Last Saturday, the ZMAs were held. I got to watch them on location but they were also televised live. This year they were even being streamed online so everyone was included. The awards had great moments and some moments that made me ask the ground if it was possible to open up and swallow an entire human being. Here are some things that stood out for me, both good and bad.
The stage was amazing. You could see that so much work had been put into the design and setup. Almost a dozen TVs were put up on that stage. I thought of carrying one home after the event but the thought slipped my mind (I should have set a reminder on my phone).
Abel Chungu Musuka SANG the national anthem like it was some call from God or something. He took me to church and back. I found myself raising my hands and stuff. That has got to be the best version I’ve ever heard. The attire he had on kinda resonated with the song and reminded me so much of Kenneth Kaunda. Why did people pick out the safari suits and dump the wrap? It is way cooler if you ask me. I later asked him what he had under the wrap and he disclosed he was wearing jeans. If I wore it, I wouldn’t wear a single thing under that. I would let the Lord’s precious breeze pass through strong and free (pun intended).
Exile (Israel) and Nalu
So Exile is undoubtedly one of the best musicians and song writers in Zambia. And Nalu has an awesome voice. So when Exile started singing his medley of old songs, the crowd was filled with nostalgia. I like Exile’s songs and to hear some of them in a mash-up like that just made me go gooey inside. And then Nalu stepped onto the stage with her VOICE! We haven’t seen her in a long time. Family responsibilities took her away from the big stage but she came back to show everyone that her talent is still there y’all. She did her old hit “House,Money,Car” and made me remember the video of her in the pink thingy with slits. And the romance!!! The love between them was so visible you guys. Zambian people are not used to seeing PDA in a couple that has been married for a long time but they showed you! They were looking into each other’s eyes and holding hands. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for a kiss. It never came but what we got was enough.
The P-Jay Tribute
Tsean, Scarlet and Starn sang a medley of the P-Jay’s songs. It was beautiful. Tsean started off with my favorite P-Jay song “Piano”. Then Scarlet came in looking like a vision. I love her dress. She looked magnificent. Then Starn came and hyped it up. P-Jay might have died young but he definitely left his mark.
The P-Jay Speech
So the late P-Jay won the Best songwriter award. Exile (Israel) never stood a chance in that category. You don’t contest against a deceased person and think as if you’ll win. Zambians are superstitious like that. The dead can do no wrong to us. So P-Jay won the award and then his brother came to accept the award. Let’s pause for a while. The unspoken rule is that if you’re accepting an award on behalf of a deceased person, you identify yourself and your relation to the person and say some touching statement about the person. We all know that, right? This boy did not know anything about it. He goes on stage and starts talking about being the future that P-Jay always sang about. He did not bother to let us know how he was related to P-Jay. He rumbled on and on about the albums that were out and advertised himself with neither finesse nor shame! I sat there hoping that the saliva in his mouth would magically turn into glue so he could shut up but nothing happened. I almost stood up to shout “Boy, sit down!”. Then when his sister and B-flow had spoken, he came back to the mic to wish his mother a happy birthday. You should have said that the first time! This is what happens when an attention seeker is suddenly put on a big stage.
The Zamrock Legends
I love rock! It defined my teenage years. So when I saw those elderly men rocking away like their life depended on it, I LIVED! I rose up from my slumber and looked alive. OH. MY. WORD!!! Those men had more passion than I’ve ever seen. The lead singer was on fire y’all. The way he ran across the stage dancing like he’s convulsing. The way he moved from mic to mic and then just got both mics and screamed into them! Victor Kasoma, the lead guitarist, did not let the wheelchair take his joy! He played that guitar with such a look on his face that I kept on looking at him. Maureen Lilanda, you guys!! I love her!! She has so much energy on stage. She’s not just doing her job, she’s creating art every time she’s on stage.
Abel Chungu Musuka’s Speech
Abel Chungu Musuka was a big winner this year. He went home with 3 awards. The second time he went to receive an award he started SPEAKING! He talked about how people listen musicians and music shapes people’s lives so it is the responsibility of musicians to produce good and whole music. Then he went on to talk to the people
“Music opens doors that even politicians can’t open. So I say to all those people out there who disrespect artists, you are disrespecting very influential people in this nation. So many times we are underpaid, undervalued, looked down upon but it is our music that taught you your Abcs, how to count from 1 to 10. It is our music that heals your marriages.It is our music that helps you go to sleep at night thinking about a better tomorrow.”
I was nodding my head so hard that it almost fell off. As someone married to a musician, I see that disrespect all too often. And to hear someone scold people on national Television, the level of agreement I had was too high. I nodded myself into next year.
Chef 187’s closing performance
So after winning the highest number awards and going on stage so many times, Chef 187 came on one last time-to close the show. 99 Jobs is my favourite song by him so I was excited. The band played it so well. The dancers were really hyped up. But my favorite part was towards the end when the beat changed to Dubstep. I was like Whaaaaat?! No they diin’t! There was beat-boxing and crazy stuff going on. I loved it. It was a great way to finish the show.
All in all, the show was well arranged. There were some performers that went off key and others that just didn’t have the oomph but generally it was good. See? Good shows can be held in Zambia, all you need is just a big time sponsor and organizers willing and dedicated to work really hard.