Losing musical talent always leaves a nation devastated. Inspired by the use of holographic technology to bring South African legend Brenda Fassie back to life on the stage at the recent ‘Hansa festival of legends’ in South Africa , we thought about creating our own wish list of Zambian legends we’d resurrect for a‘Hansa’ like Zambian festival. Below are our picks.
1. Daddy Zemus
Daddy Zemus was a ragga artist who infused R&B and Hip Hop into his music. Interestingly enough, one of Daddy Zemus’s last songs was called ‘Chibaba’ from an album of the same name (it hurts) and that’s exactly how it felt when he left the world in 1999. The album featured Crisis, Mainza and Lily T who were little known artists at the time. We’d love to bring him back to do a set with his mentee Joe Chibangu on whom he collaborated with on a vast number of songs.
· 2. Chris Chali of Ameyenge
The lead singer of one of the longest lasting Zambian traditional bands Chris Chali died ten years ago (2003) but the ‘show went on’ with his wife and backing vocalist Alice Chali who now fronts the band and has pretty much kept the fire burning. Amayenge was founded in 1978 in Choma and originally called ‘The New Cross Bones’. They have gone on to perform in Europe and have won numerous awards including a 2012 Ngoma Award. How great would it be to have Chali perform hits like ‘Mao’ with his band ?
3. The WITCH
Hailed as the front runners of ‘Zamrock’, the WITCH (acronym for ‘We Intend to Cause Havoc’) founded in the early 1970s, were way ahead of their time and sported some serious fashion. *See pic. Decades later, their five albums are still being discovered, re-released and covered by music sites like Okay Africa. There are currently only two surviving members of the band (lead singer Emmanuel Jagari Chanda and Patrick Mwondela who curates a blog on the history of Zambian music),so we’d love to have the rest of the members resurrected, especially since there is currently no Zambian rock band (that we know of). We even managed to dig up a 2011 video interview by Red Bull Music Academy of Emmanuel.
4. Alick Nkhata
Born in 1922 in Kasama, Northern Province, Nkhata trained as a teacher. A few years, after his return from enlisting in World War II in Burma, he became a radio announcer at the Northern Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation (now ZNBC) and eventually released his own music. Much of his music was inspired by proverbs and themes like ‘education’. He passed on in 1978 but still serves as an inspiration to many Zambian artists.
·5. Lily T
Lily Tembo started out her entertainment career as a journalist at Evelyn Hone college. She was also a radio presenter. She released her first self titled album in 2004. Her videos were played on the popular music Channel ‘Channel O’ At the time of her death in 2009, she was working on her third album. To play homage to her, the Lusaka Play House held a comedy show in her honor. If we could bring her back to life, we’d love her to team up with singer Scarlet for a new re-endition of ‘Mvela’. They’d make a great duo!
6. Paul Ngozi
Paul Ngozi or Paul Dobson Nyrienda was instantly recognizable by his long wet-looked hair and clothing. “With his trade mark dreadlocks and donning very tight jeans in the brands of Lois, Brutus, Levis, Ranger, Seamark and Wrangler with dazzling upper garments and high heeled shoes popularly known as “Galagatas” or sharp pointed ones such as those popularised by musician and movie star John Travolta, Paul was a man who was in his own world shaping up his own style of music and fashion
This went with his stage gimmick characterised with playing the guitar with front teeth and sometimes making the guitar cry wildly like an animal. His guitar works were the likes of rock bands like Deep Purple, Grand Funk, Jimmy Hendrix, Black Sabbath, AC/DC or Thin Lizzy to mention only but a few”(Allafrica.com).He rose to fame in the late 70s to early 80s as front-runner of the ‘Ngozi Family Band’. His achievements are still being celebrated, as evidenced by his posthumous ‘Zambia Music Piooner’ at the Zambia Music Awards. His 1976 ‘The Ghetto’ album was re-released last year. According to blackgrooves.com “From a pulpit of fuzzed out guitar riffs and African rhythms, Ngozi preaches about poverty’s ills and the need for social uplift”
We love the creative album cover!
7. PK Chishala
The blind Kalindula singer was popular in the 1980’s. One of his most famous, but controversial songs was ‘pastor’ which was critized by some Christians in Zambia. Peter Kalumba toured the UK with the Masasu band. Like Paul Ngozi, he focused on social themes like corruption and bureaucracy. The man fondly known as the ‘Professor’ of Zambian music passed away in 1996.
To some people, Albert Silwimba or ‘Alubusu’ may have been a one-hit wonder for his song ‘Bwela Panyumba’ (Come Back Home). There isn’t much information available on subsequent albums, but he definitely made a contribution to the Zambian music industry. He passed away last year in a road accident in early November.
What do you think about our list? Would you add any more Zambian artists to this list?