The Wailing Brothers
The Wailing Brothers are a well-established reggae band from Malawi founded in 1994 by Elias Chokani (rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist) and originally comprised his brothers Paul (vocalist and drummer) and Takudziwani “Taku” (vocalist and lead guitarist), their cousin late Evison Matafale (vocalist), Michael Jana (keyboardist and backing vocalist), Gift Thugo (keyboardist and backing vocalist), Kingsley Chikaphupha (backing vocalist), Romeo Kanjunjunju (bass guitarist) and Yohane Kanjunjunju (rhythm guitarist). Felix Kamwendo later joined the band to replace bassist Romeo when he and his brother Yohane left the band to pursue their education. In their first year, the band released a 6-track debut album “Jingle", which unfortunately did not get the deserved radio airplay due to lack of funds for promotion. However this did not thwart the young musicians mission, and their active participation in concerts, music competitions and other events made their songs and talents well known to the people soon after. In 1999, the band recorded and released their second album titled “Kuyimba 1” featuring Matafale on lead vocals. The highly successful album contained the hit song 'Watsetseleka' that catapulted the band to the top of the local charts and propelled late Matafale into the limelight. In 2000, Matafale co-opted his cousins Paul and Taku, Gift Thugo and Felix Kamwendo to set up another reggae band which they named Black Missionaries. Through this band they continued to record and release their famous and award-winning Kuyimba Series (from Kuyimba 2 to the 2015 Kuyimba 10 release). That year, Ephraim “Chambota” Chirwa replaced Felix Kamwendo as Wailing Brothers’ bassist and they released their third musical offering “Mudzamva Liti”. Thus began the juggling act that saw Paul and Taku serving as key members of both Wailing Brothers and Black Missionaries band. The Wailing Brothers released their fourth album “Baba” in 2004 featuring Paul and Taku on lead vocals in addition to their playing drums and lead guitar respectively. The 10-track album contained famed tracks such as "Mlesi", "Wapha Ndani", “Baba”, “No Turning Back” and the remarkable roots composition “Change”. The last 12 years have seen the Wailing Brothers (specifically, Paul and Taku) contributing tremendously to the recordings and performances of famous reggae musicians such as the South Africa based Ugandan artist Rob Prophet and various Malawian artists including Gift Fumulani, Black Missionaries, Anthony Makondetsa, Moda Fumulani, Toza Matafale and Haxi Momba, among others. The Legacy... It has been 22 years since late Elias Chokani founded the Wailing Brothers with 16 year-old Paul and 14 year-old Taku. Now forces to be reckoned with on the musical forefront, the highly skilled and multi-talented Paul and Taku have determined to advance their legacy. Their 6-man Band now comprises Paul on drums and vocals, Taku on lead guitar and vocals, Chikumbutso “Chiku” Simbi on lead vocals, Ephraim “Chambota” Chirwa on bass guitar, and keyboardists Innocent “Drag” Kalonga and Harold Kainja. The Band’s fifth album “Unfinished Project” released in February 2016, tackles pertinent social issues such as human rights, political injustice and self determination. The debut music video of their catchy 'Everything’s Gonna Be Alright' was released in November 2015 ahead of the album launch and is enjoying massive airplay on all major national television stations. This video is available on the Wailing Brothers YouTube Channel, along with four promotional tracks from the soon-to-be launched album 'Unfinished Project'. Alongside this, the Wailing Brothers are currently collaborating on a special project under the Malawi-Scotland Partnership through which they are set to release a collection of songs tackling climate change and climate justice.