Jeys Marabini versus Kalawa

Nkululeko Nkala
Please do not be quick to dismiss this title. I know from a distance it looks like a David and Goliath comparison but trust me, the two share a lot and could learn from each other.

Majahawodwa Ndlovu alias Jeys Marabini (PICTURED ABOVE) held his acoustic night at Bulawayo Theatre on 26 December for a $10 fee and the  Kalawa Jazmee Homecoming  happened on 27 December for a minimum ticket of $15. I know some may feel $10 for Jeys was steep, but I am sure as a measure of his popularity it was a good idea.

I am also certain he was not disappointed with the plus or minus 150 people that attended. Same with the all-star studded Kalawa event, many thought $15 was a little too much for Bulawayo, but plus or minus 10 000 people did not think so. When all is said and done Bulawayo has arts consumers.

Jeys and his band put up a scintillating performance, live music at its best. Kalawa brought the best Dj’s and chart toppers of South Africa. Talk of Cassper, AKA, Tira , Oskido , Durban Nyts, Mafikizolo and Dj Fresh all these guys have a hit or two that we can sing along to. I am not so sure about performance or the art in most of their performances, but I am certain they can make catchy music. Stage wise and timelessness Jeys will beat all of them but they know how to make music that sells (not saying Jeys should get into Hip hop or House).

Kalawa always manages to attract partners to their gig. Some of them are people or companies that locals will approach all year round but are quick to jump on the Kalawa ship. Word on the street is Kalawa barely paid for any services. But the surprise of all surprises was the involvement of ZBC. Yes that ZBC. Artists can claim to have been providers of content to the state broadcaster over the years, but we have never seen them in full support of any local works or arts. They were one of the main sponsors at the event.

But well-done for getting into the arts, hope the same hand will be dealt for local events and acts. Imagine if Jeys had gotten the adverts gotten by Kalawa. Could he have sold out or moved to a bigger venue?

Goes without saying that a lot of amazing things come with the Kalawa event. Even press will run with it. I will ignore the praise and worship as everyone else will be on that trip. I know for a fact Kalawa are good business men which is why all the posts with financial potential are handled by their own.

I think after five years of this event the organisers should by now know that the event will be oversubscribed. They should open more gates and make it easy to get to the venue. I saw a few people give up after being shoved off the line or being threatened by the police dogs. I think even the organisers did not expect that many people as at some point they stopped giving wrist bands (hope it was not a way of ripping off Oskido).

When I go to an event I want to be happy and spend my money easily. It was not easy getting a drink at Kalawa. One would queue for ages to get drink tokens and spend just about the same time to get the drink.

Technically Kalawa has never disappointed. I mean even the stage set up for this year was amazing. I loved the lighting too. But whoever was in charge of sound must be fired. The sound was terrible. I have not forgotten about Jeys. I still write with him in mind. His sound was almost perfect. I think Winya Sounds is growing. Soon it will be hard to ignore him as a sound engineer and his services.

Two of our top MC’s Babongile Skhonjwa and Ezra Tshisa Sibanda were at the driving seat along with our local acts Kwabatsha, Guluva 7,Defined House and Calvin to name a few. Stage wise I think when we get such opportunities we should make a fan of the numbers in attendance. Perform like it was your last day. Back to Babongile and Ezra I feel they should have sold our music more (nothing personal). I was impressed when Babongile got DJ Fresh to mix his Khonapho Khonapho song but I expected more.

He and Ezra kept hero worshipping South Africa. At one point Babongile says this is the kind of music we all love and he plays three songs by Soul Brothers. What about Sjaiva Sibancane by Iyasa or Kokotsha by Magwaza. Are we trying too hard to impress our South African masters? After all is said and done, 26 and 27 December had amazing arts. Happy New Year arts lovers.