Music Copyright Society of Kenya (MCSK) has announced the introduction of Inaugural Malaika Festivals Music Awards to celebrate Kenya’s great music icons whose works have contributed immensely to the growth of the local entertainment industry.
The MCSK boss Ezekiel Mutua said music remained one of the most potentially rewarding undertakings in the country but lack of appropriate support systems and absence of clear mechanisms on how to monetize music had confined great musicians into a permanent state of impoverishment.
Mutua was speaking in Voi town over the weekend during the celebration of Malaika Festivals in honour of the late Fadhili Williams.
He said that MCSK was committed to making music profitable. Part of that commitment, he said, would be to launch competitive music awards for local musicians to support their skills. The activity would act as a platform to scout for musical talent that would be nurtured into greatness.
The society would also introduce a Muziki Sacco that would bring all local musicians together to allow them to engage in investments.
“Music is a gold mine. Music makes billionaires in developed nations. We must make music profitable for artists and ensure they benefit from their talents and skills,” he said.
Malaika Festivals started in 2012. Malaika Festivals is a colourful annual event that brings together artists and musicians to celebrate the life of Fadhili Williams whose hit song Malaika launched him into global fame.
Despite his larger-than-life fame, the legendary musician, who hails from Rong’e Juu in Mwatate, remained a man of modest means with his music career being relatively unappreciated by many. Still, he remains an inspiration to many musicians with his son Freshley Mwamburi being touted as the next big thing after the late icon.
Malaika Festival has always been a low-key event owing to the funding and organizational challenges by organizers.
Veteran lawyer and art enthusiast Duncan Mwanyumba who has been the local face of the festival has been advocating for expansion of the event to give it a national outlook.
Speaking during the event, Mwanyumba admitted funding has been a major challenge for successful hosting of the music fete.
“We have passion but funding challenges have impaired our ability to deliver wholly. We require the support to make this event national,” he said.
Mutua pledged that MCSK would take over the Malaika Festival and transform it into a grand event to bring together leading musicians across the country.
To actualize this vision, MCSK disclosed plans to collaborate with the county government to market the festivals, the late musician and his works as an international brand.
“We will take over the festival and hold the first awards by MCSK to reward and boost local artists from next year,” he said.
Mutua also challenged musicians to make use of emerging technology to monetize their talents. He noted that musicians were earning from digitizing their songs and making them available on digital platforms like Skiza Tunes, YouTube and Spotify.
He added that with the surge in technological advancement, musicians needed to become creative and seek their audience in online platforms.
“The artists must be innovative in their role to monetize their music. Digital revolution has offered them abilities to increase their reach for potential audiences,” he said.
This was the first official assignment for Ezekiel Mutua since his appointment as MCSK boss. Other officials who attended the event included Wallace Mwaluma, County Director of Youth Affairs.
By Wagema Mwangi