You may have heard of the Madalas Band.We formed the band in Kitwe in the year 2000 to capture some of the magic that occurred when a unique array of talent converged on Kitwe in that moment in time, and to celebrate Zambian music.
In this context, Madalas is an affectionate term meaning “the old guys.” It is a term commonly used in Bemba and in a lot of Zambian languages
. The term is also understood as far afield as South Africa.
The year 2000 was a time when most contemporary artists preferred to imitate foreign music styles and before Zambian music took off on the pop scene. Pontiano Kaiche was one of the few Zambians staying faithful to his own brief. We hoped to encourage up-coming artists to be proud of their heritage and to add their Zambian voice to the international music scene.
is my childhood friend. He is an award winning playwright (His plays include “Madam President
“. This has featured at the Ngoma Awards, the Harare International Festival Of Arts, and done the rounds in Zambian Theaters). Those who know him also know that he is a very talented musician.
John and I were privileged to share this moment in time. It was quite special.
We started work on a ten-song album to celebrate the institution of marriage. We called it UBWINGA (Wedding). All the songs have a wedding theme.
We decided to record it at Shezaw Studios, which used to be located within the Copperbelt Agricultural Show Grounds.
There we met talented session musicians who were keen to continue working with us after the recording.
They were Joseph Mbaita Mutemba (ex-Lead Guitarist of the Mulemena Boys), Gift Chisha (ex-Bass Guitarist and vocalist – Mulemena Boys), Rocky Mushika (Band Leader: Bangwana Band) and Elias Kashiba (of The Cool Knights, and once toured with Sam Magwana).
Some of the tracks on the album have been featured on Radio Icengelo
and on Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation
(ZNBC) Kwacha Good Morning Africa.
Madalas Band with friends-KitweOnLine
Some of the Madala Band members relaxing with friends in Wusakile.
L-R: John Katebe, Rocky Banze Mushika,
John Mulemena, Busco Mumba, Dickson Mponda, Joseph Mbaita Mutemba and Gift Chisha
Sadly, Rocky Mushika, John Mulemena, Joseph Mutemba and Gift Chisha have since passed on. Their music and inspiration lives on.
This song is one of ten Bemba songs on the album. It is inspired by a snippet of a traditional Bemba song that a proud parent will stand up and orchestrate at a party, wedding or other celebration.
The song is usually brief and is something a proud parent will whip up as a way of expressing their joy, without trying to hog the lime light. Just a brief note saying “Look at me, you may not think much of me, but it is I who gave birth to this shining star whose success we are celebrating here today.” Everybody shouts and claps their hands, and the women ululate.
The aim was to capture the upbeat, yet introspective mood of the original traditional refrain. The tempo is slow enough for the elderly to dance “Amasha yabakulu, kuboko!” (A Bemba saying to the effect that the swinging of an elbow is an elderly person’s way of taking part in a joyful dance).
The song is not the end in itself, but merely an expression of intense pride and a celebration of achievement. The song also reaches out, in a positive, subtle reminder, to the high achiever not to forget their roots.
I think the song resonates on many levels. It can be interpreted on a personal and even on a national level.
Our song is dedicated to our parents, to every parent, and every teacher who helps to shape someone into someone special by bringing out the best in them.
Imbeka is dedicated to everybody who is proud of the achievements of their charge.
Ubwinga (Wedding) – Madalas Band- KitweOnLine
Song written by Dr. John Sendama and John Katebe
Producer: John Katebe
Lead Guitar: Musompo Joseph Mbaita Mutemba
Rythym Guitar: Rocky Banze Mushika
Bass Guitar: Gift Chisha
Vocals: Dr Kingstone Katebe
Percussion: John Katebe, Rocky Mushika, Joseph Mutemba
Engineer: Mark Sichinga.
Recorded at Sheezaw Studios, Kitwe: August 2000.
Songs on the UBWINGA Album:
- Ubwinga (Wedding)
- Nalishuka (Lucky Me)
- Icupo (Marriage)
- Amalumbo (Praise)
- Capota (It Rocks!)
- Imbeka (Angel)
- Insansa (Joy)
- Amalayo (Vows)
- Imbeka (Angel) – Instrumental
Special thanks to our wives and children who afforded us the space to be creative.
L-R John Katebe,Jaggary Chanda, Dr John Sendama – KitweOnLine
L-R: John Katebe, Emmanuel Jaggery Chanda (Vocalist of “The Witch” band) and Dr John Sendama met to discuss the Ubwinga album.
What do you think of this music? Leave your comments below.