By Zakale Botomani
Celebrated Malawi singer Wambali Mkandawire was laid to rest on sunday afternoon after succumbing to Covid19 a few hours earlier. Wambali, popularly known as Mtebeti, has been described as a music icon after producing music of high quality and of international level consistently for decades
Speaking at the burial that took place at Area18 cemetery in Lilongwe, Minster of Tourism Michale Usi said it was a dark day for Malawi as a country to lose such a talented singer. Wambali was also a minister of gospel
Mkandawire died on Sunday morning at Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe where he was admitted to last week on COVID19 related illness.Mkandawire one of Malawi’s greats, started performing way back in the 1979 with a group known as Sounds Pentagon and later started performing solo. He has several albums to his credit, including Ku Mtengo Wa Moyo, Tidzamtamanda, Moto, Zani Muone, Up and Down the Shire, Liberty and Calabrash Breath
His music was more of a fusion of traditional Malawian beats with jazz. Besides praising and worshipping, Wambali’s music subtly tackled social injustices. In the early 1990s, his music, including Mwavunda Mwamlowe became the signature protest song by pro-multiparty activists.Wambali gained national and international recognition with his song entitled Zani Muwone.
At the international stage, among others he performed at the Sea Jazz Festival in Cape Town, South Africa. He was the first African Artist to win the prestigious World International Property Organisation (WIPO) award for creativity. In his latter days he dedicated his time teaching music to young artists. He handed over his mantle to up and coming artist at a Blantyre Baptist Church 50th anniversary held some three years ago.Wambali was born, Glyn Mkandawire, in the former Zaire in 1952 to Malawian parents. He hailed from Mlowe, Rumphi.