(I usually prefer my interviews to be face to face but distance could not allow me the pleasure so this interview in it’s gore and glory is all thanks to the power of the interweb. But you are here to know about Tasila so I will stop wasting your time… Ready… Set.. GO)
There are a number of fortunate people walking the streets who have heard of you and your music but don’t quite know you. So who is Tasila Mwale?
I never know how to describe myself, there are so many facets. I am a sister and an aunty, I am an administrator, a banker, a singer song writer… The best way to know this is to spend time around me. I am not one of the people who is open from the get go. (I didn’t want her disclosing her physical address because that would be creepy and we are not creepy are we? Well not too creepy. Anyway..)
Your two major awards for your music are about 13 years apart. Is it safe to call this your comeback to big scene?
It’s strange because I never went away. I was writing for a number of people as well as doing backing vocals. I was just not in the limelight but I never stepped out. I wrote a song or two for Plus, for Viola and TR for the Celtel star search.
From my thorough googling of you I found out that there was a brief spell at HotFM, just a month or so. Why was it so brief?
It was a couple weeks where there was a plan in place but things did not pan out as planned. (I think HotFM missed out but what do I know, I’m just a guy who listens to the radio)
The name Odalitsidwa is never far away when Tasila Mwale is mentioned. What is it? What does it mean and where did it come from?
The word means ‘Blessed’, in Nsenga. I don’t even remember how I came up with it but I wanted to have a positive spin on things and I wanted to be associated with positivity and be a blessing and it has been around for about three or so years. As for the entertainment group, it is a partnership between a friend and I. Aside from being event planners it is the management group for me as an artist but we don’t do recording deals. For the recording of the music for my album I worked with Goemi
Considering your Zambian Music Award is for the best traditional album, do you think Zambian musicians are embracing and developing traditional music?
Not as much as we should but over the past year the indigenous Zambian and African and sound has come up more. But it is up to us to make it cool and fresh. I think we are slowly getting there. James Sakala, Mumba Yachi, Chef 187 and Macky 2 are making good progress in this and reaching the younger demographics.
You hear all kinds of stories from around the world about how music has reached people with its deep meanings and thought provoking lyrics and styles. Do you see such in Zambia?
I think Joe Chibangu changed the game when he came on. Because there was no one making those kind of waves. Mondo music also has to be mentioned for the RnB vibes joint with the traditional stuff. The controversial Dunka, which whether we like it or not has brought about a big change in the way we view music. Chali Mulalami is another name that just has to be included. We don’t really see it as such in the moment but that is human nature for example Michael Jackson and Bob Marley were really good at the time they released their albums but gained more notoriety after they had done their major works.
How hard, if it all it is hard, has the load shedding affected you in the past couple months?
Like personally? I have to strategize ironing my clothes with the power cuts. A couple days ago we went to the studio and there was a power cut. You have to plan things a little bit more. It shouldn’t be this way and I don’t think there is a lot of positives about it (She was very civil about this. Most people I have talked to about this enter superlatives about ZESCO within the first five seconds)
Fifty one years as an independent country so far. On a scale of one to ten, with ten being the best, how optimistic are you about Zambia right now? Don’t be shy, the least we will do is judge you mercilessly
I’m pretty optimistic especially in the music industry with people breaking borders. Of course there is so much more to be done but I think people are working to better Zambia. On a scale of one to ten I would give it a six, just above average
What do you think must change, with the people, to move your rating up three points in the next twenty years?
The people need to own their own development, advancement and country. No one will care more about you than you do and so we should care more about our situation and get more patriotic. We should have more conviction to own Zambia as our own. I believe that will be the game changer to get us to where we can be in terms of global standing
If you were to leave your home town and Lusaka was not an option, which town would you move to and why?
Within Zambia. I think Solwezi, I like Solwezi. It’s a lot like my home town. Small and quiet but because of the mines it is getting bigger and bigger and I like the feel of it. That is a town I would like to raise children in. (Solwezi guys… That’s your cue)
On your way to that town, with all your luggage and stuff at the back of a nice, mint Toyota Hilux with a trailer hooked to the back. Aside from you there is space for four more people to keep you company… Who would you have in the car with you?
There’s a catch.. One has to be a Zambian historical figure, the second has to be a Zambian musician, the third a former Zambian president and the last one teacher or lecturer from your time in school. Who and why?
For the Zambian Historical Figure I will have to go with Mama Lenshina – I like people, especially women who challenge the status quo. I would have Abel Chungu, with his guitar, for the musician. We could sing a little bit on the way and he’s a very funny guy. I would have Kenneth Kaunda so that he could tell us about the fight for independence in detail and Miss Kufekisa from my time at Nkana Trust School, I have never met her since I left primary school and would like to see what she looks like now. (I’m kind of disappointed she didn’t mention me sitting at the back of the Hilux with the luggage, listening in from that little window but hey.. you can’t win them all)