#OPINION: Opening acts for international artists

By Harold Kapindu

Whether it is ignorance or greed but the criterion which is used to select opening acts or curtain raisers for international artists is quite questionable. Am saying it might be ignorance because it seems some folks can’t differentiate genres and am saying it might be greed because some event managers are also artists and they would capitalize on every opportunity that arises.

In this regard, I have a few points I want to make. Firstly, I believe every music artiste does a genre according to their taste and target audience. Regardless of how popular or well connected someone is, they do not deserve to open for an international act that does a genre that is completely different altogether. Although, it is Ok to give the audience a variety, it is also important to respect the audience’s musical taste otherwise you end up losing fans from both sides because they don’t want to associate with each other.

For example, in spite of all the exposure and global recognition, Wambali Mkandawire cannot open for Cassper Nyovest. Wambali’s audience is matured while Cassper has a youthful following which is not quite mature. A youthful audience does silly things at shows which a matured person cannot be happy to be associated with.

Secondly, both event managers and audience should know the difference between a festival and a concert. Usually, concerts attract artistes doing closely related genres while festivals attract artistes doing different genres. Recently, there was a debate on how Jamaican reggae dancehall artiste Busy Signal managed to share the stage with gospel songstress Ethel Kamwendo Banda at last year’s Sand Music Festival. The argument was that some quarters find Busy Signal’s lyrics to be vulgar. I found this debate to be irrelevant.

If you were going there you should have known better that it was a festival, at festivals one should expect the unexpected. It wasn’t a Gospel extravaganza.

Finally, I hear Jamaica’s Grammy winning reggae outfit Morgan Heritage is in town, I hope to see local opening acts selected on merit and I hope this time it won’t be another reggae disco with a DJ playing CDs. And I hope those organizing the Mi Casa show have also taken some notes.






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