. HIV/AIDS. CANCER. LOVE SPELL VIRUS.

%d bloggers like this: