Zambia: Music Association Complains Against Freshlyground

THE Zambia Association of Musicians (ZAM) has officially complained to the National Arts Council (NAC) over South African music outfit, Freshlyground, for performing in the country "illegally".

ZAM president Maiko Zulu confirmed in an interview that he lodged a complaint with NAC through its director Victor Makashi last week.

"We expressed our concern to the NAC director, Mr Makashi. Therefore, NAC is very much aware over the matter," he said.

Maiko insisted that Freshlyground performed illegally at the launch of the Diamond Casino last Friday as it had not been cleared by NAC.

"It's like football. Imagine Manchester United playing in Livingstone without the match being sanctioned by FAZ or the Sports Council of Zambia (SCZ)," he said.

The President's Daughter star explained that ZAM was trying to bring sanity into the arts industry as a whole.

He said the Council was brought about through an Act of Parliament, therefore, his organisation would voice out whenever it observed lapses or when the relevance of NAC was compromised.

NAC chairperson Mulenga Kapwepwe confirmed receiving the complaint and said the matter had been resolved.

"First of all, Diamonds of Lusaka is a new place and they didn't know the procedure and when we educated them, they apologised and complied," she said.

Ms Kapwepwe said Diamonds of Lusaka complied by paying a foreign artistes' fee she could not disclose, which she said would also be beneficial to the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA) owing to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) existing between NAC and ZRA.

Ms Kapwepwe said NAC could only punish erring promoters who blatantly choose to ignore the procedure, adding that currently, music promoters were "100 per cent compliant" and that records were there to show.

"We [NAC] cannot be thoughtless just because the law is on our side," she said.

She observed that hosting events involving foreign artistes was beneficial to Zambia in that they resulted in local artistes participating and earning some revenue as well as those organising the events.

In another development, Maiko has advised music promoters in the business of bringing foreign artistes to perform locally to be fair as they advertised their gigs.

Maiko said the "and many more" form of advertising where promoters just mention the name(s) of foreign artiste(s) then "dilute" local musicians in the "and many more" category was unfortunate and an injustice to them (locals).

He noted that mentioning the names of local artistes performing alongside foreign ones was the way to go as that would help "build the CV" for the locals.

Maiko observed that usually foreign promoters were the major culprits of such unjust advertising methods.

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