In arts, music to be specific, Malawi remains in the quest for an identity as a good number of urban musicians are still enjoying the warmth of foreign genres.
However, Manganje flavour is taking shape which is a step towards creating an identity, something we can call Malawi music. But do the endeavours exhibit potential of achieving this?
Being a country which is culturally diverse, it has not been any easy to find a formulae, a common denominator that will unite all musicians irrespective of district of origin like it is in other countries, Nigeria and South Africa, to mention but a few. Putting aside language used in their music, one easily tell its origin.
It is understood that Nigerians such as Davido, Kiss Daniel, and Korede Bello, do not belong to the same ethnic group but they do the same type of music.
Likewise in South Africa, Professor, Oskido, DJ Tira, and Heavy K, do the same music. So if such big countries long managed to discover their music, is it any hard for Malawi?
What makes a country to be identified by a certain type of music is when its flag carriers do same type of music. In Malawi, Tay Grin, Zani Challe, and Gemini Major are undeniable flag carriers for Malawi. However they do different music.
It’s even better that most artists with potential to fly this nation’s colours are embracing Manganje in their music. Manganje is becoming the face of local music, so to say.
Hilco is one of the local urban artists whose music is not entirely foreign. She talks on the importance of having one tune as Manganje promises to be.
“This is very important as it will help us to be easily recognised by other countries thus promoting our rich culture,” she said
The county is seemingly falling in love with manganje as proven by the level of popularity achieved by songs under this type. Kanda by Tay Grin featuring Nigerian Orezi, and Sonye who also produced it, Mwini Zinthu by Blaze and Ril B, Wadutsa Pompa by W-Twice and the latest Nyama by Mad Alley, are all enveloped in Manganje and still buzzing.
Events organiser at Unique Arts Entertainment, Konemi Kapyepye was not too quick to endorse Manganje as the answer to Malawi’s music identity search, saying there is need to find a sound that will be accepted across the industry.
“We need to find a sound that will be accepted as Malawian across the industry and amongst fans. The use of local language is not enough.”
True to Kapyepye’s views, some musicians feel the use of local language is enough to get them identified as Malawians even when the genre under which their music is produced, is foreign.