NKOLE NKOLE, Lusaka
FOLK musician Mumba Yachi last weekend launched his fifth album The Great Work at Alliance Francaise in Lusaka, where the likes of Kantu, Marocco and some little known protégé of his also showcased their quality on stage before a cosmopolitan audience.
The show was opened by Mumba’s protégé Kasolo, whose music has evidently been heavily influenced by Mumba. The guitar playing Kasolo, who sounded distinctly like Mumba, helped settle a very chatty audience.
And hailing all the way from Chirundu, emerging artiste Marocco was the night’s surprise package with her first piece carrying a story that resonates with her personal journey in music and her sultry vocals drawing the audience’s full attention.
Marocco’s second song was the upbeat Anakazi, referencing what it means to be a woman. She took full ownership of the stage with this one and won loud cheers from the audience.
Kantu kept the performance bar steady, beginning with a powerful solo rendition of the hit song Anajaila, originally performed by herself, Wezi and Bombshell, but this time backed only by a keyboard and soothing the audience with the ease of her vocals.
Patrons showered down applause following her second song Mwanjipaya, inspired by a true story while Mungeli was her personal dedication to everyone in attendance.
Kantu pepped up her set with lively dances representing different parts of Africa before finally performing dances from different parts of Zambia.
After Kantu’s set, the audience was cast under the spell of Mumba’s band, which performed a jazz serenade of various classics.
The sound too, was a lot better at this stage and stayed this way for the remainder of the night.
Rapper and spoken word artiste Ludo introduced Mumba to the stage and then began reciting poetry in praise of women while Mumba strummed on a semi acoustic guitar.
Yachi revealed that the first album he bought was Joe Chibangu’s and requested a minute of silence in memory of the late artiste, who was nicknamed The Ambassador by Mondo Music chief executive officer Chisha Folotiya.
And then he performed three pieces off his new album The Great Work; these included songs such as Ing’omba, Mutinta and Kwela Palulu that he was singing for the first time.
Dr Manasseh Phiri, host of the radio show African Radio Experience on 5 FM radio and master of ceremonies at the launch, led Mumba in a brief question and answer segment, discussing his musical journey.
“I don’t wear shoes on stage because of my connection to the music,” Mumba explained, making his audience chuckle.
He does not deny that his music is taking him places but he is still rooted in Zambia and is not likely to be bought by the international music scene.
He may sing in a language that not all understand but “music is universal and it’s about transmitting the emotions,” he said.
Hip hop artiste Macky II, who was part of the audience, wanted to know who inspires Mumba, to which Mumba said he is simply inspired by good music and by different genres of music.
Mumba told his audience that when they leave the earth they need to do more than build houses and buy cars.
“Of course that is important for our children, but for ourselves, we need to leave a good reputation.”
He also featured old favourites like Mokambo, Tute and Mongu Rice in his set, before inviting James Sakala and Maureen Lilanda to perform a piece each.
The new album is a dedication to the Lozi mythology of Kamunu, believed to be the first man that God created.
It is Mumba’s way of making Zambians and Africans in general, embrace their own narratives.
The Great Work double album will be available for purchase next month.