Is it the fall of Chileka?

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The reggae empire that the late Evison Matafale built at the dawn of the new millennium is facing its toughest test, and probably, its fall.

The coming of Evison Matafale in 1999 with his first album, Kuimba One, changed the shape of reggae music in Malawi.

Evison Matafale

Evison Matafale; Led the Black Missionaries.

He also added onto the already built legacy of musicians from Chileka, especially Singano village, where well known musicians like Dr. Daniel Kachamba and the Fumulani brothers of the Likhubula Band hailed.

Evison Matafale trekked down to Zimbabwe to work in white man’s farms.

But while there life was not that easy for him. His half-brother, the late politician, Davis Kapito, had to bring him back to Malawi in 1998. While in Zimbabwe, Matafale was composing songs.

He grew up in the Seventh Day Adventist Church, a denomination well-known for its emphasis on the power of music in a person’s spiritual life.

That is where he learned singing. But growing up, he started being influenced by the Rastafarian beliefs, which are closely related to the Adventist ones.

Thus after coming back to Malawi he worked with his cousin, Elias Chokani, who had then started the reggae music singing group, the Wailing Brothers.

He released his first album being backed by the band. But disputes made them to break up and Matafale eventually formed his own band in 2001, the Black Missionaries, and used it to back him in his second and last album, Kuimba Two.

After the death of Elias Chokani, Matafale roped into his new band band Elias’ brothers, Paul and Takudziwani. He added onto them another set of his others cousins, sons of the Likhubula Band founders, Anjiru, Musamude and Chizondi, plus another cousin, Peter Amidu, who was previously with Jai Banda’s Uhuru Band.

This was the Black Missionaries Matafale left when he died in November 2001.

But what happened later on would be a puzzle Malawi failed to solve until its rejected pieces had said something about it.

Black Missionaries

Black Missionaries: Are they falling?

At the covers of the albums the band came up with, there were only four faces of Anjiru Fumulani, Musamude Fumulani, Chizondi Fumulani and Peter Amidu. The Chokani brothers were never part of the set.

Even on the posters the band would use to advertise its shows, the Chokani brothers were never seen, although they always played with the band.

It was sold to the Malawians that the Black Missionaries band was made up of only the four people.

Their other cousin, the Late Gift Fumulani, the son of Arnold Fumulani from the original Fumulani set, in 2003, instead of joining with his other cousins in the band, went solo.

The story says that there was a short family disagreement over his decision. The conspiracy theory says that the 2004 Kuimba Four album by the band, the song ‘Unali Wabwino’ (You Used to Be Good) was an attack on their cousin for his decision.

The song laments a certain man who used to be good but ended up doing things on his own. He is then advised to be with his family, forgive if he was wronged and not go after money because it will never burry him.

The truth of the matter rests with Anjiru, the man who led the song on behalf of the band. But Gift had a successful solo career and it led to one of the biggest questions in Malawi music: How good the band could have been had Gift been part of it.

Gift is said to have declined the offer to join after he was refused a leading role in the band. Maybe he had observed the fate of the Chokani brothers and did not was the same thing to happen to him.

Fast forward to 2016. The Chokani brothers started showing signs of severing ties with the Black Missionaries band to revive the Wailing Brothers band started by their late brother.

It started as a rumor but eventually it would show that the Chokani brothers were indeed no longer part of the band. The release and the launch of their album, and the absence from the Black Missionaries band confirmed the end of the relationship.

With the Black Missionaries now at Kuimba Ten, in their Kuimba album series, the numbers can tell how much they have worked hard to keep the dream that Matafale had founded and the trust he had shown in them.

Eight albums after the death of the founder is a long journey. There have been mixed reactions to their work.

But their recent projects have received the feedback of being copies of their previous work. The kind of music is the same and people have gotten used to it. The band is not musically as influential as it was, say in 2006.

With the Black Missionaries band suffering in influence, the rise of the Wailing Brothers will be one of their challenges. For the second time, someone of their own blood has decided to rival them. They survived it during the first time.

But that was when they were at the top of their music journey. Will they survive it this time that they are no longer favorites of people and critics?

But the story goes further than that. The Wailing Brothers, in their shows, are featuring the the brother to Evision Matafale, Toza, and brothers to Gift, Moda and Arnold, who took on the mantle from the brother who died in June 2006.

They have not had successful careers, but it says a lot. Their choice to involve themselves with the Wailing Brothers rather than the Black Missionaries band reignites that 2004 moment their brother had with the band.

There are now two Fumulani camps in Chileka. All are playing reggae music and fighting for the same audience. For now, it may seem everything is going on well.

But as time goes, the distance between these two will keep on getting long. If the Black Missionaries band will not improve in their performance, Chileka will for the first time in its history suffer a reggae music vacuum.

Let us face it; the Wailing Brothers band will need a good number of years to be good as the Black Missionaries band.

Eventually, all the bands will have no influence in Malawi reggae music.

That will be the fall of Chileka. If ever this moment will come, we will look back at 2016 as the genesis of it all.

About the writer: Wonderful Mkhutche is a speech writer, a political scientist and a manuscript editor and developer.

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204 Comments

  1. Ngati ma blacks amaimba manganje ndekutinso Wailing brothers imaimbanso manganje, wailing Paul &Taku anali nawo popanga
    chilichonse mu ma album awo onse ndekuti onse manganje basi. Wailing brothers ndi Black missionaries yoyamba kupangidwa ndi Wailing brothers nanga chinapangisa kuti band isokonekele ndi chani? After kuchika Evison ku wailing brothers mesa inatulusako album bwanji ngati amatha siinatchuke? Aliyense ali ndi chikonda chake amene amakonda Mablacks azipita ku ma show a ma blacks enawo wailing brothers ine nde ndi wa Mbenjele

  2. mablacks samatha, ndebwino pakhale wopikisana nawo kut apange improve/ msamude ndiamene ankadziwa kuyimba reggae music, kut mumvere nyimbo zimene amayambitsa msamude zimamveka more mature than anjiru’s songs

  3. mablacks samatha, ndebwino pakhale wopikisana nawo kut apange improve/ msamude ndiamene ankadziwa kuyimba reggae music, kut mumvere nyimbo zimene amayambitsa msamude zimamveka more mature than anjiru’s songs

  4. mablacks samatha, ndebwino pakhale wopikisana nawo kut apange improve/ msamude ndiamene ankadziwa kuyimba reggae music, kut mumvere nyimbo zimene amayambitsa msamude zimamveka more mature than anjiru’s songs

  5. ngat kuli band yomwe timapita mkukasangalala ku MW kuno ndi Ma Blacks, Zembani basi . ofcoz ana chokani sanalakwe but I doubt ngat azabooleze, Unfinished project olo one track sindinamvelepo whilst blacks track are still enjoying massive support n town.MA BLACK MA BLACK

  6. whatever is being said I don’t mind tikufuna Ms band a reggae akhsle ambili ! Ma blacks anayamba kuyerekedwa Ms show kumamaliza around 2 , pano with this competition ayamba kumafika 4am !!! that’s a good thing !!!

  7. wailling brothers ndiband yakale kale blacks inatuluka mu wailling brs.nthawi yomwe matafale amachoka ku zimbabwe anazajoina wailler or mupeze CD ya kuimba 1 inalembedwa kut evison matafale&wailling brs.blacks was formed n 2001,chifukwa choxowa anthu oziwa kuimba zida mwaluso matafale anakatenganso anyamata awailling brothers kut azikamuimbila zida thats y takudziwani&paul chokani found them selves n the blacks, ndie zomwe achita anyamatawa sikugalukila ayi koma kukapitiliza band yomwe inalipo kale

  8. ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..??????????????????????

  9. How can I explain this testimony to the public about a great man who help me out in serious illness I have HIV AID for good 3year and I was almost going to the end of my life due to the way my skin look like all I have in my mind is let me just give up because life is not interesting to me any longer but I just pray for God every day to accept my soul when ever I’m gone lucky to me my kids brother run to me that he found a doctor in the internet who can cure HIV online he help me out on everything, the doctor ask for my details, so he can prepare the herbal medicine for me from his temple after all he ask is done one week later I started getting more stronger my blood start flow normally for 4 to 5 days I start getting Wight before 6 days my body start developing my skin start coming up after 8 days which he told me that i will be completely healed, I went for HIV test and I was tested negative I’m so happy that I can say I’m not a HIV patient if you have HIV/AID or any sickness he can still help you in getting your ex-back to you please contact him via his email: [email protected], or whatsapp him on +2348143143878.

  10. Àm sorry to all people ur involved to this stories wat u should now it’s that the let Evison Matafale he was agood person ur supposed to do the same thing that his soul must RIP otsati mudziukilana nokha nokha why are u doing this to ur own brother and if it was from out side of ur family wat are u going to do? Ithink u was going to kill that person srieuce dont do that mungopedza nthawi yokambila pafamiry this stories ur not supposed to put on facebook u just need to talk on ur familys please ur the best band in Malawi and also out side of my Malawi liked this band please mugoba bwalo mukambilane mwantendelere idzi

  11. AMANENA KUTI BLACK MISSIONARY Its amission that is going no matter wat will happen but thea mission wll not stop mpaka ana anu azaipeza mission imeneyi stop wastng ur tym MR boss man inuyo sImulungu simungakhaleso mulungu WICHNG U LONG LIFE mablacks

  12. Ma blacks kuyimba ndiye mukuimba bt plz mke ur reggae in high standard as b4,irememba da tym of Musamude, his tune was greatest bt nw it gettng slow,i dnt knw if ur going to jazz reggae,plz pull it up guys,ur only band whch hve mor morale in Malawi

  13. Ma blacks kuyimba ndiye mukuimba bt plz mke ur reggae in high standard as b4,irememba da tym of Musamude, his tune was greatest bt nw it gettng slow,i dnt knw if ur going to jazz reggae,plz pull it up guys,ur only band whch hve mor morale in Malawi

  14. For me band imenei or itatha lero sindingadande coz anatsalawa reggae yeni yeni saidziwa.reggae yakuchileka inapita ndi gift, matafale,musamude.enawa ankangoperekeza.

  15. All the Bands which your talking about they know how to compose music, but they have difference talents and they belong to the same family.so don’t create enemity among them, cauz some of the coments is not good.Don’t blame another band comparering with another band,isn’t good.

  16. All the Bands which your talking about they know how to compose music, but they have difference talents and they belong to the same family.so don’t create enemity among them, cauz some of the coments is not good.Don’t blame another band comparering with another band,isn’t good.

  17. I’m a reggae fanatic but Ma Blacks samandipanga impress. There is not that much creativity in their music. Mwala okanidwa & Rastaman’s Wife are the only ones I can point out there was skill but the rest of the songs are not my taste. No wonder I’ve only attended three Blacks performances, where they were curtain raisers.

  18. Angoni Angoni mukulakwitsa omwe
    akulakwitsa si taku n paul…
    Vuto liri achina anjiru
    Amawadyera anyamata masuku pa mutu
    ndizachiziwikire nkhani apa nd ya money
    komanso kuzikonda ama treater anzawo ngati aganyu osawatenga ngati amu band momwemo
    ngat osawaika pa show posters n album covers sad.Anjiru asinthe sangakhale nd anthu

  19. akuluakulu,tinene chilungamo mopanda nsanje nsanje kapena kukondera ma blax anasiya kale kuyimba rege yeniyeni ndi yosangalatsa.ngati anthu akuyikonda nchifukwa choti inapanga kale dzina.choti tiziwenso nchoti recognition ya gulu ndi kudzadza kwa anthu ku show sizitanthauza kuti gulu ndiye kuti likupitililabe mwa pamwamba nzotheka anthu kudzadza ku show chifukwa chokonda gulu koma akudziwa kuti ma standard a gulu analowa pansi tiyeni tizisapotela mwa chilungamo osati kumangochemelela chinthu mwa chizolowezi koma zisakuyenda chifukwa kuteloko sikuthandiza asangalatsi athu koma kubwezela mbuyo chitukuko cha atsangalatsi komanso nditsutse zonena kuti kuyimba ndi luso lobadwa nalo kapena zakumakolo kuti nzabodza koma luso ndi wekha momwe ankayimbila matafale simomwe akuyimbira ma blax chifukwa ndi oyimba osiyana ngakhale akuchokera banja limodzi tinenenso kuti abamu yotsiriza ya pamwamba yomwe ma blax anayimba ndi kuyimba4 basi kuchokera apo ma abamu ena onsewo palibe za rege koma music ya mtundu wina osati rege

  20. Kodi inu ma wailling,brothers mesa ablack missionaries ndipachibale panu nose kholo lanu kukhala Robert fumulani?lero chifukwa chani mukupandukira abale anu the likes of anjiru and chizondi fumulani?mtima oyipatu umunewo ,kodi akhala matafale anali ndimtima ngati umenewo mudakaphuzira kuyimba? Why,can’t you stick each to black missionaries band kuti mzimu wambale wanu matafale udziwusa mumtendere?kugwilitsa ntchito media kumatipitsa mbili ya bale anu palibe chingakuthandizeni mukungowonetsa mtima oyipa,what you,should know is Black missionaries wil remain the greatest band of all time here in Malawi,no matter what you,can say about ur brothers,people wil love you coz of what you sing and not what you say,about your brothers.

  21. Kodi inu ma wailling,brothers mesa ablack missionaries ndipachibale panu nose kholo lanu kukhala Robert fumulani?lero chifukwa chani mukupandukira abale anu the likes of anjiru and chizondi fumulani?mtima oyipatu umunewo ,kodi akhala matafale anali ndimtima ngati umenewo mudakaphuzira kuyimba? Why,can’t you stick each to black missionaries band kuti mzimu wambale wanu matafale udziwusa mumtendere?kugwilitsa ntchito media kumatipitsa mbili ya bale anu palibe chingakuthandizeni mukungowonetsa mtima oyipa,what you,should know is Black missionaries wil remain the greatest band of all time here in Malawi,no matter what you,can say about ur brothers,people wil love you coz of what you sing and not what you say,about your brothers.

  22. go to remote areas and ask people between wailing brothers and black missionaries who do they recognised?? my advice, if the intention of re-organised wailling brothers waz to be against black missionaries, sorry no succed and they wouldn’t get far in music.

  23. go to remote areas and ask people between wailing brothers and black missionaries who do they recognised?? my advice, if the intention of re-organised wailling brothers waz to be against black missionaries, sorry no succed and they wouldn’t get far in music.

  24. Blacks fall shd b traced back to th tymz of Musamude ….kuti muyangane zomwe mukunena zo zinayamba nthawi imeneyo …Musamude failed even to accommodate Sally Nyundo in th Band
    only dat Anjiru sakufuna kusintha zinthu
    Toza z a good vocalist than his preferred yanjanani chumbu …..And how can 1 allow Moda to leave ….
    And that z the same reason Anjiru show ya pa Chanco inamuvuta kwambiri kuchita kunyowa thupi lonse nd thukuta kuli kuchuluka kwa nthawi yoti ayimbe…….
    Anthu awiri awa Toza n Moda haven’t been replaced …..paul n taku atleast have bn replaced ….
    mavuto abwera basi ……plz Moda n Toza abwelere and Toza should replace Yanjanani as a backing vocalist.
    kuchokera kwa osatira blacks since 2000s
    based CHANCO

  25. ithink Malawi 24 and Willing Brothers mulindi problem ndi Mablacks koma ife!! tilibe ngaaaaa!!ngangaaaa!! ndi mablacks omwewo.

  26. ithink Malawi 24 and Willing Brothers mulindi problem ndi Mablacks koma ife!! tilibe ngaaaaa!!ngangaaaa!! ndi mablacks omwewo.

  27. whether u will call them blacks or whites but still more in their life time they have made alegacy which u have not made urselfs,whether u will hate them or love them still in Malawis raggea histry they rocked for so many years and infact the have made money and travelled to countries where u have never been before with ur poor mindset. MABLACKS ROCKS ♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♩♩♩♪♩♪□♪♩♪♩♪

  28. whether u will call them blacks or whites but still more in their life time they have made alegacy which u have not made urselfs,whether u will hate them or love them still in Malawis raggea histry they rocked for so many years and infact the have made money and travelled to countries where u have never been before with ur poor mindset. MABLACKS ROCKS ♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♪♩♩♩♪♩♪□♪♩♪♩♪

  29. Amalawi Lets Be Buzy With Fighting Poverty Muzilembako Hw To Start A Small Buziness Or Large One!Hw To Overcome Poverty Lets Talk Enterprenushp

  30. Amalawi Lets Be Buzy With Fighting Poverty Muzilembako Hw To Start A Small Buziness Or Large One!Hw To Overcome Poverty Lets Talk Enterprenushp

  31. Guys Lets Focus On Hw To Improve Our Lifes, Focus On Investments, Hw To Overcome Poverty Weither Muwanene Ma Blacks N Or Muwayamikire They Are Stil Making Money Bt Iwe Uzingochedwa Tayambani To Get Buzy With Inovative Mindset

  32. Raggae yabwino inali nthawi ya King of Raggae Man -ta-fe komansi Musamude .Timamvera Raggae osati za kumsonga zowawa,kunachita kudandaula kuti nyimboyi ikuchedwa kutha timvere zina. Too much slow ndi zida zomwe

  33. Kungot anthu amafuna bandyi itatha koma szimatheka pankhani ya. Nkhope pama covers kuimba2 matafale anali kufront anjiru chizo nd musamude anali kuseri zomwe zinasonyeza kut mablax ndiomwe alikuselio blacks singagonje tiimbabe ndpo tivinabe until death

  34. Hello to all I invite you love my Gold-Black page for my music project is it you please also invite your friends thank you all for your kind understanding I love you quard this the man who made the man for an early my friends I take much has this project I love you thank you thank you thank you to you all

  35. Hello to all I invite you love my Gold-Black page for my music project is it you please also invite your friends thank you all for your kind understanding I love you quard this the man who made the man for an early my friends I take much has this project I love you thank you thank you thank you to you all

  36. Ever asked yourself why from all the stories that have been written about the black missionaries…… Have not been responded to?….anthu sakukuyankhani but your still busy writing about them. From the content of the article, the author is sympathizing with the willing brothers who have their own weakness but because that have media as a too strengthen themselves…Kaya tiziona…. Chibwezi chiKatha, Mkazi kumakambakamba za mamuna..ndiye akufunabe……#.ndili Ku ma stand#