Word Lover. Shape Shifter. Chief Flourishing Officer: Introducing, Kamota Mayondi.

An easy read, well written, great verbatim, pleasant energy. All smiles

The Lusaka WordPress Meetup Group

Like the many before me, when I received the email stating who I would be interviewing I was excited, but also a little terrified. Like many of you, I follow this wordsmith, and beautiful lady on almost every possible social media platform she is on.

While doing my “research” however, I fear I may have caused Kamota to raise her brows in curiosity as I liked and re-tweeted her posts. But, seeing all her posts as I scrolled down her instagram timeline made me want to  do and be better, you know, in a “life-goals”, I wish I was this “cool Tumblr kid” kind of way. It made me curious, and quite truthfully, honoured to be able to ask all the questions that were now swimming around in my head.

But, first things first…

I’m a sucker for descriptions and a sucker for the comparative between our ideal self and…

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A K 3000 Story To Tell: KB’s Diary Session

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KB edit.jpg

 

 

 

 

Verbatim Recorder. Sir Kempson Ari Mabuluki We Yulu Jaffe Joffer

@ZambiazHarshTag   @KempsonAri

Visual verbatim: @Fidels82

 

On the radio, in the club or even on your phones, you’ve heard that famous “K-Amy” or “Killa Beats Production” chime.  Kaduka Chain by Dambisa @DambisaZambia featuring Zam dance hall legend Petersen Zagaze @PetersenZagaze, is on my list of all time favourite neo-Zambian tracks of all time. Perhaps you know him as a produce with a rap sheet that includes the late P Jay, Judy and such or an artiste or a soccer analyst or the radio host/Dj, yes he is all of the above but what lies beneath the surface? He is a Liverpool Fan (you will never walk alone), he listens to country music but is also an avid Nas @Nas fan, a devout family man, a sober character and no his real name is not Killa Beats (KB) @killa_kamy, all elements that also add to the makings of the man. Oh he was also a judge on a musical talent show, we see you on the billboards boss *laughs*. Yeah I know his real name and his still the humble individual I knew a decade and some odd years ago, with the same values which have seen him through to longevity, this is KB’s Diary Session.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Why now and when did you start working on the project?

 

KB: “LBC pushed me to do the album. We were talking one day and he said to me that I had done it all so why don’t I put out an album. I had been meaning to put out an album for a while, but it was LBC who encouraged and pressed me to do it.” Such are the memories we behold of great men and are but testament to the many contributions made to the fraternity of Zambian music. Work on the album begun in March.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Why My Diary as title for the album?

 

KB: I initially thought of calling the album I Will Not Lose, then the idea for My Diary hit me and I run with it.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Was there a method to the creative process/madness?

 

KB: I did what I wanted, I don’t follow trends! I felt a certain way throughout the process and trusted that.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: How do you feel about Zambian radio both as an artist and as a presenter and produce?

 

KB: Zambian Radio has progressed a lot. It is safe to say we at par with international radio in terms of music and global trends.  Businesses are not doing enough however as far as supporting artists who in turn generate the content which is music. The big corporate entities are holding out on the support to get artists where they need to be.  

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson:  What was the biggest challenge you faced during the creation of this project?

 

KB: Getting all the artists together on tracks. The time factor was crazy too especially with everyone having various schedules. You want to work on an idea spur of the moment when the mood is right then you find the artist you want is not available. Thus I got 85% of the artists I wanted on the album.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson:  Is the LP a single genre?

 

KB: No it is not. I wanted it to be as diverse as possible, so there is at least one or two tracks to suit each taste.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: What are your 3 favourite tracks on My Diary?

 

KB: Victory because it is mud tempo and laid back. Ninani ft. Izrael and Turn Up.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Was the launch event a success?

 

KB: Yes it was indeed, the first copy of the album on auction was sold for K 3000. Let me also take this opportunity to thank all the people that came out and supported KB and My Diary.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Where can the people access this record and at how much?

 

KB: The album is out in all Sounds outlets, it’s on iTunes and Amazon.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: What are the post production challenges?

 

KB: Finding ways of promoting the music is the biggest challenge. Handling all the production was also challenging but also rewarding, I gave it my all. Relevance and consistency is no joke neither, I’m still here after 10 years.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: What three pieces of advice can you give the youth and the masses in general?

 

KB:

  1. Stay humble, you lose nothing from being humble. Being humble keeps you grounded and in sync.
  2. Be yourself! Don’t let anyone dictate your path, you will lose yourself.
  3. Always try to beat your previous achievements and move with times to stay relevant. Stay positive and keep listening to good music.

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Any last words for the readers of this verbatim?

 

KB: Stay calm and listen to My Diary!

 

Kalemba/Le Critique/Kempson: Closing remarks on social media and bloggers?

 

KB: Social media is helping the industry and creating awareness. It is also killing the industry because the music can be gotten free online. It cuts both ways however because when people get the music, they pay to come out to see shows.

Bloggers are doing a good job. However they must be impartial and write what they feel, it they feel it’s wack, they should say so without bias.

 

Check out the Album review by clicking the link below.

 

 

All That Jazz, The Zambian Scene and The Jazz Appreciation Society (JAS): Appreciating & Promoting Jazz With Cat Chiliz

the Refrain By. The Lord Kempson Ari weYulu

@ZambiazHarshTag @KempsonAri

http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/

There is a myth that jazz is dated and it is music for the old folk , a notion that is far from the truth. Jazz as a genre in its essence may be one of the oldest forms of music, but as with all music it is timeless and appreciated by people from all walks of life of all ages. The Jazz Appreciation Society (JAS) is a group of Zambian jazz lovers and coinsurers that has come together to celebrate this prolific variety of sound that is jazz.

Cat Chiliz who is the events director of the group explained at length the mandate of this organization at TECLA lodge which is also known as the Jazz Shrine, where jazz  aficionados meet every Saturday and Sunday late afternoon into the evening without  fail *laughs* to appreciate and critic.  The three main aims of the society are to promote jazz on a local and international platform, to nurture and unite Zambian musicians and also to identify upcoming talent and tomorrows greats he elucidated. The Zambian music scene is indeed on the move and growing, but it is some artists unfounded ego’s that are halting the process. As such he emphasized that it is only when artists start working together and collaborating that industry can really begin to grow.

Every con also has a pro retorted Cat Chiliz. The Zambian market is very small he further expounded, hence local artists should aim for international markets which are bigger. The con is the current quality of our product, but the pro is there is room for improvement and growth. Hence it is up to the musicians to do their best to work on perfecting their craft from sound to packaging so that their wares are viable and marketable. JAS will also not relent in its mission until such a time there will be flourishing cultural exchange of Zambian musicians going to the world stage at events such as the Cape Town Jazz Festival and international artists collaborating with Zambian artists. In line with this noble endeavor, local talent are given the stage at the shrine to perform, after which members share a light moment with the acts to encourage and advise them all in good cheer and love for the craft and music.

The vision must begin somewhere, and JAS are on the ground assisting and assisting local acts with every mite within them. Wisdom always grows people, and will even surpass the person that shared and instilled it. However the recipient of wisdom shall never forget where it came from. These were the closing remarks to our chat. Indeed even after this crop of old timers is long gone, the musicians will always remember JAS and how they helped cultivate careers and where home is at the shrine. Play on Jazz Appreciation Society, Play On.

Catch the countdown to the Stanbic Jazz Festival at http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/2015/09/moving-in-rhythm-to-stanbic-jazz.html

Surviving The Times: Talking The Struggle and Surviving The Zambian Music Scene With James Sakala and Scarlet

the Up Close By. The Lord Kempson Ari weYulu

@ZambiazHarshTag @KempsonAri

We always hear about sold out shows, tours, records sold and charts topped, however many in the audience  remain oblivious to the blood sweat and tears that goes into the struggle in front of the mirror before the strobe lights come on and autographs are signed. Such are the unheard chronicles of which I spoke about with Scarlet and James Sakala to gain a greater appreciation of how far they have come to performing at Jazz Fest and what advice they have for the hungry youth and the upcoming.

Scarlet, what has been the biggest challenge in your career as an artist?

Scarlet: Being Different is a massive challenge, especially in a scene that is still rigid and a society that is stubborn to change. I’m a salmon swimming upstream so going against the grain has been difficult musically and insisting on setting a standard.

The 3ree biggest lessons learnt thus far?

  1. You cannot be a one man show. You need people to help you get your message out and succeed in your craft as a musician. You need the band to play so you can focus on singing.
  2. Be consistent: if you are yellow be yellow. Versatility is good, but being consistent is it and will keep you going, if it is reggae let it be reggae. You will lose your following if you keep flipping on them and your fans will write you off.
  3. Do what you love and the money will follow. Keep your nose on the grinding stone and keep polishing your craft. If you get caught up in chasing the money before you get your movement right, you won’t last very long in the game.

Your last piece of advice for the youth out there?

Stay in school and get a good education. You need the basics and fundamentals to make the grade and give your ideas structure and cohesion. You heard this from a person with a major in English and a minor in literature.

All the best with Jazz Fest Scarlet, see you on stage.

Over to you James, what has been the biggest challenge in your musical career thus far?

James: Catching a break is hard in and on the Zambian music scene, especially when already established musicians on the scene are throwing hurdles and some Dj’s want you to pay them to play your music. Along with getting noticed, resources to grow are hard because no one wants to invest in an upcoming until they blow. I’m self made from the ground up and have learnt to develop a thick skin which has helped me prevail even through tough times.

What are the 3ree biggest lessons you have learnt?

  1. Humbleness s key. Play your part and the rest will unfold.
  2. Love is cardinal: Love for the craft and what you do as well as love for people.
  3. Work hard and push harder for what you want.        

Keep shining and keep grinding indeed!

It is easy to spit and throw stones, as well as applaud all in the same breath, without knowing what the struggle is like in the limelight and off stage as a human being. Their music is entertaining, but remember we are all people all in different hells fighting different devils. As love covers a multitude of sins, it is the love for music and their craft that keeps Scarlet and James going. Keep supporting Zambian music and attending their shows, and constructively contribute to its growth.

Find Out what to except from Scarlet and James Sakala at Jazz Fest, the exclusive 2nd Time At Jazz Fest: In Rhythm With Scarlet and James Carrying On Tradition at http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-exclusive-by.html

An Intellectual Discourse: The Radiance Of Namwali

the Commentary  By. The Lord Kempson Ari weYulu

@ZambiazHarshTag ● @KempsonAri

http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/

Who will tell the Zambian story if not us as a people?  Who will ensure the continuity of our national written tradition? The gifted collective of writers, poets and artists have the task and patriotic charge of articulating the makings of our society with our indigenous voice and a language only we know. Zambian chronicles that must first be sung at local mountain peaks and then echoed in the valleys of the world. Only through teaching do we grow and excel through our craft, and as we share knowledge we also grow increase our wisdom. We must at all times do our best to excel in whatever undertaking we choose and jealously guard our heritage. Namwali Serpell has brought great pride an honour to the literary august house of the Zambian print and folklore and continues to excel in her craft and do her part, the onus is now on us all to ensure add to the legacy of the Mpashi’s and Kapwepwe’s as writers in telling the Zambian story to future generations of Zambian readers and the world.

Although we have a small population in comparison to other African nations such as Nigeria (which is 4 times over the population of Zambia), we have a wealth of material from which to draw inspiration around us. No writer or national literary industry exists without challenges. Monetary resources and facilities may be the resources hindering the writing industry in Zambia observed Namwali. In the same breath she also expressed that we have a strong story telling culture and people also gossip a lot (mulomo), from which she draws inspiration and encouraged writers to draw elements of stimulation from. Indeed the journey of the writer is not an easy one to travel, a local Caine Prize winner however may prove that extra inspiration however that the industry needs to persevere and excel.

In three sentences the biggest lessons she has learnt thus far on her journey as a writer and she shared are:

  1. Show your work to others, don’t be precious with it.
  2. Let people with a sharp pencil go through your work.
  3. The more you read, the more you cultivate your literary campus.

The chagrins of being a writer are felt by all writers in the public eye, and although at different levels, no one is immune as subtle or as pronounced as they may be. Being an associate professor at Berkley or winning £ 10,000 (even if you shared it with your peers) does not make you immune to the condescending issues of gender and race amongst other issues. Although the Heinemann African Writers Series was monumental for African writing, most work of African writers is published outside the continent. Namwali stressed the catch 22 of international recognition being a requirement for (Zambian) locals and the world over to take notice of your work and receive the exposure it needs.  With a full time job however and her bequest, she takes it all (like the highs and lows in her stories) in her stride. Every writer is weary of criticism and various opinions are driven by different motives she implored. Her response and advice to young writers towards misguided criticism was that they should discern the motives and source of people’s criticism and then they can simply tell them, their material wasn’t for them. When teaching, she strongly encourages her students to use the class as a captive audience and yard stick and reminder of the necessary focus needed to harness the craft.

The question of technique and approach as well as time itself and writing time frame and parameters is always posed to most prominent writers, and the question of Namwali’s method also came up during the discourse. Parts of her are scattered in her characters, but she respects her characters and as such does not write in the first person she retorted. The protagonist Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë is the literary character she most identifies with as far as fiction and a writer. Inspiration is drawn from various places and we generally write stories about what we know or are familiar with, the genres however may vary. Every writer experiments and Namwali is no different, and it is evident that she does not have a specific genre but encourages variety and creativity. Above all she stated that we write in different ways and that the true essence lies in knowing one’s self as a writer. It is not the writing that takes long but the process of editing and gave an example of the passage she read as having been written in hours but took two weeks to edit. Greater writers have often said, cut out unnecessary words until there is nothing left to be cut out. Although she has a full time job and two daughters, she still finds three hours a week to write. The celebration of her work is no coincidence, but testament to her devotion value she attaches to the precious resource of time and also the respect she accords her gift. To be great writer, one needs to be an even more avid reader.  True to the standard, Namwali is currently reading The Days of Abandonment by Italian author Elena Ferrante whose work she’s currently enjoying.

There is often an unwritten or unspoken pressure, that a recognized public figure must carry the country on their shoulders. To this sentiment, she retorted that she is not a politician but a writer and scholar and as such is under no pressure in her endeavors to succumb to the spotlight.  She was very explicit in expressing her love for the motherland and continues to express this through her research and work, in which she shares the uniqueness of Zambia. She is currently exploring the untold story of the Zambian Space program of Edward Mukuka Nkoloso, which without a doubt she will deliver with her meticulous skill. High up on her agenda to further contribute to the growth of the Zambian written industry and the aesthetics ,  Namwali is also on a mission to bring the next Cain Prize workshop and award to Zambia. To put the matter to rest of her residing in both Zambia and America, her response was, “every aspect of ourselves is an addition not a cancellation.” Indeed it is not where we are physically but where we are in our hearts and minds that our true identity lies clearly through her writing, she is grounded and has not forgotten her roots, and being duo adds to her experience.

She has earned her strips and paid her dues and deserves the success she is enjoying. I too would be unapologetic and seize the platform and opportunities brought about by the prize. Since winning, she has received a publishing deal for a book due out in 2018. In the meantime and very near future however expect the excerpt she read at the audience to be in print in 2016 as part of Tracy Chevalier’s Reader, I Married Him, a tribute and collection of original stories from today’s phenomenal crop of women writers, celebrating a famous line from  Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre.

As the old man in her story said, “even if there is one peanut, it could be halved and shared”, such is the depth of the gift and art of storytelling Namwali posses.  The defining trait of an exceptional teacher and orator is their ability to provoke thought, engage meaningful dialogue and evoke a collective pride in the celebration of knowledge though a story. Sincerity of one’s circumstances and their thoughts accord others an opportunity to draw inspiration from them. Thank you Namwali for being a beacon, your inspiration has set many ships on their course and you have the allegiance of the Zambian writer’s community in the endeavor of lobbying for the Caine Prize to Zambia.  Sharing in itself is a blessing, with gratitude as the reward and ointment that soothes the soul. May you soar higher and grow in your undertakings, continuous generosity, and love of the craft. Muzungu may not have won in 2010, in 2015 however the prize was delivered in The Sack. Applause!

Catch the exclusive The Protagonist and Her Prize, a celebration of Namwali at http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-protagonist-and-her-prize-namwalis.html

The Verbatim With Fay

The Verbatim By. Sir Kempson Ari weYulu

@ZambiazHarshTag @KempsonAri

http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com

The question who is Fay has perhaps been posed many times, but away from the limelight and the runway what makes Fay tick? For example, not everyone knows she’s pursuing a degree in fashion with the Shanghai International Fashion Academy (IFA) or that she plays video games. Its’ amazing the gems and wit you can dig out of people if you just smile and ask.

Fay Answers The Complete 7

What has been the most challenging moment in your career?

Fay: The lack and cost of tools and machinery to do certain things or wok with certain fabrics has been a challenge. Tailors can also prove very stressful when they do not cooperate in fulfilling the vision. And when you succeeding or pursuing your dream, your friends can become your enemies, the fashion industry is not for the faint hearted.

How did you overcome adversity and turn tragedy into triumph?

Fay: Only you can stand up for your vision and yourself. Hence I stood behind my goal and vision of becoming a renowned brand and did what I had to do.

What advice can you give the hungry and talented youth?

Fay: I could have bought the X5 I now drive in the first two years of my business, but I had to discipline myself and invest in growing my brand. The moral of the story is building a brand takes time and you need patience to grow.

What has been the weirdest experience in your career?

Fay: My first time in showcasing in Paris, I had to adjust my three favourite pieces of the collection. I didn’t like how they looked after the adjustments with a needle and thread in my hotel room. Much to my surprise however, the crowd loved them. That was wired *She laughs*

What has been the lowest point in your career/memories?

Fay: When you put in your all and do your best and people diss your work/designs.

What have you learnt from all your success?

Fay: It is not always you are standing hence you need to stand up when you fall.

Before we wrapped up, I had a few more questions in form of his here Proust questionnaire….

What is your Idea of perfect happiness?

Fay: Loving yourself: no one can love you like yourself.

What is your current state of mind?

Fay: So much to do, but the projects are opportunities that must be ceased.

What is your greatest fear?

Fay:  Dying before accomplishing my mission on earth.

What fashion icon do you most identify with?

Fay: Louis Vuitton. I’ve been to his Paris studio which was amazing, and I’m inspired by the brand.

What is the trait you most criticize in yourself?

Fay: Being too nice.

What character trait do you most disapprove of in others?

Fay: Bad attitudes.

What do you dislike most about your appearance?

Fay: I love everything about myself.

What phrase do you most overuse?

Fay: Seriously or really

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

Fay: My three sons. *laughs* can I add my husband as the fourth child also *giggles*

When and where are you happiest?

Fay: At home playing video games with the kids.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Fay: I would like to be a pilot.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Fay: My character, being too nice.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Fay: The Fay Designs brand.

What is your most treasured possession?

Fay: My Louis V bag from the Louis V store in Paris.

Where would you like to live?

Fay: Dubai.

What is your favourite activity?

Fay: Cooking. I have a special “Fay Magic” Beef or Chicken marinade and recipe.

Who are your favourite music icons/entertainers?

Fay: Zambian musicians. I can’t mention my favorite because most of them are my clients *winks*

What is your most marked characteristic?

Fay: Happiness, I’m always happy.

What do you most value I your friends?

Fay: Good character.

Who is your favourite fictional character?

Fay: Bani from the promise.

What do you most dislike?

Fay: Sarcastic people.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what would it be?

Fay: I would like to come back as Fay.

How would you like to die?

Fay: Anyhow, as long as it’s my day.

What is you motto?

Fay: Live like there’s no tomorrow and enjoy everything without holding back for later.               

Fay also had some sound advice and some wisdom which also taught me a thing or two:

“The best measure of growth is patience.”

Catch the Exclusive about Fay and The Paris Fashion Reception at http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com

Echoes of The Libretto by Olufemi

The Main Lick By. Sir Kempson Ari weYulu

@ZambiazHarshTag @KempsonAri

http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/

The dictionary will only give you definitions, but you need to know your spellings. The great Garvey spoke, “Our success educationally, industrially and politically is based upon the protection of a nation founded by ourselves. And that can be nowhere else but Africa.” The genocide of Africa and Africans is physical, mental and spiritual, which happened as soon as they split the motherland and erected boarders and named countries. This genocide is implemented, perpetuated and executed by a few cowards of the upper crust who dine with the imperialist swine’s and benefit from the destruction and demise of their fellow man. Anikulapo through his salient lyrics was on hand to deliver the message of Africa’s and African’s liberation through licks and dialogue to the masses congregated under one drumbeat.

As the music fueled by the Positive Force mellowed in the backdrop, Femi begun to bellow from his belly how the issues plaguing Nigeria and Zambia (and indeed Africa at large) are not different or detached. The headlines in the media (the culprits that fuel disparities and choose not to include the positive occurrences in the motherland) are the similar. High unemployment, weak currency and other disparities are all over Africa. Aggravating these circumstances, the oppressors, imperialists and colonialists are not on our side, they are the people who benefit from our very destruction as Africa and Africans. He encourage the masses there gathered to galvanize and consider our problem as a nation as collective and respond accordingly with a united voice to our own issues. It is only form within Africa we can heal, repair and restore Africa. Those who eat with spoons must always remember those who eat with their hands and also bring extra spoons.

The issue of the cowards who instill fear in others through brutality was also part of the address when the music simmered down. Corruption, ritual killings and other crooked means are tools used to achieve tyranny. This totalitarianism however needs to be stopped, amongst ourselves and the youth are minds we can choose and who can choose to lead the future. With all due respect, we are tired of the lingering colonial agenda of old and as such Africa needs a new agenda. The deals that hold back Africa were made decades ago. The very people standing on podiums and talking about how Africa is corrupt and need reform are the politicians that keep us for reforming.  Caesar is always trying to take that which does not belong to him. The system and its design is corrupt and holds people ransom through bureaucracy and politics, means used to perpetuate terror in citizens. They can shut up a few voices, but they cannot kill us all and prevail.

Femi has dual citizenship and lamented why he received different treatment when he produced his British passport in an African nation when he was the same man on the image in his Nigerian passport. It is bewildering and wrong he stressed that in Europe you don’t need a visa or only need a Schengen visa to move from country to country. The ideal and practice of visa requirements to move around Africa must be abolished he implored because in essence Africa is one country, one nation and one people. “I am not Nigerian he roared”, “I am African, Nigeria is too small for me and is something the colonialists devised. I want the whole Africa”.  Africa is indeed my country and throughout the mother land we are one people the idea of papers and parchments is ludicrous especially when there double standards. “I know no national boundary where the Negro is concerned. The whole world is my province until Africa is free,” declared Garvey.

We are still a few generations away from the right mindset in certain regards, the conditioning and negative reinforcement was strong. The beginning will tell you a lot about the end, and as it was in the beginning, so shall it be in the end.  Indeed as I quote Garvey in conclusion, “We welcome the opposition of the world, because we are determined to see the battle through. Africa’s battle cry is not yet heard.” There is hope yet for Africa, thank you Olufemi for delivering affirmative thought to the masses, thank you Fela for opening the door for freedom after being arrested 200 times and being beat to a pulp. The struggle is not and shall never be in vain.

Related to this story is Femi Delivers Positive Vibes at http://jesuislecritique.blogspot.com/