Zambia Music Awards

George da Soulchild Kaufela, co-host of both Zambezi 107.7’s Breakfast Show as well The Chanters Lodge Experience each Sunday on the same station, is excited about the Zambia Music Awards 2014 launch party, set for next week, November 16th 2013. He writes:

“Early this year witnessed the successful hosting of the first ever Zambia Music Awards sponsored by Mosi Lager honouring local artists with 31 categories in total, ranging from Best Traditional Performer to Best Keyboard Player to even Best Radio DJ! We all know that radio DJ’s play a vital role in the promotion of local music!

For next year organisers of the Zambia Music Awards are aiming higher with the inclusion of 3 more categories to the 31 that already exist. To sensitize the general public and create more awareness of these awards and nomination procedures, The Zambia Music Awards crew has teamed up with R&G Events for the launch party of the 2014 Zambia Music Awards and the date is set for the 16th of November 2013. The launch party will have all the hottest local artists invited by Mosi, and will be a platform to introduce the public to the 2014 campaign.

Screens will be fitted around the venue with presentations to explain the voting process and how to nominate for each of the 34 categories. There will be great live performances by a few artists to get you in the mood!

More information will also be made available on the official sites and the Facebook page I must add that the 2013 Awards were well organised and attended. Rapper Slap Dee was the biggest winner on the night walking away with six awards.

This year’s nominations are opening soon. The Zambia Music Awards honour achievements in the recording arts and support the Zambian music industry without regard to album sales or chart position.”


Eazy Tee Rocks!

Despite our proximity to Zimbabwe we have had few, if any, Guests on the ‘Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Kaufela Soulchild’ from our neighbouring country, so it was a pleasure to welcome ‘Eazy Tee’ (above, filming) aka Taurai Matsokotere on to the most recent edition of the show. The programme, sponsored by Chanters Lodge, airs on Zambezi 107.7 fm from 20.30 hrs CAT for an hour each and every Sunday night. Taurai is a highly rated DJ in the area with a wealth of international experience – on the side he’s also a graduate of Cape Town University and an entrepreneur in the world of graphic design.

Taurai told listeners that his company, based in Victoria Falls, Marvelworx Media, is involved in web hosting, print design, website design and television advertising. The company had initially been started up in Cape Town, but due to circumstances beyond his control he had been forced to return home to Zimbabwe and re-establish his business in his homeland. Milli Jam wanted to know how Eazy Tee had first become involved in the world of music, clubs and DJ’s and Taurai explained that he has many sisters and he had first begun playing tracks for parties at home. Impressively he also told us that he had paid his own way through University by playing at clubs in Cape Town. He told us of ‘Long Street’ in that city which has more than 60 clubs! He would play four clubs in one night in order to raise funds!

The music on our show was good, we opened with tracks from The Vamps and Fuse OMG. George played numbers from Zambian artists Chisamo and B’Flow. Milli Jam dropped tracks from Chris Brown and Naughty Boy. Our oldie of the week was the Dixie Chicks with ‘Travellin’ Soldier’ but it was a tough one, and no-one picked up the prize we give each week to the first person to text us with the name of the performing artist on the track. My pick of the week was Cher’s ‘I Hope You Find It’. We closed with Rihanna’s ‘What Now’ – amidst some studio amusement.

Milli Jam wanted to know what advice Taurai would give to aspiring, upcoming DJ’s (also telling us that he rated Eazy Tee in his top three all time DJ’s in the region – Milli Jam should know he’s been around the circuit and is highly rated himself). Eazy Tee told them to be careful with ‘Virtual DJ’ and that they should first learn the art of mixing with vinyl and CD’s before travelling the virtual route. He also told listeners that he is still single although ‘spoken for’ and that he has a 10 year old daughter Natasha Precious back in his home town Bulawayo. He had played clubs in more than 7 countries in the region and rated Circles in Ndola very highly in terms of audience reaction.

Eazy Tee told us that his own favourite music is soul and r and b and that he loves Mary J Blige and Tony Braxton. He had done the bungee jump and he had walked with lions. He liked cricket more than football. Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Taurai told listeners that he had a newly established advertising company called Tradeazy and he hoped in ten years’ time the company would be hugely successful.


Kasono Mwanza

Great to see this recently in the Minneapolis StarTribune. Seeing Zambians making it in the arts internationally is rare and we wish Kasono the best of luck – he certainly seems to have them talking in Minnesota!

Kasono Mwanza lights up the stage in Chanhassen’s “Hairspray” with an ease that belies his youth and a long journey from his native Zambia. Kasono was talking about how he relates to Seaweed, his character in Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ hit production of “Hairspray.”

Actors do this all the time, finding the character within themselves, and Mwanza touched upon many of the conventional comparisons: Seaweed loves music, just like Mwanza; he’s a great dancer who seems to float on his feet; he’s so over racial division and eager to reach out. It was standard stuff, not too profound.

And then Mwanza pointed out something about Seaweed that never even occurred to those of us who have seen his performance. “You know, his father is not mentioned the entire show,” he said. True enough, interesting and curious, although in terms of plot and character, it doesn’t really matter whether Seaweed has a father.

But to Mwanza it does, and he makes this statement over lunch as if he’s sharing an important secret — a key to the character’s animation. He notes that he’s even gone so far as to talk offstage with Aimee K. Bryant, who plays Seaweed’s mother, about “where his dad is, what he’s doing, why he’s not there.”

It matters because Mwanza seems eternally in search of his father, who died when Mwanza was a young boy in Zambia. “It’s very important to know yourself before you try to know a different character,” he said. “Part of me is with him.” Mwanza’s work as Seaweed has forced people to sit up and take notice of this lively young performer. At 23, he carries a natural charisma onstage and seems comfortably at ease, shoulder to shoulder with Chanhassen’s long-established veterans. His body is perfect for dance — lean, light, flexible — and his singing voice penetrates the air. Though he would never put it in terms of competing with other actors, Mwanza effortlessly commands the audience’s attention.

“I have a friend in New York who is an agent and I have never recommended anyone to her,” said director Michael Brindisi. “But I was just composing a letter to her because Kasono is that good. He could go to New York and work right now.” If he should choose that path, it would continue an improbable journey that started in the landlocked African nation of Zambia. Mwanza was 10 when his father, a flight engineer, died, and the family moved to join relatives in Minnesota.

Because of his father’s profession, Mwanza had traveled to other countries but he remembers being stunned when the doors to the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport opened and he stepped onto the sidewalk. “I asked my mother why we were going inside a refrigerator,” he recalled. It was not a refrigerator. It was what we call winter. At Marcy Open School in Minneapolis, a teacher heard Mwanza sing and suggested there might be something for him in theater. He pursued his talent at Minneapolis South High School and Youth Performance Company, where he met Kahlil Queen, a versatile performer who also writes and composes music.

“To see an African-American man who could do choreography, compose music, sing and act was a huge inspiration to me,” Mwanza said in his soft-spoken and generous manner. Queen was taken aback when a reporter relayed Mwanza’s gratitude. “I had no idea I had made that sort of impact,” he said. “He had very good natural skills and he took direction well — very observant and fantastic to work with.”

However, it was not until Mwanza attended the University of Minnesota Duluth that he actually took lessons in dance and music. He also got to be good friends with Brindisi’s daughter Cat, who was his housemate. “He has such a big heart for everyone, and I think that does have to do with his rough childhood,” she said. “He doesn’t know much about his dad and I think it’s been his quest to find his dad and figure out why he’s here.”

When he met Cat Brindisi, Mwanza didn’t know that her dad ran Chanhassen or that her mom, Michelle Barber, was a well-known actress and singer. He soon found out and auditioned at Chanhassen after graduation. He was first cast in last fall’s “All Shook Up” and then “Jesus Christ Superstar,” where he played a member of the Sanhedrin. “That role was so heavy,” he said. “Lashing Jesus eight times a week was a growing experience.” Michael Brindisi said that if there’s anything Mwanza needs to work on, it’s building a stage toughness. “He’s a little shy and polite. Even the people in the kitchen tell me he hugs everyone,” Brindisi said. “I want to get a little more teeth and nails out of him on the stage.”

Interestingly, the first thing Mwanza said when asked what Brindisi has taught him was “how to be kind and that there’s no need to be rude. “And he taught me to take care of myself so my performance is fresh for six months.” Mwanza lists several possibilities for his career. New York and California are always beacons for youngsters who can sing, act and dance. Working the cruise-ship entertainment industry or putting together an album of music both appeal to him. Whatever he does, it will include music and dance — gifts that he said guide his destiny and purpose.


ZoneFam Up For An Award!

Zone Fam’s “Mbama” video is up for a channel O Award in the Most Gifted Newcomer category reports George Kaufela.

Zone Fam’s Brand New Music Video “Mbama” Premiered on Channel O’s “O Express” on the 24th of July 2011. “Mbama” is the latest single off Zone Fam’s soon to be released album “The Business (Foreign Exchange)” – it is also one of the songs that the group performed on the Big Brother Amplified Stage on the 3rd of July 2011; and was well received by viewers. This is the first time the group has been nominated and we hope they win.

Zone Fam is the Premiere Hip Hop Group in Zambia. Deriving their name from a studio they frequented in their earlier days ‘The Zone’. The main group consists of four individuals; Dope G, Jay Rox, Yung Verbal and Thugga. The group was formed in 2007 and is managed by Duncan Sodala CEO of Slam Dunk Records, Zambia.



George Mukwita writes:

ZMusicTV is an online registered broadcasting entertainment company based in the London Borough of Greenwich, England – an area which has a large multi-ethnic population. Within the borough there are extremes of wealth and poverty, and Greenwich includes both typically inner-city and suburban areas. ZMTV aims to broadcast Zambian Music and Art as a way of engaging fellow Zambians, and others interested in Zambia who are actively online, promoting talents in people such as musicians, models, fashion designers and dancers as well as showcasing cultural events such as Zambian Independence Day celebrations.

Included in the focus is a desire to expand, using visual imagery. ZMTV’s overall passion is to develop the sense of belonging and to build the Zambian motto “One Zambia One Nation”, reaching out to as many fellow Zambians in the UK and around the globe via the internet as possible, to deliver an inspirational and positive message and share Zambian culture. ZMusicTV seeks to highlight, strengthen and re-enforce Zambian identity within Zambian communities, and project the same to non-Zambians in Europe.

In this age of globalization, cultural identity is crucial to the survival of communities and individuals. It will help people to connect with their home culture, and to connect Zambians to their communities which exist in Europe. From the outside, these communities don’t appear to be as close or as solid as other African communities e.g. in comparison to say, Nigerian and Somalian communities living and working in London.

ZMusicTV seeks to play a central role in bringing Zambians together, strengthening and reinforcing the Zambian communities which exist abroad by projecting Zambian music and culture into them. ZMusicTV can also be a bridge between Zambia and the non-African communities of Europe by promoting Zambian music and culture, creating an interest in Zambia, and encouraging people to visit the country, helping its economy through tourism etc.

George ends: Can’t wait for ZMusic TV to air my music videos lol.


Rollcall 2010 – Farewell

George da Soulchild aka Kaufela, co-presenter of our Sunday night radio show on Zambezi Radio 107.7 fm in Livingstone writes about those in the entertainment world in Zambia who sadly passed on in 2010. The photo is of Mike Tabor who was a good friend of mine and a great DJ.

Roll Call 2010 (Final Farewell)

The past 12 months have seen the death of individuals who have played a notable role in the arts and entertainment industry in Zambia. Today we pay tribute to some of the well known faces no longer with us.

Renowned actor and Muvi TV Director of Programmes Augustine Lungu died on March 20 after an illness. Lungu featured in numerous theatre productions and represented Zambia at the prestigious Edinburgh Festival together with Benne Banda in the two man act ‘Headers and Footers’. An avid supporter of the arts, Lungu once served as Chairman of Lusaka Theatre Club as well as the National Theatre Arts Association of Zambia. He also presented the ‘Kwachamania’ show on ZNBC, as well as the ‘Ready for Marriage’ reality show and ‘Breakfast With The Boys’ on Muvi TV.

Celtel star search finalist Levins Mwanza died on October 11 from kidney failure. The 29 year old singer had established himself as a strong contender in the 2006 singing competition, before being eliminated in the latter stages of the show. Mwanza was among a new breed of up-coming musicians to emerge from the Celtel show and went on to record chart success with his song Nalema. Prior to his death he was recording an album with RomaSide studio called ‘Tizakumana’.

The local radio industry also mourned the passing of Mike ‘The Maverick’ Tabor, who died in Lusaka on 17 October. Born in Harlem, NYC on December 13 1946, Micheal Aloysius Tabor joined the Black Panther party, but fled the US in the early 1970s after he and several Panther members were accused of conspiring to bomb public buildings in New York City. Although the group was acquitted of all charges, Tabor did not return to the US, travelling first to Algeria and eventually to Zambia where he made his home. He was one of the first DJs on Radio 4. At the time of his death he was working for 5 FM radio in Lusaka. He is survived by his wife Priscilla Matanda, a daughter and three sons.

Ragamuffin artist Crystal Shaun died on December 4. Born Webster Katongo Chilufya, the 27 year old rapper developed his own style of poetry with Bemba lyrics. He also collaborated with several top local artistes including TY2, Leo Muntu, K’millian, Hamooba and Kaufela. He is survived by a wife and son.

May their souls rest in peace as we carry their dreams forward.


Is Banksy Santa Claus?

Here’s something different and a fantastic gesture from Banksy. The Poke reports:

“Is Banksy Father Christmas? They both move around at night, they both keep their identities a secret and now it seems they can both be everywhere at once. One thousand of Britain’s poorest families woke up this morning to find the wheelie bins outside their homes had been turned into ‘Osama Bins’ – original pieces of Banksy art worth thousands of pounds. (See above).

The Osama Bins appeared in London, Bristol, Cardiff, Newcastle and Glasgow. Unsurprisingly Banksy himself was unavailable for comment and due to the levels of secrecy surrounding the art terrorist, so was his spokesperson. However, a spokesperson for his spokesperson, speaking through an intermediary, admitted that the Osama Bins were indeed Banksy’s handiwork. Were they a comment on the disposable nature of a culture driven by fear? “No.” Could an explanation be offered as to how the artist graffitied one thousand bins up and down the country in a single night? “No.” What was the significance of placing an image of the West’s most hated figure into the very hearth of its poverty? “None.”

Not everyone was so tight-lipped. “It’s a miracle,” said one lady who asked not to be named. “I was struggling to convince the kids that two pigeons killed with a catapult is how they have Christmas dinner in Greenland. Now I can sell my bin for £30,000, buy them all the turkey or facepaint they want and move out of this shithole. Thanksy, Banksy – you’ve made my Christmas!”


Hotel Art

I loved this from Hotel Chatter

“Is the WiFi free? Does the gym have good machines? All these things get noticed when checking into a hotel, but what about the atmosphere of the place—specifically the art on the walls or on the floor? We’re highlighting properties around the world that do their artwork right, and the specific pieces you should stare long and hard at when next you drop by.

Today: The The Peninsula Tokyo’s “Void” by Ben Jakober and Yannick Vu.

You’ve just checked in to The Peninsula in Tokyo and you head up in the elevator to your room floor, and the first thing that greets you when the elevator doors open are several windows that look out into….nothingness. You’ve just discovered one of the many artworks tucked around the Peninsula, but this is a major guest favorite. It’s called “The Void” and it’s literally the center of the hotel, the space they couldn’t develop but could turn into an area for suspended sculpture.


Art In Livingstone

Probably wouldn’t normally promote Sun International but we did like this idea. The piece is written by Joanne Selby on their blog:

“Over the Easter weekend Sun International Resort hosted an art exhibition. All the paintings were done by local artists in the Livingstone region. Eight artists submitted their work which was displayed in the conference foyer at The Zambezi Sun.

I took a walk around the exhibition with Sue Brink, the organizer. Sue was so enthusiastic about all the works, telling me about the artists and why she had chosen particular paintings. One of her favorite artists is Vincent Maonde who had painted the Nalikwanda, the boat used by the chief of the Lozi people in Western Province of Zambia. She then enthused about Vincent’s son, Alwedi Maonde, who did abstract works. Finally she showed me a whole series of paintings which depicted local life of Zambian people. These were submitted by Lawrence Yombwe.

Sue commented on the use of color, symbolism and the perspective of the paintings. I am not that good at discussing paintings. I am like most people – I know what I like but can’t say why. I knew, though, that I wanted many of them and could imagine them in my home.

This exhibition was just a trial run for a much larger one which we are to host in June and July this year. Our hotels, of course, will be very busy during the soccer, so Sue is organizing a much larger show throughout that period. She has a list of fifteen artists from throughout Zambia who are going to display their work. And, it will not only be paintings, but photographs as well.

Sue showed me her list of exhibitors for the next show, telling me who they were; where they lived; their history and about their work. She knew them all. Her enthusiasm was infectious. I am sure that the next exhibition will be sensational and I am really looking forward to it.

Many of our guests who will be visiting us during June and July will be football fanatics. I do hope they are art-lovers too.”


Hotel Erwin, Venice Beach

I loved this from Hotel Interactive

“When the time came, in May 2009, for the Hotel Erwin to announce its arrival on the trendy, eclectic shores of California’s Venice Beach, the handwriting was on the wall – in this case, the exterior wall, just outside the entrance. In fact, the handwriting was in glowing, screaming neon colors, splashed there by NORM, a local graffiti artist whose signature work gave the new 119-room hotel immediate street credibility.

The graffiti artist’s interpretation of the hotel’s logo said “welcome to the Erwin,” Venice Beach-style. And that’s just what it was meant to do.

“When we were designing the hotel it was very important that the hotel be a reflection and good partner with the local community,” said Benjamin Malmquist, general manager. “And Venice is renowned, has a worldwide reputation, for some really unique and creative graffiti art. That’s part of the culture at Venice Beach.”


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