KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka
WITH deep concerns being raised regarding the Mosi Zambia Music Awards (ZMA) by musicians, the Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM), the National Arts Council (NAC) and Zambian Breweries met on Wednesday to thrash out the way forward.
ZAM chairperson Njoya Tee, who confirmed the meeting to the Weekend Mail in Lusaka, said it was productive and positive.
â€œThe parties agreed to form a joint steering committee to map the way forward in order to secure the long-term success of the Mosi Zambian Music Awards,â€ he said.
Sharp differences have emerged among musicians regarding the ZMA with others saying the prize money is too paltry while others are arguing that what is important is the recognition.
Musician Che â€˜Sagaâ€™ Mutale is the latest one to add his voice, and says he is personally proud of what some of the new crop of artistes are doing for the whole industry as a whole.
However, he says his own view is that instead of channeling all the money that Zambian Breweries is putting in towards the awards which only benefit a few, it should be put into music or film schools, which teach more deserving youths to learn about the industry.
â€œYes, it is good to award the arts… but if I had that kind of money, I would rather make a distribution label that can affiliate itself to bigger labels as Emi, Sony, Virgin, Maybach Music, just to mention a few and expose Zambian music to the world,â€ says Saga, known for his song Chanibaba.
â€œWe donâ€™t have a major distribution system that can do this. Thatâ€™s why our art ends up just where it is. Itâ€™s every man for himself. I have personally worked with nearly every artiste in Zambia, now and then and as a pioneer.
â€œLet me say this, none of the so-called new crop of artistes would be enjoying the sweet success of what they have now without the relentless and tiresome, sometimes unforgiving efforts by Mondo Music and Muvi Studios.â€
Saga, who was part of the Muvi Posse with the likes of Maiko Zulu, Sista D, James Chamanyazi, Keith Mutale and Bulo, among others, asks some pertinent questions.
â€œWhere were you when JK, Amayenge, Muvi Posse, MC Wabwino, Brian Chilala, Shatel, Danny Kaya, Ruff Kid, Daddy Zemus, Black Muntu, Joe Chibangu, just to mention a few, had to perform for peanuts sometimes just for exposure because nobody believed in Zed music?
â€œNobody, not even our own families and friends. Where were you when we would sleep in studios for nights to make the classics we listen to now?â€ he asks.
â€œWhere were you when you were not allowed to sing on the same stage as an international artiste at the Lusaka Showgrounds? Now you can boast that you shared the stage with Koffi or Patoranking.
â€œWhere were you when the only groups recognised outside Zambia were Sakala Brothers and Amayenge? Where were you when we were going home with a K50,000 [K50 now] that time after playing for a jam-packed crowd at Samâ€™s Sports CafÃ©?â€
KELVIN KACHINGWE, Lusaka