Those of you close to comedian Patience Namadingo, can you ask him if everything at home is alright?
I mean: is he a happy man, does he know what he wants in life, what is his calling really, does he have a place he can claim or he just moves with the wind, what sort of pressure is he under, what gap does he have to fill, under whose false Prophet is he under, who is threatening his life such that his only bargain is a latest release?
The questions are many but, at the end of the day, a discussion should be initiated on his new release. This is a discussion that should be honest and not be afraid of rattling his crazy audience whose only standards are as high as the popularity’s of Namadingo’s last album (does anyone remember its title or the year in which it was released? I bet, not even Namadingo does).
For the uninitiated ones, Patience Namadingo, that man who was in the news not long ago having to defend his choice of a woman (irrelevant stuff that could simply have been ignored if you ask me) and again defending his decision of choosing to work with Castel Malawi despite professing the Christian faith (another immaterial thing that deserved no dragged public explanation), has released what he says is a new song.
This song has no proper title. It is identified by a comedic expression that just shows how low Patience can sink when it comes to tickling a middle class audience whose sensibilities of music went to bed a long time ago. This audience, like Patience their entertainer, is unsure of what it wants: whether music or comedy or plain confusion or anything as long as it is a respite from the Jane Ansah-HRDC drama.
Now, to tickle the fancy of that audience, Patience has been forced to descend a few steps lower than he has been descending lately in all aspects of his life (save his choice of a woman) and eventually produce something called a song which would impress you that the Namadingo who just gifted us with Vinyo is not the same one. Let alone that one who appeared on the scene with Mtendere.
Whereas the rhythm of the song takes us away from that Patience whose music was a plain ‘copy and paste’ of serious West African songs if not our own Atoht Manje, it is its lack of commitment to serious music that makes one shudder.
The rhythm accompaniment of the thing that Patience has delivered, to a dotting audience that would even sacrifice their life as long as it comes to defending Namadingo even if he was to do that once-popular baby crying song, hardly has anything to write home about.
At the start, you would think it is one that aims to emphasise on the guitar prowess that we know Namadingo for. But, that impression lasts for seconds only. Then, it is the confusion of Namadingo that appears. He goes to West Africa, comes near to South Africa and eventually creates a fusion whose appeal is just reserved for people who want to preserve friendship with a celebrity whose heart for kindness is as big as his own confusion.
Then, he starts singing.
In a way, it is as if the Namadingo singing is the one who is infamous for doing impromptu lines on stage. Not that Namadingo who spends time on carefully thinking how to arrange lines and move an audience. But Patience needs to know this: those impromptu lines are forgivable, and shockingly applauded, because we all understand they have just had to be composed right there on the spot. For a studio work, we expect more from him.
Nowhere has Namadingo proved that he is a comedian suffering from an identity crisis in the song than when he decides to start putting lyrics to his latest production. Now, before actually discussing the shallowness and commonality of the lyrics, I need to declare: the theme Namadingo has used is tired.
Lucius Banda has used it. Do you remember that moyo winawo mwina zizayenda song? DNA, that guy who did Mukandipepesele, do you remember the song, what was it about? Let me remind you, the same theme as Namadingo wants to sell to us as creativity.
Now, repeating themes is common in music. But it is the angle through which that theme is repeated. Namadingo’s is not any different from others before it. The only difference is that a common theme is told through a common angle by a common artist whose new calling is to showcase how low the chase of money and relevance can make one unfaithful to their calling and identity.
In his latest release, Namadingo certainly had nothing to go to the studio for apart from time and a need to impress his critics that he can, as well, stop doing music that mentions Jesus. The new thing that Namadingo has given us, to a shockingly warm reception, is just a statement: that he is not a gospel musician.
Can you imagine: your favourite artist having to trouble a whole section of society just to prove a point? It sounds dramatic. But that is what Patience is becoming these days. You have a problem with his shoe, there he goes on social media fighting you. A round of drama! You tell him you love his height, again he goes on social media fighting you saying he has a woman already and therefore nobody should love his height. Another round of drama! It is just pettiness.
Pettiness, sadly, is why Namadingo went into the studio, while having no song, just to record something he knew he would brand and force it down the throats of thirsty people who have been ignored by real and actual musicians.
In this new thing that Namadingo wants to popularise, although we know its life span is just a few weeks (less than three), Namadingo uses no art nor skill to communicate his common theme. He is just like a mad man talking this and that at a market square. At the end of the day, when you listen to the song after being bombarded by all the hype on social media you are left wondering if there is another song that people are talking about or it is the same one.
But, that is the power of packaging. The only good thing Namadingo is getting good at and for which he should get due credit.
However as a musician, the whatever Namadingo has served us with is a total shame. An accident. It must be embarrassing for all those who rated Namadingo highly, those who prophesied that this boy was the future of our music, our most likely export to foreign lands.
This thing Namadingo has given to us, and is forcing it down our throats, is an indictment on a boy who had a promising future. It removes Namadingo from the ranks of Lawi and Faith Mussa, sliding so low below Suffix and even the spent force Phyzix, to a level just below that of the Njati Njedede man who appeared on the scene just to make us laugh and realised when it was time to leave the stage. Sadly, for Namadingo, he will not realise when to leave because he has a murderous audience that claps hands for him even when they know their favourite man is committing a slow suicide.