Renowned poet Nyamalikiti Nthiwatiwa and veteran singer and broadcaster Maria Chidzanja Nkhoma have featured in youthful musical group Zathu Band’s debut album.
Zathu Band, made up of three female and three male acts, is dropping the debut album, titled Chinzathu Ichichi, later this month.
Nyamalikiti, who is also Poetry Association of Malawi (Pam) President, said yesterday that the group’s concept and messages in their songs are good; hence, starring in the song ‘Malawi.’
In the song, Zathu tackles a number of issues, among them that they have potential when it comes to singing.. They go on to talk about traditional dances performed in the country, journeying through the three regions of the country.
Nyamalikiti comes in handy, colouring the song with his poetry skills.
The track, which was performed live during a listening party and also features Madalitso Band, is beautified by the traditional beat.
“The concept of Zathu is good. They are giving out good messages; that there is no difference between girls and boys. As a country, we are coming from a background where girls have been marginalised,” Nyamalikiti said.
The poet said the country lost out by marginalising women and that Zathu Band has done well with its songs, which have rich and mature messages on the issue.
“You look at the Zathu branding, [and changing] the way they are doing things. They have re-packaged the messages in a different way and this is why I didn’t hesitate to be part of their album and so I wrote my lines,” he said.
The album also features veteran singer Chidzanja Nkhoma, whose voice has always stood out. She is playing a part in the track ‘Siine Mwana’.
Sonye, famed for the hit ‘Tsika’, also stars in the album in the song ‘Radio’.
The album comes to light after the group first came out with singles ‘Zimatere Zimatere’, ‘Sitigonja’ and ‘Panga Zako’.
The album will be released across popular entertainment channels such as www.malawimusic.com on February 19 and will also be downloaded for free alongside all other Zathu content at www.zathu. mw.
Zathu’s spokesperson, Zilanie Gondwe, said Zathu Band’s debut album is the beginning of a new era in music.
“Malawi is ready to receive the best of music. Zathu Band has created music which is a combination of a journey of a year,” Gondwe said during a media listening party held in Lilongwe on Friday night.
Gondwe added: “This is a gender balanced youth band representing Malawian youths today. The overall sound is unique to the Zathu Band— a new Malawian sound which mixes traditional and urban music and is inspired by issues that affect young people.”
Chinzathu Ichichi is a 12-track album which includes three singles that were released last year and have enjoyed airplay since the radio show Zathu Pa Wailesi was launched in April last year.
The other songs people are expected to sample in the album are ‘No Limit’ ‘Okongola’ featuring female rapper Rina, ‘Pamodzi’ and ‘Zathu Party’.
The Zathu Band is made up of Zathu’s six main characters namely Annetti [The Survivor], T-Reel [The Arrogant One], Mphatso [The Strong One], JP [The Sensitive One], Xander [The Good Guy] and Chikondi [The Dreamer].
The group’s real names are Annetti (Nyokase Madise), T-Reel (Praise Umali), Mphatso (Theresa Dzanjalimodzi), Chikondi (Esther Chitheka Lewis), JP (Jonathan Pangani) and Xander (Paul Kachala).
These six characters also appear in a radio drama that forms part of Zathu Pa Wailesi, a radio show which airs on MBC Radio 2 FM and Zodiak Broadcasting Station.
Faith Mussa composed the songs and some of the names that assisted in the album include Erik Paliani and Kimba Anderson.
Mussa described Zathu Band as a team of talented young Malawians that are destined for great things.
“This is a team of very talented young Malawians. Actually, when we were building this group, we auditioned. It’s been an experience working with them as a composer,” he said.
Mussa said the group is there to show that boys and girls can do anything.
“It’s a unique blend of talent and, if you listen to the songs in the album, you will see that we have zeroed in on the themes of friendship,” he said.
Mussa said group members give each other roles and that they all can play instruments.
Indeed, the band showed this on Friday during a listening party when they performed live, with Chitheka Lewis playing the guitar.
Zathu Band’s performance was razor-sharp and they showed they have what it takes to go all the way with their sound, provided they remain disciplined and stick to their style.