BY MPHATSO CHIWALA,
A CORRESPONDENT :
After hitting a silent chord for some time, Malawi’s reggae dancehall icon Blasto, real name Ortis Chilamba, is back to the spotlight after collaborating with Nigerian artist Lyrics Lasisi and Mali Yanke from Cameroon in a music video titled ‘Amazing’.
And the ‘Jah Nah Sleep’ hit-maker has also submitted songs from his latest Extended Play, titled Persistence, to Jamaica’s music label Tuff Gong, founded by legendary reggae kingpin Bob Marley.
The label will distribute Blasto’s music in a deal facilitated by Gino XXL Entertainment from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, who linked up with Tuff Gong International.
Online news outlet, www.urbancraftmagazine. co.ja, indicates that Blasto continues to make headlines abroad.
“Blasto becomes the first reggae dancehall deejay from Malawi in Africa to accomplish such a mark. He is reaching out to the market in the Caribbean with this deal and also the reggae and dancehall market world-wide,’ reads the article, titled ‘Blasto new EP keeping fighting spirit’.
Blasto said in an interview that collaborating with international artists serves him in a positive way, citing the opportunity to reach out to new music markets and connect with a new fan base.
“Every musician has his or her market and fans. When you do collaborations with someone, you are ensuring that your music is embedded in that person’s market and their fans are likely to love you as well. In this case, collaborating with international artists has helped me get international recognition.
“Of course, collaborations with African artists and the submission of my songs to Tuff Gong in Kingston, Jamaica, signifies growth. My music will never cease to mesmerise music fans,” he says, adding that, apart from the music, Tuff Gong is also selling his merchandise, in form of T-shirts, across the world.
Confirming that he has collaborated with Blasto, Nigeria-born Lyrics Lisasi, also known as 9ja Pikin, described the project as a form of music discovery.
“It was a great opportunity to work with Blasto and, from the possibility of realities, I have learnt his music tricks. It was not easy to work together but, in the process, three African countries have benefitted from the collabo,” he said.
The artist, who is based in Cape Town, South Africa, is known for tracks such as ‘Despirado’ and ‘Sula Chini’.
Lisasi is signed by Jazz Records Africa and has shared the global stage with artists such as DMX and Ashanti.
In Africa, he has collaborated with Rhumba heavyweight Awilo Longomba, Black Gold, Zambia’s B’flow, Ruff Kidz, among other artists.
Blasto said the single, which is in visual and audio formats, was produced by Zimbabwean Alter Fam.
It focuses on positivity, in relation to women, and implores society to appreciate the beauty of African women.
The Lilongwe-based singer admitted that, despite being a global trotter, he has not benefitted from his talent because of rampant piracy in the local music industry.
“Most artists don’t enjoy their sweat due to piracy. The music bootleggers reap where they do not sow while the artists, creators of the work, cry foul. But I encourage artists not to give up on their career,” he said.
The artist said the past two years have given him the opportunity to conduct research on his music and that of others.
“I know that music is my career and, whenever I get into the studio, it’s always serious business. One has to go to the studio with proper ideas,” he said.
In the course of his career, Blasto has performed far and wide, including in the United States (US).
In 2015, Blasto featured Jamaican female conscious reggae dancehall artist, Karamantii, who is based in Kingston Town.
In the same year, he released the 13-track album, Stronger, in another high profile collaboration with Italy’s music label Ziggy Blacks Productions. The label has put Blasto’s songs up for digital distribution worldwide.
To up the spirit, in 2015 he also performed in many states in the US, including in Virginia Beach, New Jersey, New York and Indiana, where he received overwhelming support.
He went there courtesy of an organisation known as Operation Smile.
On the list of his works are the mixtape The Unexpected (2012) and EP titled Stronger (2014).
His latest EP is titled Persistence and has songs produced by several high profile producers that include BFB in ‘Children of Today’, ‘Rolling’, ‘F.O.B’, ‘Do Your Things’ and ‘Just for Your Love’ while Dominant 1 produced one track ‘Rebel’.
In addition, Ziggy Black Production from Italy produced ‘Mama Africa’ while ‘Burn Yuh’ was done by Abra Tribe and Gino XXL Entertainment in Amsterdam.