Canada through the eyes of an immigrant
Friday, June 27, 2008
Joseph Nkasa is an author, publisher musician from Malawi who sings Malawian reggae and traditional music. He is called PHUNGU which could be translated as the spokesman for the poor. Nkasa recorded 3 albums which almost went unknown to the Malawian public. The Fourth album, Wayenda Wapenga was almost an overnight success for Nkasa who became an overnight celebrity. His success was mainly due the content of his songs. Nkasa has the reputation of being an outright self proclaimed spokesman for the Malawian poor men and women.
He has also sung about the AIDS pandemic. Malawi is a very poor country and Nkasa’s songs give hope and reassures others that one day they will be better of (Like in his well known songs, ZosayinaSayina and Mamiliyoneya). Wayenda Wapenga was well received and it broke records of sales of other well established musicians like Lucius Banda and Billy Kaunda. The fifth album Tigwirane Manja (Let us be United) is known by many as his second album because of the success he got from Wayenda Wapenga. Tigwirane Manja broke new records in Malawian by selling 210,00o copies within four months of its release. The Copyright Society of Malawi (COSOMA) gave him a check of 1,000,000 Kwacha (Equivalent to 10,000 USD at the time for the musical rights. Apart from singing about social issues, Joseph Nkasa has expressed his political views in songs like Nkhope, a song about the importance of choosing competent men and women to lead the country. He once said that he would not be involved in politics, but in his latest album he clearly sided with the current Malawian president and in his famous song, Mose Wa Lero, Nkasa parallels the current President, Bingu Wa Mutharika with the Biblical Moses, in terms of his achievements as a leader. Many Malawian Bloggers condemned the comparison and argued that it has a negative on the minds of many Malawians who mainly rely on radio to get information. The song, according to them, is shoved on the listener’s throat who in turn can simply swallow Nkasa’s idea and point of view. Others categorised the song under propaganda.
Joseph Nkasa is an icon on the Malawian music scene. He is usually accompanied on stage by his Zosayina band. He has sung with Evans Milika, Saul Chembezi and Joseph Alfazema. He once said that fellow musician Thomas Chibade is imitating his way of singing.
Joseph Nkasa's Discography
Wayenda Wapenga (2002)
Tigrirane Manja (2004)
Watch Ungandiuze chiani (This is an attack on fellow musicians)
Ndifedi Amalawi (A song praising Malawi, tracing Malawian history and praising Kamuzu Banda and his government