Musician appeals for Covid-19 bailout


By Steven Godfrey Mkweteza

Malawian award winning singer and songwriter, Eli Njuchi, has joined the fray of local musicians appealing to the government to support the local music industry with a bailout due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In an interview, the Blantyre based musician said he was set to drop his debut music collection titled the book of Z with his newly set up band called the Hive at Barbecues in Blantyre but everything came to a standstill due to Covid-19 scare.

He advised the government to follow the football fraternity where there are measures to cushion players from the effects of the pandemic.

He said the music industry is one of the hardest hit by the novel pandemic as artists are not allowed to conduct live performances in compliance with government set preventative measures.

“Things aren’t working now and the situation is getting worse for the local musicians. We thought we would re-build our talent by now but the restrictions due to Covid -19 pandemic are still being imposed following the increasing cases,” Njuchi complained.

The musician added that the industry was not ready for such a situation.

On his Extended Play (EP) The Book of Z, Eli said it was named as such because all the songs in the collection have stories that start with the letter Z.
He added that the songs in the EP are stories of hard work and self-belief that he believes are key to ones success in life.

Off the EP, Eli Njuchi has already released Zithete and Zitaye.
According to Njuchi, he is working on a new album but is not certain when it will be released due to Covid-19 pandemic.
The youthful singer also noted that the inability to make digital sales is a challenge to many local musicians.

On performing across the country ever since he ventured into the local music industry, Njuchi remembers the performance at Lake of Stars in 2019 as the one that impressed him most as it was his first time performing at LOS, saying “it was amazing and I had fun.”

On stage prospects, he said he was dying to perform having missed it for long, but was not sure when he will return to the stage.

The youthful Njuchi trace his music roots to around 2012-13 when he used to sing over riddims and then recorded his first song in 2015.

“I started music because I always wanted to do music as a passion. On the other hand, I dont really like defining myself by a genre, I just love doing music with no boundaries,” explained, Njuchi, who answers single to the marital status question.

On budding musicians, Njuchi advised them not to rush in producing and album and to avoid copying.

“Do music, learn more and inspire more. We all just need to push in what we believe in. It is possible if your heart and mind is in it,” said Njuchi, who added that he grew up in the ghetto where every time he performed, it was an amazing time.

Speaking in an interview, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Wildlife Dr Michael Usi emphasized on the need for the local musicians to abide by the set rules on Covid-19 preventive measures.

“We all need to abide by the rules because everyone is affected by the situation. We don’t need to isolate certain grouping because, if affected, they will turn to government for help which will also be a waste of resources,” he said.